Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett
I’m still so angry that I’m surprised I could focus long enough to finish this book. I started it right before the election, and finished it this weekend, in between quietly (I was visiting family) screaming at Twitter and just generally being pissed at how racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic and just plain shitty so many people are in this country.
But I digress.
This is a useful book right now, as we all know that the sexists who may have been thinly veiled already are starting to show their asses even more. It is focused specifically on workplace sexism, which is perfect because the rules of engagement in that arena differ from, say, figuring out whether you want to kick directly in the balls the man who grabbed your arm on a street corner. It’s a more challenging environment, because how you react to the sexism can ultimately hurt you. Which is bullshit, but still true.
Ms. Bennett breaks the book down into six sections: Know the Enemy, Know Thyself, Booby Traps, Get Your Speak On, F You Pay Me, and What Would Josh Do. Each section takes on a different component of workplace misogyny, describing the problem and then offering some realistic and varying ways of responding. She isn’t telling us that every solution will work each time; she’s helping us build our arsenal so that we have the right weapon to deploy at the right time.
I am lucky in that my actual office is not particularly sexist. My team is more women than men, my boss is a woman (and so is her boss, and her boss’s boss, who happens to also be the head of the agency). However, outside my workplace, I am in a field full of not just men, but a lot of men in traditionally ‘manly’ roles – police, fire, military – which can include some … let’s go with ‘outdated’ actions and statements. While I’m not looking forward to needing to use the advice in this book, I am looking forward to using it effectively.
I think this is a great gift book to any young woman in your life who is entering the work force, or any woman currently in the work force, or any man in the work force (because they need to know what we are facing).