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I don’t remember when I exactly started following Clementine Ford on Instagram. But I think it was sometime last year after seeing a short snippet she created of herself singing an Ursula The Sea Witch, painted purple. I found that very amusing and began following her. Since then, I’ve really been enjoying her weekly Friday Night Bites segment on Friday Nights on Instagram.
I bought Fight Like A Girl a couple of weeks ago and finished it in a week. My first exposure to feminist writing and gender studies was a long time ago during my undergraduate degree, but those works were heavily academic. It is cool to see feminism appearing as more pop-culture-ish (I made this word up) and mainstream. This book is a good introduction into feminism. I found it to be quite emotive and melancholic at times, while ultimately hopeful.
Fight Like A Girl is something in between a memoir, a manifesto and a call to arms. It is hard to ignore what Ford writes about once you’ve read about it. She takes the reader to different points of her life, which she often uses as the backdrop for the topics she unpacks in the book. Ford illuminates the difficult path girls must walk in order to reach womanhood and how it is impossible to reach that womanhood unscathed. She explains how society conditions young girls that their value comes intrinsically from their ability to be physically appealing to men. She highlights the ironic reality of women who experience sexual assault – how they are shamed for speaking out about it, shamed for ‘ruining men’s lives’, and indeed shamed for allowing it to happen to them. She argues that the people who fight to ban abortion, are often the same people who are happy to ‘bomb brown kids in the Middle East’ and lock them up in cages at the border, Manus or Nauru Island detention centres.
Despite what other feminists have been writing about her (regarding intersectionality), I think that she is aware of the problems with white feminism. I don’t know if she came to the realisation to expand her audience base or follow what is trending, but as a woman of colour, I think that Fight Like A Girl is not a book that erases the experiences of women of colour. Whether she is late to that realisation or not, she is aware of it now. Until I learn that she has actively worked against or undermined a woman of colour or her work, I’m happy to consider myself a fan.