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Distinguished Lecture Series speaker discusses how to define feminists

Author, cultural critic Roxane Gay said women need to be proactive in calling out sexism

Courtesy of Flickr user Eva Blue

As part of the ongoing Lit Fest 2017, the Wisconsin Union Directorate Publications Committee welcomed writer and New York Times op-ed journalist Roxane Gay to engage students in a conversation about feminism and racial disparities.

The Tuesday event, co-sponsored by the WUD Distinguished Lecture Series, featured the critically acclaimed author reading excerpts from her books and addressing the intersectionality of issues pertaining to gender and race.

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Gay’s reading is the first of three events in the List Fest that focus on storytelling as a way to convey political messages.

Her books, “Bad Feminist” and “Difficult Women” focus on personal experiences Gay has had in the areas of feminism, racial discrimination and sexual orientation among other topics.

“I am a privileged woman, but I have to work three or four times as hard because I am an African woman,” Gay said.

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Through her collection of essays in “Bad Feminist,” Gay said she hoped to create conversation on what the definition of being a feminist is.

When discussing how feminists should be defined, Gay also addressed the different areas women need to be proactive in to call out sexism in different situations.

“I am a bad feminist, but I would rather be a bad one than not one at all,” Gay said.

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After reading passages from two of her books, she briefly mentioned her upcoming books, “Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body.” The book will touch on the issues of obesity and the “emotional hunger” she said she feels cannot be fulfilled at times.

The book is set to come out in the next couple of months.

Through her work, Gay said she hopes to bring light to conflicts people may experience in the work place and in their day-to-day lives.

The second event for Lit Fest is a spoken word open mic and will be hosted at Memorial Union April 12 at 8 p.m.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Gay read from three of her books and an excerpt from her upcoming book. This article has been updated to accurately reflect Gay’s readings at the event. The Badger Herald regrets this error.