Roxane Gay: Bad Feminist, Author, Amazing Human

Roxane Gay wrote the best nonfiction book I've read all year. OK, Roxane Gay probably wrote the best BOOK I've read all year. End of story. I don't care if someone unearths a lost Brontë novel (actually, I totally do. Please let me know and please tell me it's by Emily), Bad Feminist is the best thing to happen to my literary life in 2015. It is smart, insightful, and full of sentences that hit you straight in the heart. I was a lucky blessed soul, and Roxane answered some questions I asked her. It was great. And I was Very Professional the whole time and did not fangirl AT ALL. Until now. God, I love Roxane Gay. She's the best.

How many times have you seen Magic Mike XXL?

I have seen Magic Mike XXL once; I will achieve a more respectable number of viewings once the movie comes out on DVD. 

Your essays in Bad Feminist are a really cool hybrid of personal narrative and academic analysis — what made you decide to take that approach to the collection?

Writing should be accessible. I find it unnecessary to separate the personal and the political so as I got into writing personal essays, I quickly found that using personal narrative and also making broader cultural points while supporting my ideas with theory and research, was a good way to make solid and compelling arguments. I like to write intelligently (I hope) but also in ways that resonate emotionally with readers. I am always looking for that fine balance.  

What is the best Scrabble word you’ve ever played?

MIQUELET

You are super busy, and you work on lots of projects at once. What is your ideal day off?

 A day where I can just go to a movie theater and see movies all day, with my person.

What is your reaction to this tiny baby elephant being reunited with his mother?

 BLISS. 

There are a lot of people who think of feminism in very all-or-nothing terms: It is either perfect feminism or it isn’t feminism at all. Bad Feminist allows for a lot more complexity. How did you come to recognize the importance of referring to yourself as a "bad feminist"?

 When I first referred to myself as a "bad feminist" I was definitely being tongue-in-cheek, but the more I thought about my relationship to feminism and how imperfect I am, the term felt like an approach to feminism I could carry comfortably, honestly, openly. I am a feminist. I have a lot to learn. I am always trying to be better. 

You are working on a new essay collection called Hunger. Do you have any teasers for us?

Hunger is a memoir, of sorts, about what it's like to live in an unruly (obese) body. It's very much grounded in the realities of a body that doesn't fit in the world.

Image credit to Chris Strong, from Chicago Magazine.

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