Episode 4: Clementine Ford (part 1)

May 18, 2020

Podcast transcript

Transcript

Clementine Ford Brazen interview Part I

Susie: Hello, Kia Ora, Susie Ferguson here. Welcome back to another episode of Brazen. Thank you for showing up as we’re trying to find a bit of a new normal. Happy end of lockdown. I hope you and your bubble are doing ok.

We’re still on a bit of a weird timetable here, we haven’t yet righted ourselves. We did though want to share this conversation with you as soon as we could.

Like the last one, we’ve made a few sacrifices in the audio department. I’m still recording in my home studio…blanket fort. But the content, as I hope you’ve come to expect by now is excellent. And today that excellence is guaranteed because I’m joined by none other than Australian feminist icon Clementine Ford.

I don’t think you can find a more Brazen babe than Clem.

 In fact we had so much to talk about, we’ve turned this episode into a two-parter. 

Clem’s a writer, broadcaster, public speaker, all round amazing human being really. Last year when we could still go out…going out, imagine that. It’s weird. I went and saw her live show and it absolutely blew me away.

We spoke really recently over Zoom, right before New Zealand’s move into Level 2 was announced, and I started by asking Clem if there was a particular moment when she began to identify as a feminist.

Clementine: I grew up, as so many of us do, without the language of feminism around me, but in an environment that, really if you were to kind of look at elements of it, you would say, well that’s feminist.

I grew up with parents who made sure that my sister and I believed that we could grow up to do anything as long as we did the dishes at home first. I was very interested in women’s rights and in the notion of equality – primarily because my first experience of inequality was in the home, and in the different ways that my brother was treated from my sister and I. And also that creeping sense as you enter adolescence and you start to become ‘a woman’, that creeping sense of danger in the air.

For me, luckily, I didn’t experience that danger in the home, but obviously a lot of girls do, and a lot of children do. But the creeping sense as I became more adult and I transitioned more into womanhood that all of a sudden I didn’t have any control over my life, and I didn’t have any control over my body, and I wasn’t supposed to have any control over these things.

That the protection that was afforded to me as a child, when it was made clear to me that if anyone touches you in a way that you don’t like then you come and tell us, that your body is your own, etc, etc, all of a sudden was – and I think this is the experience for so many of us – that as we become women, we sense that that protection has been suddenly withdrawn. That we’ve had the period that was allowed to us as children, and now we have to accept that we are women and our bodies are public property.

And that means that men can comment on them as they see fit, whether or not that’s positively or negatively, who’s to measure positive and negative there? But also that we have to tolerate it and we have to receive it willingly and without complaint.

And I was aware of that distinction suddenly being true in my life, and also my sense that if I didn’t fit in to that, or if I didn’t appeal to that in some way, that I was failing at whatever this woman was that I was supposed to be. So I had these feelings, but I also grew up in a time, this was the 90s, and I grew up in a time where the Riot Grrrl revolution of the 90s didn’t really come to my country high school in Adelaide. Or my state high school in Brisbane before that, or the seaside town that I lived in in England before that, even. So I never had the word feminist used to me in a positive way, and I associated it with all the negative connotations that have always been used as part of the backlash to try and sway women away from advocating for their own liberation and freedom.

And I would say things like, “well of course I believe in women’s equality”, because it was a good thing to believe in women’s equality, we all knew that. But I wouldn’t call myself a feminist. Because I also knew that calling myself a feminist was a way of saying that, a) I hated men, and b) I wasn’t a worthy woman.

But ultimately, and I think that this is part of the deep conditioning that so many of us experience, I was afraid that if I claimed the label feminist for myself, that men wouldn’t want to have sex with me. And the truth of the matter is that men didn’t want to have sex with me anyway. So I may as well have just have been a feminist, and been true to myself.

But you know, the aspiration to male approval is so much of what keeps women in service to patriarchy and in thrall to it. And I’ve been talking recently, in isolation I’ve been running a series of stories on my Instagram account where I cook dinner – I live alone with my son – and I cook dinner, but I also talk about feminism, and I deliver kind of kitchen feminist lectures. And one of the things I’ve been talking a lot about lately is the ways in which men and women are both co-opted into patriarchy to our own detriment and in ways that cause us harm, but that the functions of both of us within that system are obviously very different.

And one of the things that patriarchy requires in order to secure its own power and success is for men to bond together. They need men to be in solidarity with each other, and for men to circle the wagons around each other and become a uniform block, to protect whatever it is that patriarchy represents. But at the same time, in order for patriarchy to succeed and maintain its power, it needs to divide women. It cannot have women in solidarity in the same way that it requires of men, because women in solidarity are not in service to men, and not in the service of maintaining that system.

So one of the things I’ve been really trying to do lately is appeal to women to recognise not only that it causes them no real harm to have solidarity with each other, but that it actually also emboldens and empowers us. Because still so many women of all generations are still so deeply fearful of challenging patriarchy, and even gently challenging men on sexist behaviours or ideas, because of how the backlash will then be turned on them. Because the only way that we can minimise the harm that patriarchy does to us, and has for us, without removing it entirely, is to pretend that we love it.

Susie: And how does that work, or not work, for women in terms of, if they want to personally succeed in the world and their career and whatever their particular sphere is? I guess a lot of people would look at the situation and think, well, actually the quickest route here is just by looking out for myself and not looking out for other women. Or not looking out for other people along the way. So what happens with them?

Clementine: Well that’s true. And it’s absolutely reflective of the individualistic society that we live in, that we have to look out for number one. It’s also very, from my experience and the lessons that I’ve learned from reading indigenous women and from reading women of colour, it’s a very white approach.

The success of the individual services us more than anyone. And I think that we have to have some space to acknowledge that women choose a path through patriarchy that minimises harm to themselves. But oftentimes, that path exacerbates harm against others, and this is part of where the deep introspection needs to come from. Because yes, you can say, in order for me to succeed in this capitalist patriarchal society that I live in, I have to play the game. That’s how I get into the room, that’s how I get into the boardroom. But the problem is that that so often also supports the notion of the Official Woman. That there’s only one woman ever allowed, and she’s the Wendy, the carer, and as soon as there’s more than one woman, somehow there’s too many women. And women might be taking over. It’s really interesting,

I’m going to deviate slightly but stick with me listeners, I’m an avid fan of Survivor. I’ve been watching it since 2000. I’ve watched every single season. And people love to rubbish reality TV, bloody rubbish reality TV, and fine, that’s fine, you might not like to watch it. But one thing that those shows do very well is reveal exactly how humans operate with each other. And it’s very interesting to watch season after season of Survivor, where it’s a natural thing for men to team up together, no one ever questions it, I mean they may not always succeed but no one ever questions men working together because this is the natural order of things. But the moment women start to talk to each other or strategise, everyone begins to freak out that the women are forming an alliance, that the women are going to come after us, we’re going to be picked off one by one. And the reason I say this is because this is how people think of general society.

When Tony Abbott was Prime Minister and he was rightly criticised for assembling a cabinet of 19 men and one woman, and he said at the time that it wasn’t that he had prioritised men, it was that they were the best people for the job, and there were all these women knocking on the door of power but they weren’t quite there yet. So he assembled this cabinet, and Julie Bishop was the only woman in the cabinet, so she sort of really had to be there because she was also the deputy leader of the Liberal Party, he couldn’t exclude her, and at the time everyone who supported the Liberal Party and supported Tony Abbott of course offered the explanation, well it’s about merit. It’s fine for women to want these jobs, we shouldn’t just give it to them because they’re women, because of course if you’re a woman, or you’re a man of colour, or if you’re a disabled person, or anyone who sits in a marginalised group outside of white cisgender heterosexual man, then you must somehow be achieving based on tokenism and based on bloody political correctness gone mad, whereas men are always assumed to have succeeded on their own merits.

If Julia Gillard, meanwhile, had assembled a cabinet of even 16 women and three men, let’s say, but let’s say 19 women and one man, there is no way people would be coming out in support of her and saying well, obviously she’s just chosen the most meritorious people for the job. Not only would they say that this was a feminist conspiracy, that Julia Gillard was misandrist, trying to destroy the very fabric of Australian society, but they would also argue that how could 19 women possibly be able to represent all of the needs of the community.

Because again we just assume that the base level understanding of the world that we live in and the base experience of the world that we live in, is that which belongs to white cisgender straight men. Of class privilege.

Susie: Because they’re the default humans, right.

Clementine: Yeah, because they’re the default humans and everything else is Other.

Susie: One thing when you were talking about indigenous writing that you’ve been reading recently from women of colour, here we are, two white women talking to each other about feminism, how easy is it to have feminism, when it is white women doing it, fall over into white supremacy? And how to guard against that.

Clementine: I don’t know if the question “how easy it is” is the right question. I think the assumption should be that we always fall over into white supremacy. Because in the same way that, as white feminists we ask men to acknowledge their place in the system of patriarchy, and I say just because you don’t feel like you’re directly perpetrating the act of patriarchy, you need to understand that as a man you benefit from it. You all benefit from it.

So we as white women benefit from the structural system of white supremacy. It’s really easy for me to sit there and say that and sort of wave my flag of like, I know all the right words, but the next step of course is for me to actually put into practice recognising my place in the system of white supremacy and every day demanding of myself that I disrupt it. And there’s a fabulous writer called Ijeoma Oluo and she, her first book was called “So You Want to Talk About Race”. She’s a Seattle-based writer. And a few years ago I remember she tweeted something very simple, very short that your listeners can take away with them and that I’ve always held with me, and she said, “Look to where your privilege intersects with somebody’s oppression. That is the piece of the system that you have the power to help destroy”.

And I had a conversation with Faustina Agolley on my podcast yesterday where we did discuss the transaction of labour that so often is asked of, or even demanded of, people of colour from white people, but also white people who are like, “but I’m well intentioned”. And one of the things that Faustina recommended is that if we are interested, if we claim to want to be interested in examining our place in white supremacy and undoing our harm in white supremacy, then one of the things we can read and learn from and action is a book by Layla Saad called Me and White Supremacy. And it’s not just, as Faustina explained it to me, and I’ve ordered it now and I’m committed to going through the book, it’s not just a book that we can read and ruminate on the ideas. She says that it’s a workbook. It’s a 28-day program workbook that we can actually go through and change our behaviour from. And I guess that’s the point at which, if you’re feeling uncomfortable hearing that right now, or thinking I shouldn’t have to do that, why is this woman on the radio calling me racist, then we more than anyone need to be doing that work. Because it is not enough to claim, “well I’m a good person”, because the opposite of bad is not good, it’s neutral. So you might not be burning crosses on someone’s lawn, but it doesn’t mean that you’re not a racist.

Susie: And so I guess this is where I find the concept of patriarchy interesting. There are many ways, I guess. But lots of people will potentially be listening to this or will have heard people talk about patriarchy and just think, but how’s it real? How’s it a thing? I don’t see any obstacles it’s putting in my way, so how is this even a thing? Prove to me that there is patriarchy.

Clementine: Well one of the great things about patriarchy is that it’s invisible. It’s the air that we breathe, it’s like that great old kind of quip or joke about two fish swimming in the water, and one fish says to the other fish, “how’s the water today?”, and the fish says, “what’s water?” Because if it’s just the air and the gas that you’re moving through it’s very difficult sometimes for people to identify it. But there’s some clear things that we can say that indicate patriarchy is in existence, and patriarchy being a system of male supremacy over women and a celebration of male power and privilege at the expense of women, and often at the expense of other men as well.

So an example of patriarchy is one in three women in their lifetime will experience violence from a man. One in five girls over the age of 15 will experience sexual violence in her lifetime. Fewer than 2% of women who bring forward charges of rape will ever experience justice in the legal system. And on that last one in particular, if you’re the kind of person who says, “well he was found not guilty therefore he didn’t do it”, firstly, the number of false rape claims made is exactly on par with the number of false criminal charges laid anywhere else. Except for the fact that there’s also a number of reasons why a sexual assault complaint or a rape complaint for example will be deemed false, and one of those is if it’s dropped. And so many women choose to drop rape charges because the thought of going through a legal system that is inherently disposed against believing them is too much. And that is completely understandable.

So either you’re saying that you think 98% of those women who do bring forward rape complaints but do not find justice, that 98% of women lie. Or you think that there might be something deeply wrong with the legal system. Which is patriarchal in nature because it was created by men to service men for a long time, and for a long time only men were allowed to be jurors in a legal system.

One of the real problems about identifying patriarchy now is that ostensibly, on paper, we have a lot of legal rights that people can point to and say, well, it’s not against the law any more to continue working after marriage, so therefore how can we have a patriarchy? Or rape is illegal, so how can we have a rape culture? Or women are allowed to be politicians and allowed to vote now, and all of the ways that these things are framed as well, as if somehow we’ve been allowed to do these things that were actually just kept from us for so long.

Susie: And we should be grateful.

Clementine: Yeah, well when people say men gave women the vote, men didn’t fucking give women the vote. Women fought tooth and nail to get the political right that was theirs as humans. And on white supremacy, not all of the suffragettes fought for those rights for all women either. So that’s a part of our history that we need to acknowledge and remember.

Having a legal system in place that deems certain things unacceptable or against the law has never stopped those things from happening. And if you want to talk about the impact of patriarchy on men, the fact that men’s rate of suicide is so high is not because of feminism and its excesses. It’s not because women are leaving men. It’s not because they didn’t get a girlfriend. It’s because they live in a system that has told them that there is a very rigid way of being a man, and that seeking help for their mental distress is weak and that crying is weak, and that all of these things, there’s a very thin line between misogyny and homophobia. And the desire to not be seen as weak is really the desire to not be seen as female, or gay, or not manly somehow. That’s patriarchy. That’s not feminism.

Susie: So is that another symptom of patriarchy, that women get blamed for men’s violence as well. “She was asking for it. She was wearing too short a skirt, she was drunk”.

Clementine: Absolutely. Patriarchy is a system that benefits men in certain ways while taking away from them in others. But one of the main benefits that it offers them is we will exclude you from having to face any consequences for your actions against women. Because this is your entitlement. Because you own them, because they belong to you, because they should exist in service to you. And it’s very interesting, one of the complaints that I so often am met with whenever I talk about rape culture, and just to explain to anyone who is still a little confused by that term or maybe has not heard of it before, rape culture is not suggesting that we live in a world where boys are going to school and being taught explicitly how to rape and sexually assault women. Of course no one’s being explicitly taught to rape, but what we are all being explicitly and insidiously trained in as a society is how to make excuses for men when it happens. How to make it the woman’s fault. How do you manufacture a situation in which he couldn’t help himself, because the only forms of rape and the only rapists that a scary proportion of people in society are willing to accept as being those things is the trope that we’ve manufactured through movies and through pop culture that suggests that sexual assault is only real when it happens in a dark alleyway between two strangers, preferably where the rapist is some kind of miscreant living on the fringes of society.

It certainly isn’t something that in people’s minds can really be perpetrated by a boy who is good at sports, or beloved in his community, or wealthy or white or any number of things that provide protection and a buffer against him from having to face up to what he did. And I think that people should think very critically and very deeply about the fact that if their impulse in hearing stories about sexual assault is to ask what she did to invite it, or to deserve it, firstly the fact that anyone could think that there is a situation in which someone asked for it means that they think there are situations in which it is okay for men to sexually assault. That it’s okay for men to take what they want from women. And that he can’t really be blamed for it. And the very interesting irony about that is that it’s feminists like me and I assume like you Susie, who are accused of believing that all men are rapists and of painting men all with the same brush, and of reducing men to these stereotypes, when we should acknowledge that most men are good and decent and would never ever do anything like this to a woman. I’m sorry, but there is nothing that positions men as rapists looking for any opportunity more than the narrative and the defence of what did she expect.

Susie: Why is that media reporting always so often still tilted that way? You know, this nice family man who recently in Australia burned his family to death in a car. I should be clear, this is the Hannah Baxter case that we’re talking about, I realise I’ve not actually said that, but, yeah, this is the Hannah Baxter and her three children who were burned to death by her estranged husband.

Clementine: Hannah’s circumstance is one that, it would be very difficult for anyone to not think that that was monstrous. And he was reported as being, I think on the cover of a newspaper was called a mongrel. I don’t think that the good bloke media narrative would have been applied to him in particular, but I also think because of the efforts of feminists and agitators who are constantly calling out the media, and one of them in Australia is Jane Gilmore who runs the Fixed It project, and her book is called Fixed It and you should all buy it, but because of those efforts I think that there is more awareness in the media about what reporting guidelines around domestic abuse and domestic homicide should be.

But also more of a, I guess in a practical sense, a realisation that that kind of rhetoric doesn’t fly with the public any more. The problem isn’t that monstrous situation. The problem is all the other circumstances in which women are maybe not murdered by their ex-partners or men that they’ve been trying to leave, or men who are currently still torturing them.

It’s the women who are still alive and living in a system of abuse, in which they are afraid to leave because of the threat that he will kill her, because the most dangerous, I mean this is another example of patriarchy in action, when people say, well why didn’t she just leave? As if somehow she shares responsibility for the fact that a man made a choice to kill her. He didn’t lose control, he wasn’t driven to it. The circumstances of his life, whether or not he was depressed or not, are completely irrelevant, because if those things were indicators of violence then men would be going to work and beating up their bosses, or beating up their colleagues. They’d be escalating violence against their friends.

The fact that they choose to do it in private, against women who they need to feel power and control over in order to somehow fulfil their sense of masculinity is an indicator that they have control over their actions and that these are choices. What they are choosing to do is ignore their responsibility to be good humans and they are choosing to harm another person.

When people insist that women leave, or why didn’t she leave, they’re not taking into account the fact that the most dangerous time for a woman in a situation of domestic abuse is the period immediately after leaving, because this is the time when he’s most likely to kill her. But also that it’s structurally very difficult for women to leave situations that are violent towards them, but that also the society that we live in has set up to be disadvantageous to them.

So if a woman has children with a man and has taken some time out of the workforce, she’s financially less able to acquire and maintain independence from him. And financial abuse is part of the banner of abuses that men can exert over women in domestic abuse. So once you establish a system of order, i.e. patriarchy, all the laws in the world make it very difficult to upend it, unless every person is committed to that project.

Susie: There’s been some reporting here around what is happening regarding domestic abuse in the current lockdown situation. I remember seeing some figures fairly recently that said the police were getting as many calls about domestic abuse as they usually do, which in New Zealand is very high for an OECD country, but it was either a half or a third of the people were actually leaving. Which tells you that so very many more people are having to stay or feeling that they’re currently forced to stay. I wanted to talk a little bit about the pandemic and lockdown and how that is treating women. It would seem to me that an awful lot of the burden of childcare, of cooking, of cleaning, of what we maybe think of as the 1950s housewife, seems to be being vested on women who are also still trying to hold down a full-time job.

Clementine: Well exactly, because the space of the home has always been assigned to women.

Susie: Cause it doesn’t get put into GDP does it, so it doesn’t matter.

Clementine: No. Well this is the thing, is that Marilyn Waring’s work decades ago revealed that women’s unpaid labour, and of course women perform that absolutely bulk of unpaid domestic labour all over the world, and that their labour was not being categorised or considered as part of the GDP, and following Marilyn Waring’s work, some changes were made, but it’s still not included in the GDP, it’s just considered alongside it. When you don’t recognise the absolute economic impact being made by women and mothers and everyone charged with everything that is required to keep a world running and to keep the economy running, surprise, that is patriarchy!

This is one of the biggest insults that is levelled against women, is the assumption that domestic labour is a) easy, b) our job, and c) not really that important. What a way to maintain privilege and power and patriarchal disadvantage and oppression, by making women responsible for every single thing that is required to support male success. A fact came out last week about the number of women who are academics who are submitting papers during lockdown. Because of course, people who work in academia or people who are writers like, oh, isolation’s great, I’m going to get so much writing done. Men’s output in academia has gone up. Women’s has halved. Halved.

Susie: It’s a bit like that tweet that was going round at the beginning of lockdown about oh, you know, what are you going to do with your lockdown, you know, William Shakespeare wrote King Lear during the plague so this is your chance. And I remember commenting on, you know, everyone was retweeting this, and I commented on somebody’s retweet of it, and I went, I bet Shakespeare had childcare though.

Clementine: Well Shakespeare wasn’t even living with his wife at the time. She was in Stratford-upon-Avon and he was in London. But the other thing as well, someone tweeted, some guy tweeted at the start of the lockdown that if you come out of lockdown having failed to learn a language or picked up a new skill or written anything substantial, then you’ve wasted your time. Oh, the arrogance, the arrogance! Even before lockdown, lockdown has potentially highlighted these issues for a lot of women, but you only need to spend five minutes in any mothers’ group online to see the endless sharing of complaints about male uselessness. And I’m sorry if that word offends some men listening, although I’m not really sorry, and of course so many of you are going to be leaping to the not all men defence, or my wife and I are totally equal, well really? I’d be interested to speak to her about that. But the fact of the matter is that it’s not just the ranting of some misandrist feminist on a radio podcast that is saying this. This is backed up by statistics. This is backed up by the fact that women’s labour is not included in the GDP, but it’s also backed up by the Hilda Survey, which is a longitudinal survey in Australia that has for years been tracking domestic labour in the home. It’s not a conspiracy. This is the reality. So you can either confront the reality, and you can actually step up and be the men that you want credit for being, you can actually do the work that is involved in that, be present in your children’s lives, but actually, can we just put it down to what is at the heart of it in its most basic form, is that by not doing these things, by failing to support your wife or your partner, by failing to be a functioning, contributing equal member of the community of your household that you live in, you’re essentially day to day saying to the person that you’ve chosen to spend your life with, who has pledged to spend their life with you, who has probably had children with you and done all of the labour and the physical labour involved with that, you are saying to them, “I don’t respect you. I have no respect for you. Because if I did respect you I wouldn’t see you as being my entitlement. I wouldn’t see the labour you perform as being what I deserve, and I wouldn’t think that just saying, Oh love, I really appreciate you”, was enough. And don’t say, “Oh well I earn the money”, because in all likelihood she earns money too. You may earn more than she does, patriarchy, but how much money you’re bringing into the home will never, ever, ever pay her for the labour that she’s doing for you.

Susie: And she’s not there to serve you.

Clementine: No. If you wanted to marry your mother then you should have gone to therapy. And also, mothers, stop doing everything for your sons. Think very carefully about the example you’re setting for your children. This is the thing about kids, particularly little boys. Everyone loves to gender children, and say, oh, he’s such a typical boy isn’t he, such a typical girl. But they pick and choose what is convenient for them.

Susie: What is a typical boy? Cause I have one of each, and I’m yet to discover, I think I have two atypical children, yeah.

Clementine: I mean, a little boy plays with cars, and people will say, “he’s such a boy isn’t he?” Or a little boy pushes someone over, oh he’s just being a boy. Boys will be boys. And this is where these behaviours begin. It’s in how we treat differently children. Little girls are every bit as likely to be rambunctious as little boys and little boys are every bit as likely to be quiet and timid and fearful as little girls, because they’re children, and children are discovering who they are, and all children are different from each other. But if you respond to a little boy exhibiting traits that you perceive to be masculine, and encourage and celebrate those things while dismissing the ones that your perceive to be too “feminine”, then you create patterns later on that teach the child, this way of being secures acceptance for me, not just in the world that I live in, but from the people who are the most senior figures in my life and the ones that I rely on most for my self-esteem, my parents.

And this way of behaviour instils shame. And instils mockery from those around me. Any time you shame a little boy, for example, for liking pink or for liking dresses or for enjoying Frozen, whatever it might be, or you say, be a big boy and don’t cry, or boys don’t cry, or stop being like a little girl, or you run like a girl, any of this, you might think that you’re helping your son, you might think that you’re toughening him up for the world, ask yourself “why it is you need to toughen your son up to live in the world?” What does that say about the world that we live in and its demands and expectations of men? Also, ask yourself what safety and security you’re providing your child – not your son, your child – who is small, who looks to you for guidance but for unconditional love and acceptance of them. And when you teach that child that shame is a normal emotion in response to some of the things that they like, and that you, their parent, will be the one that makes them feel that shame, you are teaching them that they can’t trust you and you’re teaching them that there’s something wrong with them. And this shame is what underpins so much violence later on.

It’s the inability to express our emotions, to properly assess the way that we feel. Healthy men and healthy male behaviours, healthy masculinity, is a masculinity that is in touch with every spectrum of emotions on the scale, that doesn’t seek to denigrate or degrade other people in order to feel powerful and strong in itself because somewhere, once upon a time, they were taught that this is what men did. So my son has always been very interested in copying me, because kids like to copy their mother, and for a long time I was his primary parent, so they like to copy the person that they’re with most of the time. He picks up a broom when I pick up a broom. If I get the vacuum cleaner out he’s like, “Oo oo, can I do it?” And I’m not going to discourage him even though, you know he’s three, so he doesn’t do a great job just yet. But no one ever looks at a little boy vacuuming, or wanting to put the clothes in the washing machine and says, “Oh, he loves to clean doesn’t he, he’s just such a typical boy”.

So maybe we should stop thinking of what typical boys and girls are, and start thinking that our children need, more than anything, more than toys, more than money, definitely more than parents that stay together for their sake, because if you’re unhappy in your relationship or just unfulfilled or you feel like you’re fundamentally being disrespected, leave, if you can, safely, but what they need is to know that their home and their parents in particular will always be a soft space for them to land and a place that protects them. Regardless of who they are. Because the world outside will already do its best to instil shame in them, and it’s only through strong self-esteem being built up in the home, and acceptance and love no matter what, that they will develop the resilience and the confidence to be able to resist that shame.

Susie: That’s the incredible Clementine Ford. What an absolute inspiration, and what a brain! Now of course our conversation doesn’t end there. But it was so good, so full of insight that we’ve decided to cut it in half. So you can go grab a cuppa and a scone now. Then back settle in for part two now. It’s available right now in your podcast feed.

If you’re going to save the rest of that for later, maybe take a moment to subscribe to Brazen, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. In the meantime, keep visiting the website, brazen dot world, for more content. Until next time, stay safe, and stay brazen.

Brazen’s hosted by me, Susie Ferguson, and was created by me, Lou O’Reilly, Vic MacLennan, and David Cormack.

Brazen’s produced and edited by Melody Thomas, the engineering in this episode was by William Saunders.

The theme is Be Who You Are by Edie.

Artwork by Pepper Raccoon.

All transcriptions are done by Emma Hart.

Ka kite anō.

Episode 4: Clementine Ford (part 1)

Episode 4 is the the first half of a two-parter with Australian writer, broadcaster, public speaker and amazing feminist icon, Clementine Ford.

Part 1 sees Clem talk about how she became to identify as a feminist, the existence, or lack thereof, of a typical boy or girl and how men can be victims of the patriarchy too.

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