Fight Like A Girl was published in October last year and I’ve listened to friends rave about it ever since. It’s taken me nearly a year to pick it up myself. Why? Because I didn’t want to feel any more angry at the world than I already was.
I needn’t have worried. Clementine Ford’s ironic, humorous treatment of topics that leave plenty of the rest of us unable to see through blinding rage was incredibly refreshing and uplifting.
It may surprise you to know that Clem Ford didn’t identify as being a feminist when she was younger. It certainly surprised me. Fight Like A Girl follows her journey from a schoolgirl desperate for male attention and approval to a high-profile feminist writer who laughs at her online attackers. It’s a fascinating – and bumpy – road.
If you’d like to continue along in your belief the world really is pretty much, overall okay for women (as long as we keep our heads down, don’t provoke men and remember – above all – that #notallmen), then you definitely shouldn’t read this book.
If, however, you’ve been harbouring a simmering irritation – maybe you’re not even quite sure why – or outright rage at the state of gender equality today, this is the book for you.
I found it extremely helpful to identify exactly what still needs to change. And, even more importantly, how to change it.
A few of my favourite quotes
Fight Like A Girl is one of those books you’ll read while driving everyone around you batty by excitedly reading out entire chunks every few pages or so. I tried typing up quotes from all the pages I’d dog-eared (yes, I dog-ear pages – you may throw your digital daggers now) but it came out at more than 1000 words.
I’ve since culled down to the best of the best. Here are a few of my favourite chunks. Now go and get yourself a copy of the book and read it.
On why women of all shapes and sizes are called ‘fat’:
The simple explanation, as always, is that the person calling you fat is a fucking twit who lacks the intellectual capacity to argue against your political ideas and so tries to deride you by telling you that you’re too fat to fuck. Boohoo. I’ve taken to agreeing with men who call me fat. ‘Yes, I am the fattest person in the world,’ I say, ‘and I am going to sit on you until you suffocate and then I will eat you.’ It works a charm.
On having strong circles of female friends:
Listen to me when I tell you this, because it might be the most important thing in this whole book: the best think you can do for your self-esteem, your sanity, your sense of accomplishment, your happiness and your inner strength is to find yourself a solid girl gang.
Instead of feeling judged by my girlfriends, I find relief in their company. They make me feel safe and supported, because they don’t respond to my shared experiences of being a woman with the suggestion that I might be exaggerating or imagining things.
On dealing with internet trolls:
Online trolls are the boggarts of the internet, and laughter kills them. So laugh. Laugh and watch them wilt. They’ll fight back, of course. But the more they shrink before us, the more strength you’ll have to go on fighting. That’s what all of us need to do – we need to fight back and take the space that belongs to us, no matter how angry it makes these men feel and no matter how viciously they try to tear us down.
And THIS on the idea that women don’t appear in the history books as frequently because they simply didn’t do anything noteworthy:
I’m angry that the sexist men who disregard women’s immense contributions to the world insist that our gender has been responsible for creating nothing, building nothing, inventing nothing and designing nothing – because to them, the complicated, difficult task of growing an entire human being from scratch and then giving birth to it isn’t considered that big a deal.
And finally – on being an angry woman:
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.
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