Kimberly's Reviews > How To Be A Woman

How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran
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really liked it

After reading this book, I can proudly say that I am a Strident Feminist. Caitlin Moran takes the term feminist back from the man haters and makes feminism sound a bit sexy. She disapproves of Brazilians (not the people from South America, mind you) and thinks Burlesque is a powerful female art form. She eschews kitten heels and “investment” handbags and offers an antidote to the messages woman’s magazines have been bombarding us with for decades using the very sensible argument that men don’t give a who if your legs look longer in 5 inch heels, they are more worried about having to carry you to the taxi queue.

She makes it easy to figure out if there is some sexism going on. Just ask yourself, are the men doing it? If the answer is no then maybe women should give it another thought. Crazy high heels, burkas, lower pay for the same job, Brazilians, Botox, thongs, etc. Are the men doing it? No, they are not. Moran is pro: big pants, no wax zones, sensible shoes, cheap handbags, natural decay, motherhood or not, and all things that are women friendly. Those are all things I can heartily support and I loved hearing it straight from her mouth with her Wolverhampton accent.
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Quotes Kimberly Liked

Caitlin Moran
“If you want to know what's in motherhood for you, as a woman, then - in truth - it's nothing you couldn't get from, say, reading the 100 greatest books in human history; learning a foreign language well enough to argue in it; climbing hills; loving recklessly; sitting quietly, alone, in the dawn; drinking whisky with revolutionaries; learning to do close-hand magic; swimming in a river in winter; growing foxgloves, peas and roses; calling your mum; singing while you walk; being polite; and always, always helping strangers. No one has ever claimed for a moment that childless men have missed out on a vital aspect of their existence, and were the poorer, and crippled by it.”
Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

Caitlin Moran
“We need to reclaim the word 'feminism'. We need the word 'feminism' back real bad. When statistics come in saying that only 29% of American women would describe themselves as feminist - and only 42% 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 THE SURVEY?”
Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

Caitlin Moran
“Ladies, we are at a massive disadvantage in the workplace. Your male peers are flirting with their male bosses constantly. The average workplace is like f*cking Bromancing the Stone. That’s basically what male bonding is. Flirting. They’re flirting with each other playing golf, they’re flirting with each other going to the football, they’re flirting with each other chatting at the urinals – and, sadly, flirting with each other in after-hours visits to strip clubs and pubs. They are bonding with each other over their biological similarities. If the only way you can bond with them is over your biological differences, you go for it. Feel pressurised to actually f*ck them if you do? Then don’t flirt. Find it an easy way to just crack on? Then crack on – and don’t blame other women for doing it.”
Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

Caitlin Moran
“When a woman says, ‘I have nothing to wear!’, what she really means is, ‘There’s nothing here for who I’m supposed to be today.”
Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

Caitlin Moran
“I cannot understand anti-abortion arguments that centre on the sanctity of life. As a species we've fairly comprehensively demonstrated that we don't believe in the sanctity of life. The shrugging acceptance of war, famine, epidemic, pain and life-long poverty shows us that, whatever we tell ourselves, we've made only the most feeble of efforts to really treat human life as sacred.”
Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

Caitlin Moran
“Who doesn't have a friend who worships her lover with a passion that seems baffling to everyone that knows them? Before you met him for the first time, she'd talked him up like he was a cross between Indiana Jones, Barack Obama and The Doctor. When you finally meet him, he's a quiet little thing who looks like a baked bean in glasses, and actually says 'harumph' as spelt.”
Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

Caitlin Moran
“I’m going to lie this one right on the line, right here, right now: I’m pro big pants. Strident feminism NEEDS big pants. Really big. I’m currently wearing a pair that could have been used as a fire blanket to put out the Great Fire of London at any point during the first 48 hours or so. They extend from the top of my thigh to my belly button, and effectively double up as a second property that I can escape to at weekends. If I were going to run for parliament, it would be solely on a platform of ‘Get Women In Massive Grundie’s’.”
Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

Caitlin Moran
“These days, however, I am much calmer - since I realised that it’s technically impossible for a woman to argue against feminism. Without feminism, you wouldn’t be allowed to have a debate on women’s place in society. You’d be too busy giving birth on the kitchen floor - biting down on a wooden spoon, so as not to disturb the men’s card game - before going back to quick-liming the dunny. This is why those female columnists in the Daily Mail - giving daily wail against feminism - amuse me. They paid you £1,600 for that, dear, I think. And I bet it’s going in your bank account, and not your husband’s. The more women argue loudly, against feminism, the more they both prove it exists and that they enjoy its hard-won privileges.”
Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

Caitlin Moran
“You can tell whether some misogynistic societal pressure is being exerted on women by calmly enquiring, ‘And are the men doing this, as well?’ If they aren’t, chances are you’re dealing with what we strident feminists refer to as ‘some total fucking bullshit’.”
Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

Caitlin Moran
“For throughout history, you can read the stories of women who - against all the odds - got being a woman right, but ended up being compromised, unhappy, hobbled or ruined, because all around them, society was still wrong. Show a girl a pioneering hero - Sylvia Plath, Dorothy Parker, Frida Kahlo, Cleopatra, Boudicca, Joan of Arc - and you also, more often than not, show a girl a woman who was eventually crushed.”
Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

Caitlin Moran
“But, of course, you might be asking yourself, 'Am I a feminist? I might not be. I don't know! I still don't know what it is! I'm too knackered and confused to work it out. That curtain pole really still isn't up! I don't have time to work out if I am a women's libber! There seems to be a lot to it. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?'
I understand.
So here is the quick way of working out if you're a feminist. Put your hand in your pants.

a) Do you have a vagina? and
b) Do you want to be in charge of it?

If you said 'yes' to both, then congratulations! You're a feminist.”
Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

Caitlin Moran
“It's difficult to see the glass ceiling because it's made of glass. Virtually invisible. What we need is for more birds to fly above it and shit all over it, so we can see it properly.”
Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

Caitlin Moran
“You can always tell when a woman is with the wrong man, because she has so much to say about the fact that nothing's happening.”
Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

Caitlin Moran
“At its best fashion is a game. But for women it's a compulsory game, like net ball, and you can't get out of it by faking your period. I know I have tried. And so for a woman every outfit is a hopeful spell, cast to influence the outcome of the day. An act of trying to predict your fate, like looking at your horoscope. No wonder there are so many fashion magazines. No wonder the fashion industry is worth an estimated 900 billion dollars a year. No wonder every woman's first thought is, for nearly every event in her life, be it work, snow or birth. The semi-despairing cry of "but what will I wear?" Because when a woman says I have nothing to wear, what she really means is there is nothing here for who I am supposed to be today.”
Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

Caitlin Moran
“I have a rule of thumb that allows me to judge, when times is pressing and one needs to make a snap judgment, whether or not some sexist bullshit is afoot. Obviously, it’s not 100% infallible but by and large it definitely points you in the right direction and it's asking this question; are the men doing it? Are the men worrying about this as well? Is this taking up the men’s time? Are the men told not to do this, as it's letting the side down? Are the men having to write bloody books about this exasperating retarded, time-wasting, bullshit? Is this making Jeremy Clarkson feel insecure?

Almost always the answer is no. The boys are not being told they have to be a certain way, they are just getting on with stuff.”
Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

Caitlin Moran
“But I do have conversations about the Patriarchy and I am having them with gay men. At eighteen, I am discovering what generations of women have long known. The natural ally of the straight woman is the gay man because they are others losers too.”
Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

Caitlin Moran
“…she is in the girl Matrix trying to catch invisible slow mo bullets those of us outside the Matrix can’t see. You can always tell when a woman is with the wrong man because she has so much to say about the fact that nothing is happening. When a woman finds the right person, on the other hand, they just disappear for six months and then they resurface, eyes shiny and usually about six pounds heavier.”
Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

Caitlin Moran
“I have read more about Oprah Winfrey’s ass than I have about the rise of China as an economic superpower. I fear this is no exaggeration. Perhaps China is rising as an economic superpower because its women aren’t spending all their time reading about Oprah Winfrey’s ass.”
Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman


Reading Progress

March 16, 2012 – Shelved
October 28, 2012 – Started Reading
November 7, 2012 –
25.0% "Caitlin Moran is my new Superhero! I am standing on a chair shouting I am a Feminist in a pretty decent Wolverhampton accent."
November 23, 2012 – Finished Reading

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