Monday, 21 November 2011

'How To Be a Woman' by Caitlin Moran

I'm harbouring a substantial girl-crush at the moment. The focus of this crush is the British author and journalist Caitlin Moran (pronounced Catlin) whose recently published book, entitled 'How To Be a Woman', attracted a lot of media interest over the summer. The flippant synopsis of this book is that she 'rewrites The Female Eunuch from a bar stool and demands to know why pants are getting smaller'. Actually, it's a timely re-evaluation of feminism as it stands today for women who maybe haven't given Germaine Greer much thought since their teens. It highlights a whole wealth of modern day experiences that warrant investigation whilst being openly and revealingly autobiographical and intensely funny.

I've found that, since my age has a good solid 3 at the front of it, I've been thinking more and more about how women are expected to behave and function within our society and have been re-analysising my past and present experiences. I think that generally speaking, there is a loose assumption that feminism has 'won'; that today, women get an equal and fair shot and that anyone still harping on about the 'f' word is a bitter, sexually frustrated bint who can't be arsed to shave. But as Moran reveals, it can be argued that in some respects a lot of the ground women gained through previous waves of feminism has since been lost again, particularly since the 1990's.

For the record, I don't whole-heartedly agree with everything Moran writes, just as she disagreed with her idol Greer from time to time. But I do think that if you have any interest in how society works and basically calling bullshit on heaps of stuff that makes womens' lives more hassle and unpleasant that they need to be, then I'd recommend getting hold of a copy for some catharsis and a chuckle.

There is much more I'd like to say about this book, even though I'm currently only two thirds the way through. In particular, her section on fashion and clothing naturally caught my eye and I'd like to explore her comments further on this blog, but I'll do that another day. Right, I'm off to bed now for a read so Caitlin and I can have a giggle whilst getting pissy about some inequality.

15 comments:

Heather Lou said...

I finished this a few weeks ago and LOVED it. As in snorting and giggling like a crazy person on the metro loved it. She inspired me to start making vintage, full coverage panties. DEATH TO THE TYRANNY OF THE THONG!

the dizzle said...

this post really makes me want to read the book though i might just wait to hear the rest of your comments and thoughts on it! <3

Reana Louise said...

Your post makes me want to read this book! I've never heard of it but, like you, I am getting more interested in what it means to be a woman and the expectations (self imposed or from 'outside') associated.

Also, my word verification is "boyep". Boy yep? Oh blogger lol.

didyoumakethat said...

Ooh, thanks for this recommendation, Zoe! I must get that. Anyone who asserts that women have it all now can listen long and hard to my hollow laughter. I think life can be really, really challenging for modern women and for those of my friends who have chosen a family and a career, there's just one word ... exhausting! We don't have all the answers yet, not by a long way.

Sarah http://huggiedoeshomespun@wordpress.com said...

I read this a while ago! I was so glad to find someone else as ranty as me about this strange new expectation that women should be bald as a coot down below. That somehow I am the wierd one for not wanting to subject my personal areas to hot wax and ripping. That bit had me in stitches.

Stephanie said...

Thanks for the recommendation! Yes, I know exactly what you mean about the "bitter, sexually frustrated bint". Neither women nor men seem to want to hear anything about feminism anymore and roll their eyes at every mention of it. "So old-fashioned, get over yourself", is the reaction I get whenever I rant about some feminist issue that really bothers me (and there are many!!!) Definitely want to read this book!

Joanne said...

Ah I've been wanting to read this for a while - thanks for the review. I still find it shocking when I hear women say 'I'm not a feminist', as if it's a dirty word. I'm proud to say I'm one, and so's my husband (and my dad, who raised three mouthy daughters to be successful and confident). I'll add my hollow laughter to Karen's on the 'having it all' myth too. The only people I personally know who are successfully juggling career and family without huge amounts of stress and guilt... are men!

Law said...

Oh thanks for the tip Zoe, I will check this book out

Miriana said...

Caitlin Moran is my girl crush too. She has a feminist check list that goes something along the lines of...
1) Do you have a vagina?
2) Do you want to retain control over your vagina.

If the answer is yes to both, then you're a Feminist.

Uta said...

I absolutely support every publication and post that keeps the subject of feminism alive. In Germany, I observe two things: (1.) Women aren't interested in feminism anymore, probably because they're too exhausted from (2.) trying to behave like men on top of being women which seems to be the modern interpretation of equality. Also, where are the men who sew? (My son wished for sewing lessons for his b-day which he will get!)

Erika said...

Thank you for the recommendation! I went straight to my favorite online bookstore and ordered it... =)

Clare said...

Thanks for the recommendation, I didn't know she'd written a book. When the Times website was free I used to really look foward to CM's columns and will happily add this to my reading list.
(Sew your Own was a great read too, so double thanks!)

Liz said...

Thanks for the recommendation. And while we're on the subject of recommendations - have you seen this? http://www.domesticsluttery.com/2011/11/recycled-fashion-traidremade.html

Joanne said...

Anyone see the interview with young Conservative minister Jodie Jones in Stylist magazine? "I'd be more likely to describe myself as Conservative rather than feminist because I don't think being female is the most defining characteristic about me." Missing the point entirely...

Rehanon Mackenzie said...

Oh man this has been on my need to read list for an age and some. My friend Mo who's in her 40s read it in a day as she was so enthralled. She said she wished it had been around when she was younger but still totally relevant to the stage in her life she is now. She gave it high praise for offering good sense and humour. I will definitely get off my ass and get a copy. I think it's one that you will return to again and again over the years.

Also that leopard print dress is so hot I could cook on it. HIgh five to you my dear!

xxx

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