PSA: It’s Women in Medicine month. I would be completely remiss if I didn’t have at least one feminist post this month.
And a warning: Have you heard of Feminist Fight Club (FFC)? No? I’ll warn you that there’s some salty language over there, so if you’re easily offended it may not be for you. That said, it’s a how to guide for fighting sexism with plenty of data. It’s my current read, and I’m loving it. It’s also providing me with some inspiration.
Before you question if there’s a need in surgery and in medicine for something like FFC, I assure you that there still is. Although women have been half of all medical students for a decade or more, our gains in academia and leadership simply aren’t matching the numbers there- and it’s not simply a time decay phenomenon. Women enter academics at a lower rate, and our attrition rates are higher. Even with our equivalent levels of training, we are paid less. These are all simple facts. So, yes, while FFC isn’t written about careers in medicine, it’s no less applicable in our professional world.
Bennett divides her stories and facts into a few key areas:
- Know the enemy (for the record, it’s patriarchy, not men in general)
- Know yourself
- Booby traps (a/k/a “
- Get your speak on
- F you, Pay me
- WWJD- What would Josh (a really average white guy) do?
Interestingly, several of these concepts, particularly those around effective communications, align with key features of Executive Presence, which were published in a more “formal”/ professional manner.
One of the bits in Feminist Fight Club that resonated the most with me was one of the ground rules for Bennett’s group- no mean girls. We are all in this together, and if we’re busy fighting with you, we can’t get the work done. You’re a distraction. If you’re a mean girl, we’re still fighting the patriarchy on your behalf. We’re just not including you in our meetings about how we’re getting it done. Work this important requires a drama-free zone.
I’m going to borrow Bennett’s questions that she includes as discussion topics for a Feminist Fight Club meeting, and I’m going to encourage you (reader) to think about them, to develop your own set of responses. Note: Men and Women both welcome to play!
- Where do you want to be in 5 years?
- What’s your biggest pet peeve at work?
- What career goals do you have, and who can help you to achieve them (include yourself on the list!)?
- When is the last time you were proud at work? Why?
- (For those who read the book) Try out a FFC ninja move, keep notes on how it worked, and report back to some like-minded friends. Guys, you also have FFC ninja moves that start on Page 239. We’re all in this together.
You’re not crazy. It is real. And being aware of it is the first step to solving the problem.
Apropos of nothing at all: The best piece of advice appears on page 103- Take the nap.