Alex's Reviews > Moranthology

Moranthology by Caitlin Moran
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2014

Okay, I know that Caitlin Moran can be problematic at times. But I can't help it, I love her writing. There is just something about her style that, as soon as I start reading it, I feel like I am just catching up with a good friend. She draws me in, both with the things she chooses to write about, and the way she draws it back to her 'real life' perspective. And the humour. I have tried reading comedy writing, and it just doesn't do it for me. When I am reading things on a page, without any indication of tone or emphasis, at best I chuckle internally for a second, at worst I don't even realise what is meant to be funny and just continue reading. But with Caitlin, I actually found myself laughing out loud. I read the book on a 3-day trip to Madrid, and everywhere I went - on the bus, in the hostel, sunbathing outside monuments throughout the city - I whipped out the book, and found myself laughing out loud, and on one occasion (sadly I don't remember which part, but somewhere in the middle-ish..) I was actually on the verge of tears, and had to physically control my face in order to not look like a TOTAL tit in the hostel common room.

But yes, unfortunately amongst all this humour we were not entirely problem-free. Most notably I had an issue with her burqa treatment, and it irked me for the same reason it irked me in How To Be A Woman. She states that a burqa is sexist. Always. Her explanation, when faced with the argument that some women wear it for themselves, is that still wear it to prevent men staring, therefore men are the issues, therefore it is sexist and should be abolished. Stop, Caitlin. I think the golden rule of feminism (or at least a fairly high rule) is that /YOU DON'T SPEAK FOR EVERY WOMAN/. As you pointed out when you defended the lack of women of colour in Girls - nothing can be a depiction of every woman everywhere, so you should just tell your own story. And you can empathise with burqa-wearing women, and you can try to explain your point of view, but at the end of the day you cannot speak for those women. You cannot whitesplain away their reasonings for wearing the burqa. Have you, I wonder, asked EVERY WOMAN who chooses to wear a burqa, why she does so? I highly doubt it. So please, don't enforce your reasonings onto them.

However, to give (fairly measly) credit where it is due, she does state that she is against the French police tackling a woman to the ground in order to remove her burqa. So at least she isn't a VIOLEN radical feminist.

Another thing that irked me in a "you tried so hard, but still seem to not quite get it" way was her article on "the two transsexuals in Wolverhampton". This one was kind of a rollercoaster of up and down. At first, I was expecting a bigoted rad-fem article. What followed me was, to my happy surprise, a chapter attacking transphobic remarks in the press. Caitlin advocates trans women as women, and ffrowns upon those feminists who insist that trans women aren't "real women". YAY CAITLIN. But then she goes on to... explain how we should use trans people as a way to 'further our understanding of the world' and that they're something of a .. scientific marvel? Or something? Which kinda soured it a little bit. It's great that you aren't excluding trans people, Caitlin, but they aren't your guinea pigs to stare at and invade to know every detail of their lives. Also, she states her learning of the vocabulary of transgender/cisgender... Which is nice that she is acknowledging these things, and publishing knowledge about them into a mainstream newspaper and book. But that didn't stop her titling the article "We Only Had Two Transsexuals In Wolverhampton" and writing the word "TRANSSEXUAL" on the back of the book, as part of the content she would be discussing. That kind of made it feel as though, despite her apparent understanding and welcoming, she was still happy to cast them aside in order to appeal to the general masses. Hm.

In her columns talking about her husband especially, she often also alludes to this great man/woman divide. She talks about what 'the men' do, and what 'the women' do, characteristically speaking. And this sin't problematic as such, as she obviously doesn't view women as an inferior sex. But it's still kind of frustrating to still be viewing this very strict gender dichotomy from a 'militant feminist' (even if she is largely using the dichotomy just to make a comedic point.)

But, generally speaking, I like what Caitlin has to say. When she talks about feminism, for the most part I think she gets it right. She talks about things like misogyny, women's rights, but then she also has this air of 'living in the real world'; she takes a realistic approach to her feminism. And in some ways that is a good thing, because it means she is focusing on the real problems that are SOLVABLE in the world, very easily. However, her approach of living in the real world also means she has to present things inappropriately so that she can still appeal to the masses, and not just be branded as "too out there".

So apart from the occasional problematic aspects, for the most part I really did thoroughly enjoy the book. Obviously, it is just a collection of articles, so the subject matter varies wildly, and for this reason my enjoyment of them tended to vary somewhat - most were at the least enjoyable, while some were fantastic and some felt a little uninteresting. There were also times when it felt like she was approaching her newspaper deadline and hadn't got much to say, so had to quickly whack out a few hundred words that weren't particularly interesting or engaging. But these were quite few and far between, and for the most part I enjoyed them all. Her strengths seem to come when she is talking about herself, or relating her stories back to herself. When she was literally reporting on other things were the times I tended to find myself skimreading a little. But when she told her own story - or about how SHE felt about television shows she was reviewing, for example - was when I really fell in love with her. It's Caitlin Moran and her opinions that I love, not just Caitlin Moran reporting on something else.

The fact they are all columns also made it perfect 'light' reading. As I was reading on a trip, I could pop out the book any time I had 5 minutes to spare, because that was about all the time it took to read the 3-page average articles.

So yeah, I am team Moran. Because I love her writing style, I find her humour brilliant, and I am so glad that she is bringing feminism into the mainstream. Even if her approach is not flawless, it will at least get people talking, plant some basic ideas, and hopefully there will be people who will research it further.

{read 24/06/14-27/06/14}
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Reading Progress

June 24, 2014 – Started Reading
June 24, 2014 – Shelved
June 24, 2014 – Shelved as: 2014
June 24, 2014 –
page 18
June 28, 2014 – Finished Reading

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