SCHNEID COMMENTS: Roxane Gay provides sense of community at 'Bad Feminist' talk
Hannah Schneider is a junior communications major and creative writing minor and writes 'Schneid Comments' for the Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Hannah at email@example.com.
Lately, it's been a pretty rough time to be a feminist. On one hand, we have the GOP party descending into lunacy, which makes Roxane Gay admit that she has begun to yearn for Mitt Romney. Despite being someone that is fundamentally oppositional to everything she stands for, even he has become enticing in contrast to our current contenders.
On the other hand, we have the most recent legislation within Indiana, HB1337, which seeks to entangle women’s right to choice even further. With invasive reproductive restrictions, sexist politicians and the usual everyday challenges of not having enough dogs in my life…things sometimes seem quite bleak.
And that’s okay.
Last night, Ball State’s campus was graced with the presence of a wonderful human, writer and feminist. Although she claims to be really quite bad (as the title of her novel, "Bad Feminist" suggests), I think she is far from it. Gay’s presence in Pruis Hall was much like the presence she creates within the pages of her book of essays. The hall had an air of honesty, humor and a genuine yearning for bettering the human experience. Plus an all-around agreement that although porn is great, they could make it more realistic.
Gay read a few of the most prominent essays in her book, which were received with snaps, claps, occasional cheers and “mmms” of agreement. The hall was filled with a crowd of people I wish I could all invite to my birthday party; primarily, because I think all feminists are invited to my birthday party.
It was a context in which I felt safe to ask a question, and I wasn’t nervous for others asking questions. It felt as though we were all acting in tandem toward the same thing. It felt personal, and it also it felt like a class discussion. Ruminating on being human, being fallible and being feminist with Gay felt like the opposite of attending a Trump rally; I felt the encompassing sense of being surrounded by “my people.”
Gay responded to questions thoroughly with such a supportive and acknowledging tone, it felt like we all literally spent an evening just hanging out with her. During the weeks after I read "Bad Feminist," I found myself watching things and listening to things and wondering, “Hmm… wow, I wish I could ask Roxane what she thinks of this…”. Those wishes, although frequent, were met with an assumption that I would not get that chance.
But last night, I did – and better yet, it was among tons of other feminists that I know and respect. Feminists that I work with and work for, feminists that I learn with in class, feminists that teach me and advise me. Even a feminist that I date.
It was a night that reminded me why I became a feminist in the first place, and why it is so worth it. Despite what is going on in politics right now, there really are some good things in life, and community is one of them. Last night was one of those nights that gave me something shiny to keep. Something shiny to brighten up those bad feminist days.