I’ve recently taken the plunge and decided to join a book club. For someone who genuinely enjoys reading, joining a book club just seemed like a natural progression – I’ll finally get book suggestions from other people besides my mother and I’ll get to engage in intellectually stimulating conversations with people I respect while hopefully eating cheese.
However, I decided before I put myself behind the closed doors of a New York City apartment, coffee shop, or bar to discuss the latest book club pick, I wanted to offer up my book club virginity to the LFCommunity with an open-ended piece on Jessica Bennett’s Feminist Fight Club.
I didn’t know how much I needed this book until I started reading it. And that’s part of the huge reason I wanted to write this piece – maybe you need it and you don’t realize it yet either. A topic discussed early on in the book, a conversation not lost on modern feminists, is the idea of “death by a thousand cuts.” What originated from a method of torture and murder in China up until the early 1900s (thank you Google) is now an accurate description of sexism in (and out) of the workplace today. We’re no longer dealing with blatant, in-your-face, gender inequality, for the most part. We’re dealing with the small (for lack of a better word), sometimes inexplicable and therefore always made to make you feel out of sorts, “cuts” – you know the kind that maybe you can’t always see but definitely hurt like a bitch? They may not be visible but they always let you know that they are there – sort of like a paper cut but also sort of like an older male coworker who randomly insults other people’s spouses to get laughs in the office.
So maybe all of these tiny things are happening and instead of you realizing they’re there, you’ve deemed yourself as not fit for the environment you’re in or hypersensitive or even my personal favorite: crazy. Hence why you need this book!
One of the issues Bennett addresses is the phobia (whether it be irrational or backed up by facts) women have that there’s one less spot for us if there’s another successful woman added to the equation. I can tell you right now, my brother doesn’t sit home and worry about a male coworker beating him out for a promotion. He may worry about another coworker, *gender unnoted*, beating him out for a promotion, but it is never gender specific. Reading this book reminded me of the importance of standing up for other women, instead of tearing them down. I was talking about this idea last night with a lawyer – she said that she feels like she’s really still in a boy’s club. So, before their yearly retreat, all of the women get together for a dinner the night before and make a pact – if any woman suggests a great idea that goes ignored, but then is re-suggested, and praised, by a male, they were going to make a point to remind everyone who really suggested it.
There’s a section at the end of the book that I think is really crucial to the fight. Throughout the book, Bennett provides solutions for problems like mansplaining, manterruptions, and menstruhaters; however in this section, she provides suggestions for ways that men looking to get involved in the cause can help. While LFC is currently by women for women, I’ve always envisioned the future of LFC to include men. I really believe you can’t change a conversation with only half of the people involved present. I’m not sure how I want to do this, and I’m not sure when, but I do think it is an important next step to find a way to broaden the LFCommunity to include more non-female-identifying members.
So LFCommunity, if you take anything away from my somewhat nonsensical rambling at all, I hope it’s that: 1. Enlist everyone you can to join the Feminist Fight Club; no need to be gender specific and 2. Try and join a book club that provides you cheese during meetings.