Lauren McKeon gives us an in-depth view of feminism as it stands today in her book F-Bomb, looking at the emergence of new and popular anti-feminist groups, as well as the reason for women to leave the movement over the past decade. McKeon herself has been a feminist since her teens, a lot like me really, and has been an active and popular feminist writer in Canada for many years now, and adds her own personal account of how she has seen the movement splinter from the inside.
F-Bomb gives us an accurate and in-depth description of the issues that feminism faces today: terrible press, misinformation, lack of diversity, exclusive, online “schooling”, superiority from those who have “been around the block”, emergence of actual anti-feminist groups who sing a pretty song, etc. F-Bomb starts off with showing us that the movement will continue to lose both respect and view of concrete goals, as well as a continued mass exodus if we don’t focus on the core internal issues at hand.
McKeon isn’t scared of digging deep into her research, and I love that all of her points are backed up with real facts, as well as personal interviews with feminists, anti-feminists, and those in between. She does a great job with turning the anti-feminist and MRA movements inside out, and showing how they are able to take a narrative that seems pretty logical and sympathetic, and twist it, which is probably why they have gained so much appeal over the past few years. I have personally always dismissed the anti-feminist crowd as slightly stupid, but this actually showed me why so many people have jumped on the bandwagon. And while, yes, it will never be something that I will jump on, McKeon’s research really does point out that the holes in today’s feminism are much more glaring and large than I could see for myself.
I love that she brought up my biggest pet peeve with feminism, that of it often appearing as an exclusive club that only middle-class white women can join (and I have written about this before), drilling down to the absolute importance of intersectionality within the movement if it wants to stay alive and flourish. I also loved how McKeon took a whole chapter to discuss motherhood and feminism, and brought up all of the dualities that come with being a mother and a feminist. Again, I have no issues being both, but I can understand why a lot of women leave feminism behind when they become mothers, and McKeon makes some seriously excellent points.
After looking in the issues with feminism today in the first two parts, McKeon uses the third and last part of her book to show us what can change, and how we can help make the necessary changes needed to ensure that we continue to fight collectively for equal rights, against violence and abuse, and for an all-around better world for everyone. McKeon brings up the Women’s March, and shows that the next generations will be more inclusive and open to change, and there is a lot of hope in her tone. I did find that while F-Bomb did a great job researching all of the issues feminism faces today, there were no real concrete solutions in the final research (not that I was really looking for any anyway, I think looking at the issues gives a good example of where we need to work harder). So if you are looking for McKeon to tell you what you need to do, she doesn’t, but it should be pretty self-explanatory.
McKeon has a very specific style of writing: witty, funny, a little tongue in cheek. It sometimes sounds like she’s talking to you, which can get a little too much at times. I did find the book a little tough going in the beginning, but once I got used to how McKeon writes and gets her point across it’s actually pretty enjoyable. F-Bomb is a really well-researched, interesting book that brings home a lot of important points. I appreciate that this is not the only book that digs into the issues that feminism continues to face, but it does a great job showing all sides of the picture.
F-Bomb is pretty eye-opening, from trying to understand the women who loudly and proudly claim they are anti-feminist, to hearing what high school girls today think about feminism and the issues girls and women are still grappling with. It made me sad, angry, hopeful and proud all at the same time. I also really liked the emphasis that McKeon put on making modern feminism intersectional!
*Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC, provided by the author and/or the publisher in exchange for an honest review.