Segments in this Video

Formative Writing Experiences (02:03)


Gay reads from her memoir “Hunger” at California State University Northridge. She and Carlos Watson discuss her early writing at her home in Los Angeles.

Gay's Parents (02:02)

Michael and Nicole Gay grew up in Haiti before immigrating to the United States and meeting in New York. The Gays say they were outsiders after moving to a mostly white community in Nebraska; they describe Roxane as a loner and bibliophile.

Gay Recalls Sexual Assault (02:24)

Gay recalls being gang-raped by a group of boys at age 12. She did not tell anyone. Professor of Psychology Angela Duckworth describes the psychological impact of such traumatic events.

Mysterious Weight Gain (01:40)

Gay recalls attending Phillips Exeter Academy where she put on weight rapidly. Her parents say they knew nothing about her trauma and sought medical treatment for her.

Rebellion (02:16)

Gay discusses the nervous breakdown she suffered at age 19, while attending Yale University. She recalls traveling cross-country to be with an older man she met on the Internet.

Struggle to Get Published (01:41)

Gay went back to school and began writing in earnest in her 20s, but initially had little success. “Roxanne wrote for free for years and years … just to get her name out there,” literary agent Maria Massie says. The author gives advice to a fan she meets at a signing.

Pank Magazine (02:09)

In graduate school, Gay helped launch a literary magazine that she used to share her work with the world. She had a creative breakthrough with her essay “The Careless Language of Sexual Violence,” which is her response to coverage of the gang-rape of an adolescent in Texas.

"Bad Feminist" (03:50)

Massie recalls how Gay first came to her attention. The author reached a national audience with her first collection of essays, which confronts mainstream feminism.

"Hunger" (03:42)

Gay’s newfound popularity opened her up to personal attacks on social media. Her second essay collection is about “what it means to live in the world in a fat body.”

Self-Acceptance (02:22)

Following her greatest successes, Gay has learned to live more fully in the present. “I won’t say I’m a confident person, but I’m definitely more at ease with myself,” she says. She is working on a screenplay based on her novel, “An Untamed State.”

Credits: Roxane Gay (00:18)

Credits: Roxane Gay

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Episode 6: Roxane Gay (Breaking Big)

Part of the Series : Breaking Big
3-Year Streaming Price: $129.95



As a quiet child of Haitian immigrants, Roxane Gay transcended all expectations and became a leading voice in the modern feminist movement with her essay collection, Bad Feminist. But how did she transform a painful childhood into a powerful battle cry and a successful career that would end up helping women around the world?

Length: 26 minutes

Item#: BVL166881

Copyright date: ©2018

Closed Captioned

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