Feminism. This word can be divisive. Many people place different definitions and connotations on it. Some people think feminism means a feminist hates men. There are so many thoughts (some conflicting) about this word.
For me, I define feminism as equality of the sexes. Period.
This doesn’t mean hating men or bashing them, it means empowering men to celebrate and lift women up. It means women celebrating each other and fighting for what is right. It means men joining in on this fight and using their male privilege to benefit women.
Jessica Bennett, the author of Feminist Fight Club (FFC)*, sees feminism the same way. She defines a feminist as “a person who believes in equality between men and women.”
FFC is a must read for anyone in the working world — both men and women. The work of equality requires both men and women (not only women) to fight the good fight, to fight the patriarchy.
Bennett defines the patriarchy as a system that was created by and for men. From language to your office temperature, she makes it abundantly clear that every man is not a part of this system, but the system was created to benefit men.
Why do we have to care about equality you ask?
Research consistently shows that we are lacking women in significant leadership roles (C-suite positions) and on corporate boards.
Women graduate at higher rates but are not in leadership roles at even the same rate as men. And let’s not even begin to look at the statistics for women of color. The data is clear.
Feminism matters and this is another reason why men have to be a part of the conversation and a part of this work. Women can’t do it alone, but we have to fight the patriarchy and we have to have the proper tools in our toolkit to do it. Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett helps give us the tools to get us to equality.
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So… what is the Feminist Fight Club (FFC)?
It is an alliance among women to empower each other to rule the world. It is your girl gang, your posse, your crew. The group of women who not only have your back but also are your encouragers and cheerleaders. They’ll help you reach your personal goals.
The work of feminism and fighting the patriarchy is hard, so you need a fight club. Once you have this, you need to read FFC together.
Below I will outline some general lessons and reasons why you should read the book (no worries, no spoilers).
- FFC is a manual for both men and women. It shows the reader some of the behaviors you will see from certain men and systems and what to do to fight those behaviors and move up the ladder. Whether you are in the corporate world, the nonprofit world or are an entrepreneur, this book is a must read.
- One of the things I love most about this book is how it validates the beliefs of women. As a working woman, it can be hard to know if you are alone in the fight and if you are going completely crazy. When you are interrupted by a man or when you say something in a meeting and when a man repeats it and is acknowledged, are you crazy? Did anyone else notice that? This book validates that you are not alone and that you are not crazy. The book is backed by research, so we know we are not alone.
- Another great reason I love this book is because it teaches the reader how to change the way you think as it relates to these issues. The book teaches you how to change your structure within your organization to empower women. It also teaches women how to change the way they think and speak in the business environment.
One chapter focuses on imposter syndrome which I know some of you may deal with (I know I do). Some examples of imposter syndrome include:
- being sure you will fail
- feeling like a fraud
- underestimating your experience
- devaluing your worth
I know I have dealt with all of them and according to Bennett, some famous women have too. Tina Fey, Michelle Obama, and Meryl Streep are a few that are discussed in the book. To know that they have experienced and overcome imposter syndrome helps me to know I can too.
Get your copy here: Feminist Fight Club*
Other topics that are discussed include office attire, ‘manterrupter’ and the mansplainer. Bennett tells us what these things are and how to fight them. The book infuses facts and stories to help teach us and make the point.
In addition to reading it and sharing it with your crew, I would recommend sharing it with your supervisor or others in your office. This fight is a massive one, so the more people you can involve from your organization, the better.
Have you read this book yet? Let us know your thoughts and what lessons you have learned? We would love to know! Tweet us at @gen_twenty or @sharpjes to let us know what you think!