I've been to quite a few talks by feminist authors in recent years and one thing I've noticed is that not that many men attend. Which is a shame because, to my mind, the people who would really benefit from hearing authors like Clementine Ford speak are the ones who don't have a working knowledge and familiarity with the issues she addresses.
So why would you bother going to hear Clementine Ford talk about her book, Boys will be boys, which looks at how we can raise our sons to not buy into or become a part of a culture of toxic masculinity, and how we can prevent them becoming harrassers, abusers, or a ringleader in the next "Roastbusters"? Why indeed?
- Well, for one thing, she's really funny. Though much of the stuff she talks about is serious and weighty she's marvellously entertaining with it.
- She speaks the truth in about as straightforward, no BS, a way as you can imagine. (Australians!)
- Her feminism is intersectional (meaning that it acknowledges the differences in experiences of different kinds of people and the inherent power imbalances and nuances that exist - it's not the "one size fits all, my way or the highway" kind).
- Her approach is practical rather than theoretical - Ford is good at suggesting strategies that can be used in real life situations.
- If you're a parent of a small child then this stuff is invaluable. Get in now before those rigid ideas of gender expression are cemented in, I say.
I expect that when I rock up to the Charles Luney Auditorium at St Margarets next Wednesday 8 May to hear Ford talk it will, again, be mostly women in attendance. But maybe one day, if we keep working at gender equality, it will be a more even spread.