While many people gripe and grouse about Clementine Ford and her viciously vocal way of discussing a handful of evils of this world (of which there is an abundance), I will calmly say that you need to chill out and actually listen to what she’s saying, because this is a woman who is determined to talk about and make us acutely aware of things that a (rapidly) poisoning society and the world in which we live.
Those charming Disney messages of happy endings, dreams come true, and love and happiness always wins the day are evaporating fast and being replaced with messages of gender inequality, racism, sexism, and all things evil, poisoning us from our very roots until we grow up to be twisted and gnarled. This is exactly what Ford tackles in her latest piece of non-fiction, Boys Will be Boys.
Beginning with the divisionary messages we get from early childhood (everything from gendered clothing, toys, and movies) through to the misrepresentation and violently skewed gender gaps and inequalities in industries such as comedy, education, law, and everything in between, Boys Will be Boys is a powerful and hugely important piece of literature that EVERYONE needs to read because, seriously, if we cannot learn these lessons and grasp the weeds of toxic masculinity at their roots, how the hell can we expect to survive in a garden that’s become completely poisoned?
Having read and loved Fight Like a Girl, I was very keen when this book came out. What I expressly love about Clementine Ford is that her work is heavily grounded in fact (cold, hard, terrifying fact), and while she writes in a way that is quite intellectual, she injects various levels of personality into the text in the form of her own unique vocabulary (‘cockjangle’ is a particular favourite of mine) as well as a few of her own anecdotes and experiences. This blend of academia and autobiography is wonderful because it makes the book feel less like reading a textbook and more like having an intelligent discussion with someone who is very passionate about the topic.
If I have to say something negative, it would be that (about midway through) the book takes a turn into some scary darker territories (i.e. toxic masculinity within the realms of law, and rape culture) and there is a long stretch were every page contains content that slowly starts to weigh down upon your soul. There is more humour and lightheartedness at the beginning, and while the central content is horrifyingly relevant to where we are right now, it’s a bit of a hard reading experience to push on through without any real payoff at the end.
Sadly though, this is the world we currently live in; and you could argue that the reading experience of Boys Will be Boys, while being eye-opening for the ignorant or unaware, is a solid reflection of the feelings of so many people and therefore an example of just how powerful the book is!
You all need to read this!
Boys Will be Boys is the second book from Clementine Ford. It’s published by Allen & Unwin and hit shelves about a month ago.