“Dear girls, I wish that I had written the rules.”
– Clementine Ford
Fight Like A Girl is a manifesto like no other. Having seen this book becoming a staple read on my twitter feed and amongst readers whose taste I completely trust, I could not resist picking up this book. As most of you will know, I am a sucker for Feminist Literature.
Fight Like A Girl, written by online sensation and fearless feminist writer Clementine Ford, is the book that has been missing from my bookshelves for far too long. It is more than just a critique of gender inequality, it is a battle cry for women to rediscover their anger about these inequalities, and to re-evaluate why feminism has been considered such a threat to the status quo.
Being new to Clementine Ford and her work, reading this book was like finding a new friend to talk about feminism with. Her voice is incredibly authentic and real – there she is, right there standing there telling you about what makes her angry and why it is okay to be angry about it. She is unapologetically upfront and blunt about the issues in this book, which themselves are incredibly varied – sexual violence, rape culture, eating disorders, mental health issues, female friendships, male rights activists, and ignorant commentary. But all these issues have one thing at their core – women are unnecessarily copping all the pain and suffering for them.
It was so refreshing to have all these issues placed in the immediate context of Australian society. Most other contemporary feminist literature has held its focus elsewhere – primarily in the US and the UK. Whilst the majority of issues being discussed in the books I have read move across borders, the direct references to events and Australian cultural expectations and behaviours make this book so much more relevant to the reader. It is impossible not to see how these issues affect us, especially when Ford spells it out so clearly for us in our own backyard.
I love Clementine Ford in much the same way as I do Caitlin Moran – they are unapologetic feminists with something to say, and they are going to make sure you understand. The terminology is easy to understand, the references are relevant and familiar and you can’t help but want to be their friend and tell people about how awesome they are. Also, they swear a lot and don’t care what you have to say about it – my favourite kind of feminist.
Unlike some of Caitlin Moran’s earlier work though, Clementine Ford makes sure to give a content warning at the beginning of her book, in case some of the issues being discussed are harmful triggers for women reading this book. Beyond that, she is sure to include all women-identifying people in her definition of women and girls – something that I have not seen written into an easily accessible feminist text in such a clear way. Ford makes it very clear that her cis-gendered white middle class privilege will impact what she says, and is deliberate in her inclusion of all groups of female identifying women of all backgrounds, classes, creeds and colours. I am so glad to see that she treats this discussion with a sense of obviousness – why wouldn’t she include these women? They are women, and they are dealing with the same, if not more problems than she is.
More than anything, the familiarity of Ford’s voice and her experiences is incredible. Not once did I ever feel like I was a stranger to what she was talking about. I have wanted a book like this that was written by an Australian feminist for a long time, and I am so grateful that Clementine Ford wrote it. Honestly, this book should be required reading – and I don’t say that lightly. If everyone read this book, and felt the way I feel after reading it, I can only imagine what a difference it could make.
Fight Like A Girl (RRP $29.99) is available in all good book stores now or directly from the publisher, Allen & Unwin, here. As always, INWORDSANDINK encourages its readers to buy from, and support their local independent book stores.
Thank you once again to Allen & Unwin for sending me a copy of Clementine Ford’s Fight Like A Girl. Whilst I was sent the book for reviewing purposes, I was not in any way paid or financially obligated to write this review.
© Hayley New 2016