As she attempts to appease her child’s cries, Clementine Ford says you can’t be a better feminist by being quiet.
“Just be engaged and be loud.”
The feminist, newspaper columnist and blogger rose to prominence by holding media personalities, sports commentators and internet ‘trolls’ accountable for their attitudes towards women.
Her experiences with everyday sexism, gender identity and reproductive health form the foundation of her new book Fight Like a Girl, which had its Tasmanian launch in Hobart this week.
At the launch, Ford handed her squirming baby to a member of the audience as she shared the challenges of travelling alone with a newborn child.
She urged people to adopt a “village mentality” towards child-rearing.
“A lot of women have a deep, real sense of anxiety about being separated from their child - I am very fortunate in that I don’t have that,” Ford said.
“Most people probably wouldn’t ask for help because they don’t feel comfortable or think it’s an imposition, but it should be an accepted practice.”
Ford’s feminist manifesto, Fight Like a Girl, calls on people of all genders to develop a feminist mentality and accept that while no one is perfect, everyone can try to be better.
Ford said the book had not been written with men in mind, but she had received a strong response from male readers.
“A lot of men have been reading it and coming to the launches and writing to me to tell me how it’s affected their outlook,” she said.
“I’ve certainly always extended an invitation to the men who abuse me online to actually come to an event and talk to me in person but none of them have ever taken me up on the offer.”
Ford is known to confront the men that swamp her online articles, blog and social media with comments criticising her feminist stance.
She said the online space was the new frontier for feminism.
“With the advent of social media and the way technology has taken over our lives it’s created so many more ways for misogyny to be expressed it’s impossible to ignore it anymore,” Ford said.
“But women around the world now have tools at their fingertips to call out that behaviour, which has really strengthened the force.”
Fight Like a Girl is out now through Allen and Unwin.