WOMEN
08/29/2014 01:55 pm ET

Roxane Gay Explains What It Means To Be A 'Bad Feminist'

Roxane Gay is a bad feminist.

In her collection of essays titled Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay explores how she can be a feminist without living up to every rule and regulation any strand of movement has ever suggested. The author/writer spoke about her self-proclaimed status as a "bad feminist" in an interview with HuffPost Live on August 28.

As considerable progress is made to increase awareness of feminism, and more and more public figures identify themselves as feminists, is it time to start considering what makes a "good" feminist? Does membership into feminism require unwavering adherence to the "rules"?

It shouldn't, Gay says, but such scrutiny is not unusual as social movements evolve.

"I think we got to [this] point because we’ve had to fight for so much and we’ve had to fight for so long that we really want people who seem to have new ideas and good ideas to be everything so that the struggle with end and that’s just not the way the world works," she told host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani. "And so when we’re disappointed we lash out and it's a very unfortunate thing that happens in many social justice movements. But as I started to think about how I can claim feminism while also acknowledging my humanity and my imperfections, ‘bad feminism’ simply seemed like the best answer."

That one could be a "good" or "bad" feminist might be related to the distinctly female pressure to be a "good" woman.

"I think there are a lot of rules for women. We have a lot of expectations and a lot of rules for women. So we’re expected to march in a straight line and when we don’t, all hell breaks loose," Gay said. "And it’s really frustrating that we have this double-standard where we have to, as women, be everything to everyone and do what we’re told and do what’s expected. And it’s not healthy and it’s not sustainable. Nobody’s perfect."

From "you shouldn't blog about baked goods" to "feminists have worms in their brains," Gay has received her fair share of ill-advised debate topics on Twitter. But the author maintains that we can take advantage of social media to promote positive engagement with important issues.

Watch the clip above to hear Gay talk about the benefits and drawbacks of her massive social media following, as well as Twitter's capacity to facilitate productive dialogue.

Click here to watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with Roxane Gay.

HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
18 Books Every Young Woman Should Read
CONVERSATIONS