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, Claire Schwartz, and Bob Shacochis. 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 Clementine Ford's Fight Like a Girl and 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.
Roxane Gay (Editor) is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Bad Feminist and Hunger, which has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and received the NBCC Members' Choice Award; the novel An Untamed State, a finalist for the Dayton Peace Prize; and the short story collections Difficult Women and Ayiti. A contributing opinion writer to the New York Times, she has also written for Time, the Virginia Quarterly Review, the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Rumpus, and Salon, among others. She is the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. She lives in Los Angeles.
Elissa Bassist edits the Funny Women column on the Rumpus and teaches humor writing at the New School and Catapult. Visit elissabassist.com for more literary, feminist, media, and personal criticism.
Nicole Boyce's writing has appeared in the Awl, Joyland, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Big Truths, and more, and has been short-listed for the New Quarterly's Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award. She's an MFA student at the University of British Columbia, where she's working on a collection of personal essays about nostalgia.
Amy Jo Burns is the author of Cinderland, and her writing has appeared in DAME, Good Housekeeping, Jezebel, the Rumpus, and Salon. She currently writes for Ploughshares and is at work on a novel.
Michelle Chen is a contributing writer at the Nation and contributing editor at In These Times and Dissent magazines.
Jill Christman is the author of Darkroom: A Family Exposure (AWP Award Series in Creative Nonfiction winner), Borrowed Babies: Apprenticing for Motherhood (Shebooks 2014), and essays in magazines and journals such as Brevity, Fourth Genre, Iron Horse Literary Review, Literary Mama, Oprah magazine, River Teeth, and Brain, Child. She serves on the board of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and teaches creative nonfiction writing in Ashland University's low-residency MFA program and at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, where she lives with her husband, writer Mark Neely, and their two children. Visit her at www.jillchristman.com.
Elisabeth Fairfield Stokes is from Alaska. Her writing has appeared in numerous national and international publications, including the New York Times, Pacific Standard, Salon, Reader's Digest, and TIME. She teaches at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
Stacey May Fowles is an award-winning novelist, journalist, and essayist. She is a columnist at the Globe and Mail, coeditor of Best Canadian Sports Writing, and author of the essay collection Perfect Game. Her work has appeared in such publications as the National Post, Elle Canada, Deadspin, Jezebel, Rookie, Hazlitt, Vice Sports, and Toronto Life. She lives in Toronto, where she is writing a memoir to be published by McClelland & Stewart.
Anthony Frame is an exterminator from Toledo, Ohio, where he lives with his wife. He is the author of A Generation of Insomniacs (Main Street Rag, 2015) and four chapbooks, including To Gain the Day (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2015) and Where Wind Meets Wing (forthcoming from Sibling Rivalry Press). He is the editor/publisher of Glass Poetry Press, which publishes the Glass Chapbook Series and Glass: A Journal of
Poetry. His poetry has appeared in Third Coast, Harpur Palate, Boxcar Poetry Review, Muzzle magazine, The Shallow Ends, and Verse Daily, among others. He has twice been awarded Individual Excellence Grants from the Ohio Arts Council.
Aubrey Hirsch is the author of a collection of short stories, Why We Never Talk About Sugar, and a chapbook, This Will Be His Legacy. Her stories and essays have appeared in Third Coast, the Rumpus, American Short Fiction, Hobart, and the New York Times, among others. She currently teaches in the Creative Writing program at Oberlin College.
Lyz Lenz's writing has appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Marie Claire, Pacific Standard, Buzzfeed, and the LA Review of Books. She has her MFA from Lesley University and lives in Iowa. You can find her on Twitter @lyzl.
Vanessa Martir is a NYC-based writer, educator, and mama. She is completing her memoir, A Dim Capacity for Wings, and chronicles her journey on her blog: vanessamartir.blog. Vanessa is a five-time VONA/Voices and two-time Tin House fellow; and the creator of the Writing Our Lives Workshop, through which she helps writers pen memoirs and personal essays. Vanessa's writing has appeared in the Butter, SmokeLong Quarterly, Poets & Writers magazine, Kweli Journal, As/Us Journal, and the VONA/Voices anthology, Dismantle, among others.
So Mayer is a poet and film critic. Her most recent books are the poetry collections (O) and kaolin, or How Does a Girl Like You Get to Be a Girl Like You?, and Political Animals: The New Feminist Cinema. She is a contributor to Sight & Sound, The F-Word (UK), Women & Hollywood, VIDA, and Literal magazine, and a member of feminist film collectives Club des Femmes and Raising Films. "floccinaucinihilipilification" is part of a longer project on language, identity, and memory, Disturbing Words, available at tinyletter.com/sophiemayer.
AJ McKenna's work has appeared in Bustle, Vada, Gadgette,Clarissa Explains Fuck All, and So So Gay, of which she was deputy editor. As a spoken-word artist she has performed throughout the UK; her one-woman show Howl of the Bantee was described as "powerful and important" by Stand Up Tragedy. Her poetry film, Letter to a Minnesota Prison, was shown at the Southbank Centre in 2014 and has been screened internationally.
Lisa Mecham writes a little bit of everything and her work has appeared in Amazon's Day One, Mid-American Review, and BOAAT, among other publications. A midwesterner at heart, Lisa lives in Los Angeles with her two daughters where she's finishing a book about mental illness in the suburbs.
Zoe Medeiros graduated from Bennington College with a BA in literature and writing. She's lived in nine states and has worked in education, insurance, tools, and fish. Zoe currently lives in northwest Washington with her brown dog and is working on a young adult novel.
Lynn Melnick is the author of the poetry collection, If I Should Say I Have Hope (YesYes Books, 2012) and coeditor of the anthology Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation (Viking, 2015). She teaches poetry at 92nd Street Y in New York City and serves on the Executive Board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.
Samhita Mukhopadhyay is a writer, editor, and speaker. She is the senior editorial director of culture and identities at Mic and former executive editor of award-winning blog Feministing.com. She is the author of Outdated: Why Dating Is Ruining Your Love Life and coeditor of the anthology Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump's America. Her work has appeared in Al Jazeera, the Guardian, NY Magazine, Medium, Talking Points Memo, and Jezebel.
Miriam Zoila Perez is a queer Cuban American writer based in Washington, DC. Perez's work ranges from reporting about race, health, and gender for outlets like Colorlines, Talking Points Memo, Rewire, and Fusion, to personal essays for anthologies like Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme, Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists, and Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape. In 2012, Perez self-published The Radical Doula Guide, a political primer that has sold more than twenty-five hundred copies. In 2016, Perez gave a TED talk about the impact of racism on maternal health, which has been viewed by more than seven hundred thousand people.
Liz Rosema wrote the cartoon series Butch Stories for the Toast. You can find her on Twitter where she will mostly talk about LEGOs.
Nora Salem is a writing and ESOL teacher in Brooklyn, New York.
Claire Schwartz is a PhD candidate in African American Studies, American Studies, and Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Yale University. Her poetry has appeared in Apogee, Cream City Review, PMS: poemmemoirstory, and Prairie Schooner, and her essays, reviews, and interviews in Electric Literature, the Georgia Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere.
Ally Sheedy is an actor, author, director, and teacher. She has appeared in over sixty films and TV projects including War Games, The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo's Fire, Short Circuit, High Art, and the recurring role of Yang on the series Psych. Her indie film Little Sister was released on Netflix in 2017. She adapted the book Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom by Lynda Blackmon Lowery for the stage and a national tour in 2017-2018. Ally has published two books and several essays, is artist in residence at a New York high school, and has taught theater at Bard College.
V. L. Sleek is a lawyer and playwright whose work focuses on traditionally dispossessed peoples and violence against women. She was a 2012 recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council's Individual Artist Grant for Playwriting. She strives to dismantle the patriarchy, colonialism, and other oppressive forces through prose and legal briefs. She currently resides in Boulder, Colorado.
Emma Smith-Stevens is the author of a novel, The Australian (Dzanc Books). Her short stories and essays have appeared in Subtropics, Conjunctions, Wigleaf, Joyland, and elsewhere. She is currently at work on a memoir.
Meredith Talusan is an author and journalist whose work has appeared in the Guardian, the Atlantic, the Nation, WIRED, VICE, BuzzFeed, Mic, The New Inquiry, and other publications. She has received awards from GLAAD and the Society for Professional Journalists and is a contributor to several edited volumes, including Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump's America. She lives in New York.
Brandon Taylor is the associate editor of Electric Literature's Recommended Reading and a staff writer at Literary Hub. He has received fellowships from Lambda Literary, Kimbilio Fiction, and the Tin House Summer Writers' Workshop. His stories and essays have appeared in Gulf Coast, Joyland, Necessary Fiction, Little Fiction, Catapult, and elsewhere. He is currently a student at The Iowa Writers' Workshop, and his debut novel is forthcoming from Riverhead Books.
Sharisse Tracey's work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review and online at the New York Times, Ebony, Babble, Essence, Yahoo, Salon, DAME magazine, ELLE, and the Washington Post. She's an army wife, mother of four, educator, and writer. Sharisse's family is currently stationed in New York where she's working on her memoir.
Gabrielle Union stars in the BET series Being Mary Jane and received a 2014 NAACP Image Award for "Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special" for her role. She has appeared in many films, including Top Five, Sleepless, Almost Christmas, Bad Boys II, Deliver Us From Eva, Bring It On, Two Can Play That Game, Love & Basketball, Cradle to the Grave, Ten Things I Hate About You, and She's All That. She is the author of We're Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True. A native of Nebraska, Union currently splits her time between Miami and Chicago with her family.
xTx is a writer living in Southern California. Her work has been published in places like the Collagist, PANK, Hobart, the Rumpus, the Chicago Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, and Wigleaf. Normally Special, a collection of stories, is available from Tiny Hardcore Press. Her story collection, Today I Am a Book, is now available from Civil Coping Mechanisms (http://copingmechanisms.net/today-i-am-a-book-by-xtx/). She says nothing at www.notimetosayit.blogspot.com.