‘Look at her, what a slut.’
‘You sicken me you vile scum’
‘Whore, fat bitch – you should kill herself’
‘Feminazi. Man-hater.’ ‘It’s really a shame that a man wasted sperm on a low life cunt like you! Should’ve masturbated into the toilet’
In the face of these and worse insults, Clementine Ford doesn’t back down. Whether online or in person, she defends herself and others, speaking out against rape culture, mental health issues, gender inequality and many more issues. Tackling those who attempt to shame and silence her, has exposed her to accusations of trolling herself. Manipulating social media, she publicly names and shames even if it means she may be banned.
‘Raise voices, raise courage, raise the flag’ demands the front cover of her 2016 book, Fight Like A Girl. This feminist manifesto has not been designed to soothe and provide answers but to anger and inspire. It’s bright orange title reigniting the fire of feminists many generations past. “It’s not about being fearless but forging onwards despite the fear. It is fear that keeps women quiet and controlled,” she explains. Whether preaching from a YouTube TED talk or posting to her Tumblr account, Feminist Killjoy to the Stars, Clementine attacks her subjects with intelligence and common sense, dosed liberally with humour.
Born in Adelaide in 1981, it was not until Clementine undertook a gender studies course that she found her driving direction. In a world where one third of women experience some form of sexual assault in their lifetime, Clementine stands as a beacon, pointing out the obvious, yet oft-ignored, problem of entrenched male entitlement.
Like so many other creatives in this age, she combines writing with other money-making activities such as working the kitchens of her local café. Smashed avocado with a side order of feminist treatise anyone? Leaning back against the range between breakfast orders, her open smile darkens as she explains the prospect of changes to America’s healthcare system that will designate rape as a pre-existing condition for which state sponsored healthcare will not be available. Looking down milk clings to the edge of the latte glass in her hand, as she takes a pause. Is it the weight of the topic I wonder. She raises the glass to her lips, tests the temperature of the coffee and drinks it anyway.
As a new mother, she is no doubt used to cold beverages.