Fight Like A Girl by Clementine Ford


Working at an Australian bookstore has definitely had an impact on my reading choices lately as I’ve consciously worked towards reading more Australian literature and non-fiction. Fight Like a Girl is my latest foray into Australian non-fiction and one I’ve been pretty pumped about reading as its been selling like hotcakes (brief deviation: does anyone know the origin of this idiom? Or can any multi-lingual readers out let me know if other languages have a similar idiom? I actually googled hotcakes – they’re just pancakes btw) at our store.

FLAG is Ford’s manifesto, offering autobiographical details and dissecting social theory in a series of essays that she describes as a feminist call to arms. My first impressions followed quite closely to a friend’s criticism who, after reading the first chapter promptly gave up, proclaimed this was like reading “feminism 101” and I couldn’t help but agree. I don’t disagree with any of Ford’s points (in fact, I could relate more often then not) but it did seem pretty basic and obvious to someone who has been ferociously following feminist theory and politics both on an academic and a popular level for the last 6+ years.

But the more I read of FLAG the more privileged I realised my position is. As a white, liberal, university educated, young, western female today’s particular brand of feminism was created by and for people like me. Ford’s book is a timely reminder that not all women identify with feminism and a lot of the ideas that I take for granted are actually quite contentious. I was reminded of my own sister decrying feminism as unnecessary and misandrist.

All this points to how important it is that this book is selling and I can’t recommend it enough. At the risk of falling into cliche: EVERYONE SHOULD READ AND DISCUSS THIS BOOK. 

I was even hesitant to have this as the first review on my book blog as I was afraid of politicising the blog too early…  I needed Ford’s words to remind me that I would be doing a disservice to apologise for or avoid discussions of feminism: I am a feminist and I am angry. 

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