I’m currently reading Roxanne Gay’s Bad Feminist. So far, I highly recommend it. Gay discusses a feminism that isn’t high and mighty; that’s flawed because it’s made up of people who are always somewhat flawed. Gay admits to being a “bad” feminist. I love this concept because sometimes the pressure of feminism is what keeps people from trying it on at all.
I realized I’d been a bad feminist when it comes to Mae’s books today. The books we keep downstairs are a small portion of her “library,” but they are the ones we consider her favorites. After reading The Hungry Caterpillar today, and wondering why the caterpillar is a male, I decided to categorize her books based on male protagonist, female protagonist, male and female protagonists, and gender neutral animal protagonist. Here are the stacks of books:
The tallest stack, unsurprisingly, is the male protagonists. The stack with two books is gender neutral, and the stack with one has both male and female characters. No fourth stack: no solo female protagonist. Baaaaaaad feminist.
I think I’m conscious of sexism and the ways women are treated unfairly, but then I’ll get smacked in the face time and time again with something I missed. For right now, I can just replace the he/him pronouns with she/her, but we’ve also got to make a conscious choice to buy books with strong female characters. Raising a daughter means I have to accept my imperfect feminism more often than I did in the past, because it’s shoved at me all the time, but I’d much rather be an imperfect feminist than not one at all.