Edited and with an introduction written and read by Roxane Gay, the New York Times best-selling and deeply beloved author of Bad Feminist and Hunger, this anthology of first-person essays read by all 30 contributors including Gabrielle Union, Ally Sheedy, and Lyz Lenz, tackles rape, assault, and harassment head-on.
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In this valuable and revealing anthology, cultural critic and best-selling 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 listener, 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.
Narrators include: Roxane Gay, Gabrielle Union, Ally Sheedy, Amy Jo Burns, Lyz Lenz, Claire Schwartz, Aubrey Hirsch, Jill Christman, Lynn Melnick, Brandon Taylor, Emma Smith-Stevens, A.J. McKenna, Lisa Mecham, Vanessa Mártir, xTx, Sophie Mayer, Nora Salem, V.L. Seek, Michelle Chen, Liz Rosema, Anthony Frame, Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Miriam Zoila Pérez, Zoe Medeiros, Sharisse Tracey, Stacey May Fowles, Elisabeth Fairfield Stokes, Meredith Talusan, Nicole Boyce, and Elissa Bassist.
About the Author
Emma Smith-Stevens's writing has appeared in Subtropics, Conjunctions, Day One, Wigleaf, and many other publications. Her essay "The Sun" is included in Not That Bad: Dispatches From Rape Culture, an anthology published by Harper Perennial (Eds. Roxane Gay and Ashley C. Ford). She holds an MFA from the University of Florida and currently teaches fiction writing as part of the Bard Prison Initiative. She lives in New York. This is her first novel.
Lynn Melnick was born in Indianapolis and grew up in Los Angeles. Her poetry has appeared in BOMB, DENVER QUARTERLY, Guernica, Gulf Coast, jubilat, The Paris Review, A Public Space, and elsewhere. Her fiction has appeared in Opium and Forklift, Ohio, and she has written essays and book reviews for Boston Review, Coldfront, Los Angeles Review of Books, Poetry Daily, and VIDAweb, among others. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters.
JILL CHRISTMAN is an assistant professor of English at Ball State University.
Aubrey Hirsch is a proud native of Cleveland, Ohio. Her work has appeared in American Short Fiction, Third Coast, Hobart, The Rumpus and elsewhere. She teaches fiction writing in Pittsburgh, where she lives with her husband, writer Devan Goldstein, and their son.
Gabrielle Union is an actress, executive producer, activist, best-selling author and most recently, a Time100 cover honoree. Union formed her production shingle "I'll Have Another" in 2018 with the goal of telling stories that center marginalized communities with their specific point of views in an authentic manner. In August of 2020, she relaunched her haircare brand "Flawless by Gabrielle Union" for women with textured hair. The new and improved collection includes an array of options, affordably priced between $4 - $10, that empowers consumers to customize a regimen specific to their texture and style preferences. Prior to relaunching Flawless, Union learned of the disparities in the food space and joined Bitsy's as a cofounder with the goal of making healthy, allergen- friendly, school-safe snacks that are accessible and affordable for all families regardless of their socioeconomic or geographical status. Her first book, We're Going To Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated and True, was released in 2017 and instantly became a New York Times best seller. Union serves as a leader and advocate for inclusion in the entertainment industry. She is also a champion of breast health and combating sexual violence.
Roxane Gay's writing appears in BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 2014, BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 2012, BEST SEX WRITING 2012, A PUBLIC SPACE, MCSWEENEY'S, TIN HOUSE, OXFORD AMERICAN, AMERICAN SHORT FICTION, VIRGINIA QUARTERLY REVIEW, and many others. She is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. She is the author of the books AYITI, AN UNTAMED STATE, The New York Times bestselling BAD FEMINIST, the nationally bestselling DIFFICULT WOMEN and The New York Times bestselling HUNGER.
Michelle Chen is a contributing writer for The Nation and In These Times and a contributing editor at Dissent Magazine. She is also co-producer of Asia Pacific Forum on Pacifica's WBAI and Dissent's Belabored podcast. Michelle studies history at the City University of New York Graduate Center. Her poetry weaves together her reporting observations with other literary sensibilities. Her most recent book of poetry is POINT A TO POINT B (Get Fresh Books LLC, 2019). Michelle previously published with Red Bird Chapbooks and Anaphora and was a 2017 finalist in the Eggtooth Editions Chapbook Contest.