How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
Trade Paperback, 305 pages
Trade Paperback, 305 pages
SynopsisPart memoir, part rally to feminism, Moran shares her hilariously awkward stories of growing up through to motherhood, using her stories and observations as springboards to pose feminist questions. Why are women currently expected to get Brazilians? Is it anyone's business when or if we have children? Are there any feminist role models for young women in a world where reality TV and tabloids rule supreme? And for anyone new to feminism (the word, if not the accorded freedoms), where do we even start to make sense of it all?
Reason for ReadingI kept hearing this was a must-read for women.
Why you should read this bookFor the most part, Moran deals in humour rather than anger, which might be a good approach to feminism - sometimes, the things women deal with is nothing short of ludicrous. Mouthy and in-your-face, Moran is still thoughtful and open as she talks honestly about things like her abortion, or growing up in such poverty that she inherited her mother's secondhand underwear once she reached puberty. If you're worried about things getting too serious, there's also a story about Moran's trip to a sex club with Lady Gaga and her take on her image ('It's not for [men]. It's for....us'). Feminism has taken on a rather intimidating stature over the years, but I laughed as much I stopped to think during this book. I would love to thrust copies of this book in the hands of every woman I know - you probably won't agree with or relate to everything in the book, but sometimes it's just about having a jumping point for the conversations we need to be having as a society right now. If you want your book club to actually talk about a book, pour some wine and start discussing How To Be a Woman.
Why you should avoid this bookHow To Be a Woman is aimed at a younger crowd - as Moran states herself, being 35 at the time of the book's publication means that many of life's experiences still lie ahead for her. The salty language might not thrill some readers, but it's hardly out of step with our HBO culture. There's no men-bashing in the book, but talk of periods and bras may not make males a target audience either.
Opening ParagraphSo, I had assumed it was optional. I know that women bleed every month, but I didn't think it was going to happen to me. I'd presumed I would be able to opt out of it - perhaps from sheer unwillingness. It honestly doesn't look that much use or fun, and I can't see any way I can fit it into my schedule.
Because we need to reclaim the word 'feminism.' We need the word 'feminism' back real bad. When statistics come in saying that only 29 percent of American women would describe themselves as feminist - and only 42 percent of British women - I used to think, What do you think feminism IS, ladies? What part of 'liberation for women' is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? 'Vogue,' by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good shit GET ON YOUR NERVES? Or were you just DRUNK AT THE TIME OF SURVEY?
These days, however, I am much calmer - since I realized that it's technically impossible for a woman to argue against feminism. Without feminism, you wouldn't be allowed to have a debate on a woman's place in society.
To be frank, childbirth gives a woman a gigantic set of balls. The high you get as you realize it's all over, and that you didn't actually die, can last the rest of your life. Off their faces with euphoria and bucked by how brave they were, new mothers finally tell the in-laws to back off, dye their hair red, get driving lessons, become self-employed, learn to use a drill, experiment with Thai condiments, make cheerful jokes about incontinence, and stop being scared of the dark.