I vaguely remember being drawn to the loud cover of Clementine Ford’s “Fight Like a Girl” in a bookstore, but choosing to walk past. The bright orange letters in their uncontrite font seemed to be asking, no, demanding something of me and I will not be spoken to like that. It was clear that anger was being requested of me but I didn’t wanna. Anger is too hard. “Just another trendy book on feminism,” I said to myself. “I’m not missing out on anything.”
I’m grateful I didn’t read this book when I first saw it because this was the perfect time in my life to sit down, devour it and have myself a feminist feast. I read Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” and “A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer” right before this one, so the fire within was already well and truly sparked. “Fight Like a Girl” was the call to arms I unequivocally craved and needed.
Ford’s semi-autobiographical first novel is the modern day feminists bible. Not unlike Lindy West’s “Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman,” much of the subject matter is centred around the authors’ experience with the unrelenting slog of harassment, threats, hate and trolling that comes with sharing and writing feminist content online. I’ve come to learn that the image of the 1960’s feminist activist, wielding a protest sign, is an outdated representation for the movement. Now, many of the people on the front line are, as I affectionately like to call them in the truest sense of the phrase, keyboard warriors.
Being a colossal means of communication, the internet has become another plane on which feminist activists fight for their rights. Online harassment is real harassment and acts as a perfect looking glass into societies rape culture and degradation of women. By recounting her own encounters with online harassment and divulging to us how she experimented with responding, Ford shares tactics with readers on how they themselves can deal with aggravations thrown their way. She encourages readers to make a stand and “call it out” when they see sexism or bigotry online. This is modern feminist activism. This is how we fight today. This is how you fight like a girl.
Ford made me angry (or rather, assisted in re-awakening my anger), but she also made me happy about it. “It’s okay for you to acknowledge your rage and give it a voice.” I am a woman paying attention to what is happening in the world… of course I’m angry. But “Fight Like a Girl” did not fail to also make me laugh out loud and smile in solidarity as Ford recited anecdotes from her past as she dealt with growing into womanhood. When it comes to the irritating to the laughable to the deadly result of inequality; we’ve all been affected. Every. Single. Person. Surely there’s a better way? Turns out there is. It’s called the death of patriarchy.