Monday, June 26, 2017

Feminist Fight Club: We fight patriarchy, not one another

I am not typically one for self-help books, but when I saw a copy of Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual (for a Sexist Workplace) by Jessica Bennett on sale I decided exceptions could be made.
The book opens by telling you there is no right way to read this book. Indeed chapters can be stand alone, with each section focusing on a single issue (Enemies at work, making yourself heard, getting paid) containing a number of chapters going into more detail ("The Enemy: The Bropropriator", "Verbal Tripwire: Hedging", "F You, Pay Me: Stop Making Excuses"). So if there's a particular issue you're facing and need some advice on, no need to read the whole thing to get the information. Or so says the intro. I read this front to back, so I suppose YMMV with the whole jumping around thing.

Bennett isn't taking on sexual harassment of the Mad Men style. Really, the book has a narrow focus of middle-class white collar women, mostly in their early-twenties through late-thirties, dealing with things like being interrupted at work, or assuming you will always be the one to take notes in the meeting. It's dealing with a subtle world of workplace sexism, something that Bennett was pretty up front with so I'm mostly OK with the narrow focus. My biggest complaint with the focus, even if you're going to stick with a certain economic class, is there is basically nothing for WOC or LGBTQ+ women.

With a title like Feminist Fight Club, you can probably tell that this is not going to be a serious and dry meditation on the issue of sexism in the workplace. It's instead an attempt to break things down into bit-sized pieces, making them funny and accessible to women just starting their careers. Per this, there are a lot of puns and portmanteaus ("womanifesto", "menstruhater", "slackluster", "herfectionist", I can go on cos there are so many) which, yeah, those can get tiring after a while. Bennett works for Sheryl Sandberg (of Lean In) fame and I think it's fair to say this is like Lean In filtered through Buzzfeed.

Overall, good for what it is, but it would have been nice if it was more.

Gif rating:
Title quote from location 1342

Bennett, Jessica. Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual (for a Sexist Workplace). Harper Wave, 2016. Kindle