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Open Right

Clementine Ford: The Official Woman

Session Info:

In a patriarchal structure that prioritises the ideas and actions of men, the Official Woman acts as the chief of police against all other dissenting women. Perhaps you’ve met her – she’s the woman who claims to have no female friends; who sides with men in every situation rather than women; who laughs at the idea of sexism, especially when other men are discounting it.

The Official Woman does everything she can to let the men around her know that she’s not really like all those other women. That she’s their friend and their supporter, and they can behave exactly as they like around her because she’ll be totally cool with it – even if it means making life harder for other women like her.

Why is the Official Woman such a toxic but pervasive thing? Because if we want to achieve real equality, women should be working together not climbing over each other’s bodies in order to get to special entry into the boys’ castle.

This session will look at what characterises the Official Woman, and how you can challenge her behaviour. Crucially, it will help women who have been guilty of playing the Official Woman to understand why this behaviour is so damaging to women as a whole. Provocative, funny and challenging, it aims to destroy the allure of being the Official Woman once and for all.


  • What does the Official Woman look like?
  • How you can identify someone trying to be the Official Woman
  • Why is the Official Woman such a toxic presence, and why does she seem to exist everywhere?
  • How you can stop trying to be the Official Woman
  • Why playing the Official Woman won’t actually get you anywhere
  • Why does it hurt so much to be betrayed by someone playing the Official Woman?
  • How reality television clearly demonstrates the rise (and failure) of the Official Woman game

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