Book Review: ‘Fight Like a Girl’, by Clementine Ford

Are you looking for a book that talks about all the issues surrounding gender equality in a contemporary context, using accessible language, giving tangible and personal examples, offering advice on how to navigate society as a girl / woman and how to stand your ground when attacked with questions meant to undermine your stance and position as a woman who believes in equality for all women? Well, look no further!

‘Fight Like a Girl’ by Clementine Ford is an accessible, funny, highly sarcastic, ironic, and no-nonsense book everyone, men and women, need to read. It took me only two full afternoons to get through the roughly 300pages of this book – it was just that engrossing and engaging! ‘Fight Like a Girl’ is mixture of an unapologetic feminist manifesto and a personal memoir of the author. Her personal experiences are, however, extremely relatable and even if your life has been different to hers, there are at least a handful of moments where your paths will cross and you’ll be able to relate to her experiences. The experience of oppression, gender-based violence and discrimination is universal.

This book is a good starting point for anyone who is just embarking on the journey to learn more about feminism, gender equality, and the fight against oppression, and it is also a great read for more experienced and well-versed feminists who are looking for a refreshing and frank reiteration of ideals, ideas, and experiences, without the often-tiring side effects of  theoretical language.

I loved especially the first half of the book, and the first chapter, in which Ford sets the scene, acknowledges her privilege as a white-passing woman. She also concedes that women’s liberation belongs to the very women in question, and that it’s not the West’s role to come, interfere, and take of control, because she believes that ‘it’s incorrect to assume that women need any help with coordinating their own liberation movement. There are vibrant feminist movements all over the world, run by women who have the knowledge and intelligence to lead their own movements. I know white people love to march in and take ownership over everything we see, but it’s just more colonialism …’.

Ford’s book reads like a love letter to girls and women across the world, it exposes the problems within the feminist movement, it explains why some women like allying themselves with the patriarchy (something I really liked, because, up until now, I had failed to understand those women), and it pleads for compassion from women for EACH OTHER, among many other things.

The language is informal, and it gives the impression of sitting across from Ford, listening to her over a glass of wine. Oh yeah, did I mention that she is really funny? Not funny in the way that discredits the cause she advocates for, but funny in a way that makes very painful and enraging topics and themes graspable and digestible. Her attitude and sense of humour have influenced and, I would even venture to say, changed my attitude towards gender inequality and oppression, and especially my attitude towards men who try (often violently) to discredit the movement for women’s liberation and the women who stand for it.

This book is definitely essential reading, and it can be given to literally anyone, which is what makes this book so great. It brings a difficult and extremely important topic to the masses, it takes it out of the theorising and highly literate circles, it slaps sense and insight onto everyone who had been plagued by ignorance,  and it reinforces and encourages those who already know what’s going on.

If I was in the habit of giving out star-ratings, this would be given a 5-star-rating.

Since I’m still at the beginning of my ‘feminist-reading-journey’, do you have any suggestions and absolute MUST-READS that I should acquire?

*This book was sent to me by One World Publications free of charge.