The Hammer Museum at UCLA hosted acclaimed author Roxane Gay and Bitch magazine co-founder Andi Zeisler on September 13 for a conversation on “bad” feminism moderated by museum curator Connie Butler. The night was filled with hilarity, genius one-liners and the conversations the whole world needed to hear.
Intersectionality came up right away. Both speakers debated the need for a definition. Gay stated that the crowd gathered there definitely did not need a definition, but Zeisler also added that sometimes that distinction or specification is needed.
Being a writer and feminist almost all her life, Gay stated at the event that she believes women have not made as many strides as we have convinced ourselves of. “In Middle America,” she told the crowd, “feminism is very much the f-word.” Gay is the first black woman to write for Marvel comics—which should be a surprise more than a celebration in 2016. Gay told attendants that women must push for more progress, adding that we “can’t be satisfied with getting our foot in the door–we’ve got to break down the door.”
Zeisler recalled being an emerging feminist writer in the ‘90s and how there was such little representation in the publishing world—at most an article in Rolling Stone with a subtle feminist tone. She went through with the idea by creating Bitch Media also as a way of reclaiming the word. She agreed with Gay about the lack of popularity or coolness of feminism to the degree people assume—adding that women haven’t reclaimed the word ‘bitch’ either.
Both also discussed the current presidential election, commenting on the sexism present in a campaign featuring the first woman nominee from a major party. Zeisler commented that the “first female president won’t be someone feminists hand pick,” while Gay addressed the gendered double-standard that dictates Clinton is supposed to be “exceptional and perfect.”Gay took the opportunity to also express the importance of voting and not just in the presidential election, but for every local election so we need to fix who makes judicial decisions as well.
If you would like to watch the full event online, check out the Hammer’s website.