“Fem-i-nist Fight Club / n. Your crew, your posse, your girl gang; your unconditionally helpful professional support system; your ride-or-die homies.”
Given I am a working woman, I figured I needed to read Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual For A Sexist Workplace by Jessica Bennett at some point, even if it was only to see what it was about without serious expectations. Even if I was not suffering in my workplace. I felt like there would be at least one thing I could learn from this book, even if it was small.
I was right.
I did learn about a number of different behaviours you are likely to see in the workplace, both if you are a woman and if you are a man. I had never thought about some of these behaviours before, but I recognize quite a few of them, both from personal experience in my past, in stories from friends, and yes, in movies too. I quite enjoyed how the author chose to give the examples of the behavior as well as what you could do to help mitigate the situation, improve your standing, et cetera.
One of my favourite parts of this book was the piece talking about the “I think” language. Well, not necessarily “I think” but all about the language making it seem as if we are unsure about what we are saying, about our abilities, and overall just making us seem insecure. This has definitely taught me something. I know I use this type of language a lot, both in and out of work, which could theoretically be hampering my progress. This is my major takeaway, since I can adapt it beyond the specific examples given in the book.
Of course, Feminist Fight Club is not without its flaws. I often find myself a stickler for grammar and proper language, so some of the terms I have only ever seen in this book ruffled my feathers slightly. In addition to this, I also feel like some of the writing made it seem…harsh? I am all for equality between genders, but I also find it tough to determine if you are actually hiring someone for their talent free of any bias, or if the drive for equality actually goes too far. For instance, there is a piece in the book talking about only forwarding resumes belonging to women. Why? I understand the desire to hire more women, particularly in power positions, but by only ever forwarding one gender’s resumes, you are still acting in bias. I do not know if there is a perfect solution to this, but there has to be something better. Perhaps you receive 20 resumes: 10 from women, 10 from men. If you could only forward on 10 people, maybe the solution is to choose the top five women and the top five men? It would not always be that cut and dry…but still. Moments like this one in the book make me take most of its advice with a grain of salt, even if there is quite a bit of merit.
I also found some of the language could be taken as a little too black and white in terms of who falls into which gender or sex. Not necessarily always, but a few moments did seem potentially problematic in my mind.
So, even with the flaws in Feminist Fight Club taking things a little too far, at least in my book, it is definitely worth the read for anyone in the professional world (both women and men). I would recommend, of course, to take things with a grain of salt as I have, but there is still quite a bit of useful information in the book.
If you have read it already, or once you have read it after this review, I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you agree with my sentiment about forwarding resumes? What about the words they make up? What one piece of advice are you going to take away from this book? You are also free to share any other thoughts you might have. I look forward to hearing from you!
Title: Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual For A Sexist Workplace
Author: Jessica Bennett
Publisher: Harper Wave