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Feminist Fight Club

A Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace

By Jessica Bennett
10-minute read
Audio available
Feminist Fight Club: A Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace by Jessica Bennett

Feminist Fight Club (2016) sheds new light on the rampant sexism in the workplace and equips women with the tools to take down everything from mansplainers to personal feelings of self-doubt. It draws on modern-day examples as well as historical perspectives to illustrate how feminists can help in the fight for a more gender-balanced world.

  • Women who want to build their careers
  • Men concerned about the difficulties their female colleagues face
  • Women dealing with sexism at work

Jessica Bennett, a contributing journalist and columnist for the New York Times, writes about gender and culture. She graduated from the Newswomen’s Club of New York with honors and has received awards from the New York Press Club and GLAAD.

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Feminist Fight Club

A Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace

By Jessica Bennett
  • Read in 10 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 6 key ideas
Feminist Fight Club: A Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace by Jessica Bennett
Synopsis

Feminist Fight Club (2016) sheds new light on the rampant sexism in the workplace and equips women with the tools to take down everything from mansplainers to personal feelings of self-doubt. It draws on modern-day examples as well as historical perspectives to illustrate how feminists can help in the fight for a more gender-balanced world.

Key idea 1 of 6

In general, male employees engage in sexist activities that affect their female counterparts’ chances and autonomy at work.

Remember when Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Music Video Awards, saying that her prize should’ve gone to Beyoncé? It may have appeared that Kanye was simply advocating for another woman, but if we take a closer look, we can see that something else was at play.

Men often dominate women with words, forcing them into silence. This is exactly what Kanye did when he literally took the mic out of Taylor’s hands.

Thankfully, there are ways for women to fight against these verbal maneuvers.

When you find yourself in a situation with a man who interrupts you as you’re trying to speak – these guys are known as manterrupters – you should just keep talking. Then, call him out and suggest to your boss that no-interruption policies be established in the workplace.

Another common situation is when a man takes credit for something a female employee has done. These men are called bropriators and, to handle them, women need to rightfully claim credit for what they’ve done; learn to speak with confidence and stand up for other female coworkers who aren’t getting the credit they deserve.

Men should also be called out whenever they start mansplaining. This is when a man explains something to a woman in a condescending manner. When this happens, women should point it out and stop the “explanation” as quickly as possible.

But dominating women by verbal means isn’t all men do. Men belittle women nonverbally, too. Here are some typical examples: expecting women to go on coffee runs, and assuming they’ll take notes during group sessions and clean up afterward. These expectations are demeaning because they lower women’s perceived value in the workplace. To fight this, women simply need to refuse such requests.

In addition to verbal and nonverbal tactics, men also tend to attribute the legitimate feelings of women to biology. This is condescending and shouldn’t be tolerated.

For example, when a woman feels upset, men will often say the same thing: she’s on her period. To fight this catchall assumption, women can get in the habit of telling men what’s actually causing them distress.

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