Eternal fighter for women’s rights, Clementine Ford, recently copped a huge amount of online abuse and vitriol for courageously publishing the names of people who abused her/asked her for nude photos, after she voiced her opinion on their victim-blaming commentary of the Adelaide nude photo leak.
But this woman is more than just courageous; she’s eloquent, intelligent, and really fucking funny. Publishing company Allen & Unwin recognise this, too – they’ve agreed to publish her debut book, ‘Fight Like A Girl’ later this year.
We spoke to Clementine about the book, the backlash, and the battlegrounds women tread every day:
So you mentioned that the book would be part memoir, and part polemic. Could you elaborate?
When I say memoir, I don’t mean ‘a memoir’ in the strictest sense. I’ll be using circumstances and instances from my own life, but it won’t have any kind of chronological narrative thread. Obviously I can only write what I know; I’m not assuming it will be everyone’s exact experience, but I’m hoping that I’m touching on shared feelings. Women don’t have to have the exact same backgrounds to have the same experience of feeling angry, or feeling suffocated. I’m hoping that the general theme is applicable to lots of women.
Is it about the silencing of women?
It’s not just about that. The title, Fight Like A Girl, is really about the battleground women and girls are on. Part of that is being silenced, part of that is the assault on our bodies, part of that is rape culture. It’s really about what it means to be a woman in a world that is inherently pitted against you.
Yet when women do fight back, or get angry, or present themselves as anything less than feminine and docile, we’re shamed for it. We’re not supposed to fight. We’re not supposed to present ourselves in a way that makes other people feel uncomfortable. We’re told that to change things we have to be nice and sweet, we have to make the people who have the power not feel threatened. But… they’re won’t just hand it over!
Like, a guy wrote a comment to me once, saying ‘Oh, I respect you, but I cringe at half of the things you say; you appeal to the stupider population, etc.’ I just replied saying ‘Fuck off.’ It’s completely beneath me to engage. I kind of want to transmit that to women – we do not have a responsibility to hold their hands and walk them through it. We do not have a responsibility to justify anything they say with a response! You can yell at me that I’m wrong all you like, I literally do not care. That’s part of fighting too, saying ‘shut up, fuck off, I don’t care’.
Another guy once posted [abuse] on my Facebook page, so I blocked him. Then he messaged me on my personal account, and kept going and going; then said he was ‘worried about my anger problem’?! Fuck off – you’re my problem!
Do you know when it will be released?
Definitely 2016 – hopefully about August/September.
Have you finished writing it?
[laughs] I’m just about to start writing it. I sent a raw proposal – obviously the content and idea is so current right now; there’s a fever for it. I got lucky!
With all the shit that happened recently with your Sunrise photo, and the abuse you faced online – do you feel like that’s what made you determined to write a book?
I’d actually already put the proposal in when all that was happening! It’s something that’s been in the works for a while. It may have helped publishers realise that the time was right. I think the mood of the country has changed recently; women are becoming more empowered anyway, and they want to read something that reassures them that there’s nothing wrong with the way they feel, and also tells them something new about where they can go from here.
ICYMI, Clem’s announcement of her debut book:
I have a very, very exciting announcement to make. This afternoon, my fantastic agent and I accepted an offer from…
Fight Like A Girl will be released late 2016.
Title image via Facebook