Campus News

Author explains contradictions in feminism, pop culture

New York Times best-selling author Roxane Gay read from her book “Bad Feminist” as part of the Wisconsin Union Directorate Publications Committee Lit Fest Tuesday.

Image By: Madeline Heim

Teaching as a black woman at a predominantly white university has its struggles, according to New York Times best-selling author Roxane Gay.

Gay began her talk at Literary Fest Tuesday by touching on this topic, which is the subject of her essay “Typical First Year Professor” and appears in her book “Bad Feminist.”

“Bad Feminist” explores the contradictions Gay has found in being a woman and a feminist. In the work, she discusses how her love of rap music, reality television and the color pink make her a “bad feminist.” She described what she sees as a “good feminist” as someone who is independent enough to care and knows how to fix their cars.

“I am a bad feminist, but I would rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all,” Gay said.

Gay took questions from the enthusiastic crowd. She discussed the importance of pushing back against sexism in all spaces, but emphasized there is no universal standard for how to fight oppression.

“I don’t think that we should have a set of standards beyond just being good human beings and being thoughtful and caring,” Gay said.

The writer emphasized the importance of fighting sexism in everyday conversation, but encouraged volunteer work as a way to be more involved.

“Leaving your house and leaving the internet and going and putting your time and energy and your intellect into communities that need volunteer support,” Gay said. “I think that goes a long way and I think that’s one of the most feminist things anyone can do.”

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