Fight like a girl kicks off with an author's note "I hope you enjoy it, and find it galvanising!" Well, this book is absolutely galvanising — and upsetting, eye-opening, rage-inducing. It comes down to this: Girls, women, trans women — it's ok to be angry, in fact if you're not, you should be:
If you are a woman living in this world and you're not angry, you're not paying enough attention. Not to your own life, not to the lives of other women and not to the lives of the women who'll come after you. (p 281)
Next month you can hear Clementine in person at a WORD Christchurch Shifting Points of View event, part of the Christchurch Arts Festival.
Fight like a girl — Clementine Ford
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, Saturday 2 September, 3pm
Join Australia’s online sensation, fearless feminist heroine and scourge of trolls and misogynists everywhere Clementine Ford as she outlines her essential manifesto for feminists new, old and soon-to-be, and exposes just how unequal the world continues to be for women. Introduced by journalist Beck Eleven.
Find out more and book your tickets.(one session has already sold out, soz)
Talk of feminism is always timely. Just look what our politicians Meritia Turei and Jacinda Ardern have been dealing with.
The book covers all the topics you'd expect: body issues, diets, sex, gaslighting, girl gangs, and references feminist pop culture touchpoints like Broad City, Parks and Recreation, and Jessica Jones.
Fight like a girl has enough personal backstory to make you understand the things that set Clementine on the path to righteous feminism, particularly in the area of reproductive rights and mental health. She also sets it straight about the online abuse she's suffered for ten years.
But where I think this book comes out strongest is in its observations:
Why do some women come out against feminism (we've seen several high profile NZ examples of this)
... it all comes back to the same thing - women capitulating to the system in order to be given some notion of power within it. (p. 145)
What is privilege?
If you're not forcing yourself to routinely interrogate the benefits you enjoy in society, it's all too easy to tell yourself that other people are inventing their disadvantages. (p. 148)
Why do some women hate men? Because they have compelling reasons to.
Instead of berating feminists for being misandrists, perhaps these men should start taking responsibility for the abominable, destructive and dehumanising treatment of women throughout all of history up to and including the present day. (p.159)
Clementine relates examples of rape culture: Brock Turner, Stephen Milne, the Four corners case, and more. The effect of the cumulative examples is to make you want to change EVERYTHING.
Follow Clementine Ford on Twitter.
If you want more New Zealand stories, I recommend the TVNZ On Demand series So this happened - "real stories of harassment verbal and physical as told by those who have experienced them".
More feminist reading on our website
- Feminism is a feminist issue - WORD Christchurch
- Busted: Feminism and pop culture - WORD Christchurch
- All about (Nasty) Women - WORD Christchurch
- Gloria Steinem: Encouraging troublemakers – Auckland Writers Festival 2016
- Emily Writes talks
- Review: Dear Ijeawele
- “Herstory” in history – Barbara Brookes at Auckland Writers Festival 2016
Books that cut to the heart of being a woman. A Staff Pickles list.
Alison's pick: Celebrating the achievements of incredible Black women who played an absolutely vital part of scientific history, but have been largely written out of history (until now!)
Masha's pick: Haven't read it yet, but it smells of adventure and inspiration!
Alina's pick: Essays on fat acceptance, pop culture, feminism and general human rights.
Alina's pick: Contains depressing statistics of the percentage of women in various professions/the media, and what to do about it.
Moata's pick: Ruthlessly honest, rude, brash and other supposedly "unladylike" things, Moran tackles the big questions of modern womanhood including Lady Gaga, periods, pole dancing and other important matters. Also she makes me laugh A LOT. Also available in eBook format.
Katherine's pick: Very funny and relevant book which deconstructs how women are portrayed in the media, in particular in magazines.
Donna's pick: This was a book that hit me on the solar plexus. I had never realised that ideals of beauty and perfect femininity were a way of keeping women distracted and "in their place". I wonder how it holds up today - 25 years later!
Donna's pick: Michele A'Court's take on life and feminism and all kinds of things are beautifully observed.
Moata's pick: An empowering tome for fangirls everywhere that includes a really helpful primer on feminism and how to deal with internet trolls. I am fangirl, hear me blast you with a pulse-rifle. Also available in eAudiobook format.