Caitriona H's Reviews > How to Be a Woman

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
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Oct 03, 12

Read in January, 2012

Whilst I’m on the subject of the life of women and emotions I did enjoy How to be a Woman. Largely, I think, because the tone reminded me so much of a friend of mine. I suspect many women feel the same way. In fact, I suspect everyone, regardless of gender, has a Caitlin Moran, tell-it-straight friend who is irreverent and yet often more profound because of this.

This book is an autobiographical philosophy. Moran’s upbringing is not similar to mine and she’s now a mother and wife which are beyond me at present, but this didn’t make me feel it was irrelevant to me. I’ll admit I skipped some of the reflections on birth which made me feel a bit queasy. However, the general joie de vivre with which Moran approaches even the grim parts of life is totally uplifting. The chapters that I related to actually made me chuckle and then press them on people around me. I immediately read aloud the passage on underwear (good underwear= very, very good, bad underwear= horrid) to my sympathetic female and less sympathetic male flatmates, and went on to debate this to some length. I think this is important because, despite all of the ‘reclaiming’ of the word ‘feminist’ going on, not one of my male friends considers themselves feminist. Even though they are pro-equality they’re not sure and often haven’t thought about where they stand on issues like maternity/paternity leave and rights or job movement and promotions. They should do, because it affects them as much as us, and, more importantly, thinking about this should not be something boring or worrying. I think Moran’s general attitude of laughing at everything is probably something we should all try to do more of, although obviously ‘legitimate rape’ is less easy to brush aside than a builder’s wolf whistle. The total magnetic opposite of Winterson’s academic, verbose style and outlook, this does not make either writer less appealing. Reading either book is educational, reading both and comparing them is more so, it simply depends on what you want and are prepared to learn from.

I’ve seen Caitlin Moran interviewed at London Book Fair 2012 and although her humour and relish for the visceral is a bit grunge, I think it has quite a masculine as well as feminine appeal. So I plan to try and trick the boys I know into reading (or listening) to a ‘feminist rant.’ It is all about trying to walk in someone else’s shoes, currently scientifically impossible, but easily done in a book.

978-0091940744 £7.99 Ebury Press

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