`` Bad Feminist `` By Dr. Roxane Gay

1237 Words5 Pages
Culture often thrives off of polar opposites—hot and cold, bitter and sweet, male and female. By setting up these opposing constructs, one can easily find a set definition for each. A hot surface could scorch someone or a cold temperature could cause them to shiver. In the same way, a bitter substance would be less enjoyable to eat than a sweet one. These terms are often defined by mentioning their antitheses. Because it’s comfortable to embrace specificity and certainty, topics such as gender and gender expression often get simplified into binary existences—however, they don’t quite operate under the same parameters. In an essay entitled “Bad Feminist”, Dr. Roxane Gay explores and warns against the dangers of binary thinking. Throughout…show more content…
The same idea works the other way around. Traits such as submission and domesticity are celebrated in women when it comes to being perfect wives and mothers, but if the same traits are present in a man, the reaction generally isn’t the same. Adichie talks about the inequality that is created from the divide between genders. Because people have subconscious assumptions on gender—like men are better suited to be leaders—they subscribe and feed into a polar view of gender expression.
We define masculinity in a very narrow way. Masculinity becomes this hard, small cage, and we put boys inside the cage. We teach boys to be afraid of fear. We teach boys to be afraid of weakness, of vulnerability. We teach them to mask their true selves because they have to be, in Nigeria speak, ‘hard man’ (Adichie).
In return, complexes, such as masculinity or femininity, become prisons, entrapping those inside and thus causing them to police their own thoughts and actions in fear of “falling short of essential ideals” (Gay 172). Society embraces this polarity and creates a divide between male and female, looking down upon any ambiguity between the two. Often times if a person does not fit into a particular mold, they then become targets for ridicule, as if society doesn’t create the definitions

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