Shortlisted, 2018 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize
From pop icons to working mothers, women are abandoning feminism in unprecedented numbers. Even scarier, they are also leading the charge to send it to its grave. Across North America, women head anti-feminist PR campaigns; they support anti-feminist politicians; they're behind lawsuits to silence the victims of campus rape; they participated in Gamergate, the violent, vitriolic anti-women-in-technology movement; and they're on the frontlines of the fight to end abortion rights. Everywhere we turn there's evidence an anti-feminist bomb has exploded, sometimes detonated by the unlikeliest suspects. Between women who say they don't need feminism and women who can't agree on what feminism should be, the challenges of fighting for gender equality have never been greater.
F-Bomb takes readers on a witty, insightful, and deeply fascinating journey into today's anti-feminist universe. Through a series of dispatches from the frontlines of the new gender wars, Lauren McKeon explores generational attitudes, debates over inclusiveness, and differing views on the intersection of race, class, and gender. She asks the uncomfortable question: if women aren't connecting with feminism, what's wrong with it? And she confronts the uncomfortable truth: for gender equality to prevail, we first need to understand where feminism has gone wrong and where it can go from here.
Lauren McKeon was the editor of Canada's progressive, independent This Magazine from 2011 to 2016. While at This, Lauren helmed one of the bestselling issues in recent years, "Why Canada Need More Feminism," and also organized a sold-out event on the topic, which headlined a diverse, intersectional roster of speakers. Before leading "This," Lauren worked as a reporter, editor and writer in the North for several years, living in Yellowknife and travelling Canada's territories and northern Alberta.
Today, she is the digital editor at The Walrus and a contributing editor at Toronto Life, where she wrote about her experiences with sexual assault in 15 Years of Silence. In response, Lauren has heard from dozens of women around the world who've shared their own experiences — some for the first time — and was prominently featured in the documentary PTSD: Beyond Trauma, which aired in January 2017 on David Suzuki's The Nature of Things.
Lauren's personal essays, which tackle the world and her experiences through a not-so-rosy feminist lens, have twice been featured on Longreads.com, a popular site dedicated to "helping people find and share the best storytelling in the world." Her long-form writing has won her several Canadian National Magazine Awards, including four honorable mentions, one silver, and in 2015, a gold in the personal journalism category for her Toronto Life piece "Save me From My Workout."
Lauren writes for Hazlitt, Flare, Reader's Digest, and TVO.org. One of her essays also appears in Best Canadian Essays 2017.
"Now comes F-Bomb, in which Lauren McKeon ventures to interview and understand women vociferously against feminism. It gets ugly, but she handles it with aplomb. "
— David Wineberg
"F-Bomb isn’t a typical creative non-fiction or narrative book — it’s blunt, honest and well-researched. It’s the book to read on the current political climate. "
"However you define feminism, read this book. McKeon’s chronicle of our collective Conditions of Persistence reveals the ravages of exclusion, organized opposition, and denial. This compassionate airing of our failings clears the ways forward. Race, privilege, gender, sexuality; the work to be done, your invitation to the conversation, is here. "
— Karen Walton, screenwriter, <i>Orphan Black</i>
"F-Bomb is a wonderfully uncomfortable peek into the lives and perspectives of folks who need to be seen, heard, and understood for the good of the feminist movement. McKeon mixes deep introspection with a s#!tload of research to bring us a much-needed commentary that will both anger and inspire you. "
— Rachel Ricketts, founder, lossandfoundxo.com
"In a manner that is both personal and unpretentious, McKeon deftly critiques more palatable ‘empowerment’ and ‘choice’ narratives of feminism, and demonstrates why our feminism(s) must be intersectional, embrace difference, and begin with compassion. "
— Stephanie Milliken
"McKeon proves a trustworthy and entertaining guide taking us through the tangled mess of lies, deliberate misunderstandings, and sad self-centredness that characterize the groups arrayed against the progress of feminism. "
— CV Harquail, Feminist and Management Science Scholar
"Lauren McKeon’s F-Bomb is the antidote to feeling at a loss for examples of why intersectional feminism is so very urgently needed now. With a journalist’s attention to research and context, an activist’s drive for meaningful action and policy-change, and a memoirist’s craft, McKeon has written a necessary call to action. "
— Erin Wunker, author, <i>Notes from a Feminist Killjoy</i>
"McKeon’s interviews and research shed much-needed light on feminism via its most ardent critics. "
— Katherine J. Barrett
"In absorbing passages that evoke the seduction and subterfuge found in spy thrillers, McKeon chronicles her encounters with female leaders of men’s rights groups. "