Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture edited by Roxane Gay
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Published May 1st, 2018
Genres: Nonfiction, Feminism, Essays
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon
Edited and with an introduction by Roxane Gay, the New York Times bestselling and deeply beloved author of Bad Feminist and Hunger, this anthology of first-person essays tackles rape, assault, and harassment head-on.
In this valuable and revealing anthology, cultural critic and bestselling author Roxane Gay collects original and previously published pieces that address what it means to live in a world where women have to measure the harassment, violence, and aggression they face, and where they are “routinely second-guessed, blown off, discredited, denigrated, besmirched, belittled, patronized, mocked, shamed, gaslit, insulted, bullied” for speaking out. Contributions include essays from established and up-and-coming writers, performers, and critics, including actors Ally Sheedy and Gabrielle Union and writers Amy Jo Burns, Lyz Lenz, and Claire Schwartz. Covering a wide range of topics and experiences, from an exploration of the rape epidemic embedded in the refugee crisis to first-person accounts of child molestation, this collection is often deeply personal and is always unflinchingly honest. Like Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me, Not That Bad will resonate with every reader, saying “something in totality that we cannot say alone.”
Searing and heartbreakingly candid, this provocative collection both reflects the world we live in and offers a call to arms insisting that “not that bad” must no longer be good enough.
Normally in this type of books like essays and anthologies, I rate each story and talk about each separately but I can’t do that with this one. First, there’s a lot of them and second, how can I rate anyone’s experiences?! I just can’t so I will be talking about the book as a whole and mentioning one or another story that particularly hit me harder.
This was a helluva difficult book to read. It’s an important book for sure, but I would proceed to read it with caution because it has a lot of hard things to read about, like rape, abuse, assault – at different ages, anything really. It was emotionally hard to read for me, and I believe it will be the same for many people, so make sure you know what you are going to be reading about and that you are mentally prepared for it. In the other way tho, it can also help you sort out a lot of things and understand a lot of things that perhaps you didn’t before, so although it’s difficult to read and can trigger, it can also help.
This is a book about rape and rape culture. It contains many powerful stories, some incredibly sad, some that give you strength, some that make you think, some that will break your heart. There’s a bit of everything, but all of them are real. This is the type of things that happen in our world and shouldn’t. It’s what needs to be stopped now.
Each essay has its own format including even a graphic novel type. But the writing is complex, raw, emotional and powerful in every single one of them. There’s so much my brain is trying to process right now, that I think I can’t fully explain how powerful this book is… Some of the essays touched me more than others but there was none that didn’t touch my heart.
“Rape was and is a cultural and political act: it attempts to remove a person with agency, autonomy, and belonging from their community, to secrete them and separate them, to depoliticize their body by rendering it detachable, violable, nothing.”
Rape culture comes in all types of ways, it’s not only “rape” itself, it’s much more than that and it IS THAT bad. Read this.
Have you read this one? What did you think of it? Let’s discuss it in the comments!