Roxane Gay has shaded the hell out of Mia Freedman and Mamamia, during a Facebook live interview with the Wall Street Journal.
If you haven’t been following the story thus far, the long and short of it is that Gay – feminist, author ‘Hunger: A Story Of (My) Body‘, and yes, a fat woman – slammed Freedman’s insensitive and downright rude discussion of her body.
Oh Mamamia. When good intentions just do so much damage… this is appalling pic.twitter.com/Kni2nKpvkp
— courtney robinson (@courtney_ro) June 13, 2017
I am appalled by Mamamia. It was a shit show. I can walk a fucking mile. https://t.co/14RNv2Ig0B
— roxane gay (@rgay) June 13, 2017
Mamamia has since offered a fairly lukewarm explanation (calling it ‘an apology’ is a bit of stretch), but there’s nothing so far from Freedman herself.
But Gay’s book tour continues, this time taking her to the WSJ’s Book Club.
Towards the end of the 25-minute interview (streamed on Facebook life), host Christopher Farley asked if she ever regretted putting so much of herself into what is a highly personal book, now that it was out there for the world to discuss.
“No,” replied an emphatic Gay. “No, because I have very firm boundaries about what I will and will not write about, and I stuck to my guns.
“I’m actually a very private person. I never planned on writing a memoir, or writing non-fiction for that matter. I just wrote what the book needed. I stuck to my guns about what I would not write about, because you have to hold something for yourself, and certain things in my life are very private, and just for me or for people in my life.
“You know, it’s a difficult book to have out into the world, and it’s definitely a difficult book to talk about, because people don’t know how to talk about different kinds of bodies, and they stumble. It’s okay to stumble – and then sometimes they just completely make a mistake, like what happened in Australia – but no, I do not have any regrets about what I put into the book.”
Just giving an interview to a consistently self-interested human, then. Fair enough.
You can watch the full interview below (or skip to the Mamamia burn at 23:30).
Update: WHOOPS. There’s a whole bunch of tea we missed in the middle of this episode. Our apologies.
Starting at about the 13-minute mark, Gay has this to say:
“I felt horrible about trending [on Twitter yesterday], because I wanted today to be a good day and it’s kind of a crappy day, because there’s this huge scandal happening in Australia,” she said.
“So I did this interview on a podcast [Mamamia’s ‘No Filter‘] and I don’t know Australian media very well. So when I got there I was like okay, this is interesting, so we sat down and we chatted and at the end [Freedman] said, ‘You know, we had to do all sorts of things to prepare for your arrival’.
“And I actually only sent one request, which was to have a good chair, a good sturdy chair, either with no arms or wide arms. So I was really baffled as to what she meant. And I didn’t want to take a picture with her, because I don’t enjoy having my picture taken. And she took it really personally.
“So when the podcast came out yesterday, she wrote this long write-up about how she had to wonder if the elevator – if I could fit in the elevator, like something that has never, ever occurred to me in my life. And how many steps to the recording studio, and so on and so forth, as if I don’t live in the world, as if I have not been on book tour for three years, y’know – I go to the gym like a normal person. It was just bizarre.
“So she is being rightly excoriated for it, this really humiliating thing. And she’s saying, ‘Well this is what her publicist did’. I actually just have a lot of anxiety about performance spaces so I like to know where I’m going, so my publicist will ask questions like ‘what is the venue like’, so I will be prepared before I have to walk on stage in front of 1,800 people.
“And she decided that she was doing some sort of public service by writing about this, and it was weird, and it was uncomfortable, and I think just petty.”
Photo: The Wall Street Journal.