Bits of life / Musings

Clementine vs the machine.

Last month, I read Clementine Ford’s memoir/social commentary/feminist manifesto, Fight Like a Girl. I am embarrassed to admit that, if it wasn’t for the fact of it being our book club’s book, I would probably not have read past Chapter 9.

To this point, I cringed at some of her descriptions, and I felt like she was shouting at me for being a bad feminist. I remember thinking, “This book was sold to me as a manifesto, not an angry memoir. I want my manifesto!”

But.

That was a fairly lazy opinion to have. Because each person’s story is their own.

Having read it through, I have to agree with where Clementine is coming from. I can forgive her the personal indulgences (it is her book, after all!) in light of what she is doing for women everywhere: she is taking back permission to express un-nice emotions, like rage, and to call out and change the destructive thoughts, behaviours, and systems we see operating around us every day.

By speaking about her public trolling episodes and sharing some very personal experiences over the course of her own journey, I think she is able to connect with something in every woman’s experience. She makes a powerful statement on how women are treated universally, and a compelling argument for systemic disruption because so much of it is still so wrong.

What appeals to me most about Clementine’s book — and her twitter feed, for that matter — is her honesty and clarity. She is an inspiration to me.

Clementine’s voice is louder than her. She is speaking for those of us who, for familial and other reasons, perhaps can not articulate our experiences with the same eloquence and intensity. And she is gunning for a massive result — for large-scale cultural change — and that necessarily comes with volume and discomfort.

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6 thoughts on “Clementine vs the machine.

  1. I guess I’m quite tolerant of shouting and rage, both of which, I thought, were justifiable, in this book. I have no problem with the themes, personal anecdotes and scary opinions expressed in this memoir/manifesto. I applaud her nerve while worrying about the repercussions. Bearing witness to such unrelenting hate requires courage, but must also take a toll. Thank you for your thoughts, Hannah. I’m still gathering mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your insightful comments, Rashida. I found myself nodding along to everything you said.

      In retrospect, I realise that what made me uncomfortable about the first chapters was the challenge they posed to my own thoughts and actions. In the past, I have been that constantly-apologising “nice” girl who makes everyone feel comfortable. It’s a big shift, to move from being one who honey-coats and accepts, to being one who holds others to account. This represents an act of courage and, in this, Clementine is a fearless warrior.

      Like

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