We’ve all likely heard a friend, relative or stranger start a sentence with, “I’m not a feminist, but…” before they go on to state a blatantly feminist belief. In the twelfth grade, I was wary of calling myself a feminist, worried about being lumped in with women who hated men. I was already told over and over that I intimidated boys and worried that by adding ‘feminist’ to that, I would be isolating myself from any potential boyfriends or male friends – not to mention doing a disservice to the men in my family who were absolutely incredible.
Fast forward a few years and I had blossomed into the kind of woman who couldn’t fathom why anyone wouldn’t identify as a feminist – unless they were a truly horrible human. Then, I began to study intersectional feminism and started to believe why people may not wish to associate with it. Some forms of feminism are simply ‘on brand’ and use the word to sell products, while others refuse to acknowledge the rights of sex workers, the struggles of trans people, the difference in experience for women of colour and the disability rights in feminism. Feminism suddenly became inseparable from civil rights.
In the book, F-Bomb: Dispatches from the War on Feminism by Lauren McKeon, the author writes about women leaving feminism – but these are more-so anti-feminists than those who denounce white feminism or call for intersectionality. These are women who simply don’t believe in feminism. In a Q&A with Chatelaine, Lauren stipulates that we must listen to women who don’t identify with feminism so that we can learn how to make the movement more accessible.
“Lauren critiques feminism herself, pointing out the flaws that have caused divides.”
F-Bomb is a book situated on the ‘front lines of the war on feminism.’ This book isn’t simply another feminist manifesto – it digs deep into the reasons women are choosing not to be feminists, and calls for change both within feminism and in our larger world. Lauren is a seasoned non-fiction writer, holding an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of King’s College. She has written nationally and put in her time as a journalist, working in Northern Canada early in her career and recently by winning a Gold Magazine award. Her recent essay on #MeToo, published by The Walrus, has been shared widely and proves that her voice is just as loud outside of the pages of this book as it is inside it.
The timing of F-Bomb is impeccable – with the attack on women’s bodies in the United States, it seems like every day it becomes harder to denounce feminism, yet we see women constantly leaving it. Lauren discusses these issues with FeMRAs – female men’s rights activists – something that seems like a completely foreign concept in a book about saving feminism. She also critiques feminism herself, pointing out the flaws that have caused divides.
Well researched and engaging, F-Bomb isn’t a typical creative non-fiction or narrative book – it’s blunt, honest and well-researched. It’s the book to read on the current political climate. Regardless of the side you’re on, everyone will enjoy the discussion and should add the F-Bomb to their winter reading list.
Published in the Winter 2017 Issue. Get the issue in digital or print here.