Clementine Ford

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Clementine Ford

Emma Watson’s UN speech might have sparked conversations about equality, and while this was a one-off for the actress, advocating change is something Clementine Ford does on a daily basis. While Emma’s speech was created for a specific event, everything Clementine does originated from a much more organic process. Once she was aware of the inequality in Australia, she began calling herself a feminist and advocating for social change.
“I kind of realised after I started studying it that the reason I was afraid to call myself a name, which basically just meant that I was interested in women’s equality and how society had made that into a dirty thing, was more reason than ever to claim the title for myself,” Clementine says.
The wariness of labelling yourself as a feminist seems to be something that many supporters face, and since Clementine has come to terms with the title herself, she’s advocated to try and reduce the stigma connected to it, amongst other things.
“People talk about rebranding it and changing it and how that will somehow solve feminists’ image problem,” she says.
“There will always be a backlash against it. You could call it Sparkle Motion Glitterhand and people would be like, ‘Ooooh those Sparkle Motion Glitterhander’s, they’re just really angry all the time!’ So it’s not about the word but what the movement is trying to do. You can’t create social change without a lot of people becoming very uncomfortable.”
Changing people’s opinions enforced into them by society is a hard task, yet it’s something that Clementine is achieving one mind at a time via her posts on social media, columns and public appearances.
It certainly helps that throughout it all Clementine has maintained her personal connection to the issue, even going as far as sharing her own stories when many in the public eye would shy away from such an act. Recently Clementine spoke out about abortion rights and her personal experience.
“Just being able to control our bodies is key. If you actually know anything about abortion figures, unsafe abortion is one of the top five killers of pregnant women worldwide, and it’s 95 per cent preventable,” Clementine says.
“It’s also been demonstrated by health organisations that when you provide women around the world, they are safer, they are healthier and they create better communities because they are empowered to have families that are the size they want to have.”
Sharing such personal stories and voicing them so strongly does open you up to a lot of criticism, though with every negative comment Clementine receives, there’s a handful fighting alongside her.
“This sounds really silly but I feel like the whole Jedi thing where they basically put their hands up and when rubbish gets sent to me I’m like (imitates force field sound). It’s ridiculous, but I feel like I’m dealing with children,” she says.
Despite the personal attacks, Clementine will continue to educate men and women on the misjudgement of feminists and the lack of understanding when it comes to equality between the sexes.
“We can be beautiful women and participate in every element of the patriarchy and we can still be feminists, and that’ll hopefully encourage all women to join in on the feminist movement,” Clementine says.
When&Where: Deakin University – November 9 & Geelong West Town Hall – November 13
By Amanda Sherring