Clementine Ford On Finding The Love In It All

Photo by Sarah Enticnap
Clementine Ford
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With her no-holds-barred approach over the years to calling out toxic masculinity and misogyny, Clementine Ford has become known as the most famous feminist of Australia.
But the 40-year-old says she never asked to be slapped with the polarising label that hones in on her outspoken and unapologetic nature when discussing gender politics despite the online trolls or media backlash.
"To be very clear, I have never claimed that title for myself," she told Refinery29 Australia. "Nor have I ever sought it out."
The Melbourne-based writer acknowledged that in "mainstream circles, there's a lot of truth" to that "weird title". "I've definitely made myself be one of the more visible and loud ones," she said, "But I feel uncomfortable.
"I feel uncomfortable with being reduced to that because it shouldn't just be one voice... We need to be paying attention to the other robust feminist voices that are out there using their own spaces and platforms to create change."
Speaking of change, that's exactly what Ford did in her approach to writing her latest book, How We Love. The memoir is a stark contrast to her 2016 bestseller Fight Like a Girl, and her follow-up book released two years later, Boys Will Be Boys which doubled down on the patriarchy and toxic masculinity.
How We Love steers clear of the divisive politics she's been famed for delving into and instead exposes a private, softer side to the mother-of-one complete with recollections of becoming a mother, losing her own mum, dating misadventures and the harsh reality of social media fame.
"It does give a completely different picture [of me] and it speaks to universal experiences of love and grief," she said of the new release.
Not only is the content more intimate, but the process of writing the book was more personal and a welcome change from the emotionally draining way in which her previous projects were put together.
Photo by Sarah Enticnap
Clementine Ford
"In many ways, it was so nice to not spend so much time in really toxic research holes," said Ford. "Especially when I was writing Boys Will Be Boys, there was a lot of stuff in that book but that I would come home at the end of the day and just feel almost numb and empty."
Ford recalled spending days reading up on structural misogyny, how the patriarchy "inflicts damage on boys and wanting to protect them" and looking into "sports heroes who have done terrible harmful things to women and gotten away with it".
Moving away from these heavy issues opened the door for exploring more intimate narratives but it also came with feeling more exposed.
"I felt like this book was so much easier to write in so many ways because I didn't have to spend all that time wading through the toxic hellhole," she explained.
"But it feels so much more vulnerable to release it into the world because essentially what you're doing is you're not hiding behind any of that research and you're saying... I'm going to stand in front of your house naked and bare my soul to you and hopefully you'll find it moving but also a bit funny."
Needless to say, there's a lot more Australia is about to learn about its most famous feminist.
How We Love is now available to purchase here.
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