How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran (pub date 7/17/12)
“What is feminism? Simply the belief that women should be as free as men, however nuts, dim, deluded, badly dressed, fat, receding, lazy, and smug they might be. Are you a feminist? Hahaha. Of course you are.”
Caitlin Moran is my new personal hero, and I only just heard of her four days ago. She’s a British journalist, broadcaster, and TV critic with one hell of a personality. And she worked for “Melody Maker” magazine in the 90s during the height of the Britrock era, which was my absolute hands-down dream job all throughout eight grade and most of high school. But I digress…
Aside from living the life I wanted during my pubescent years, Moran is the author of this part memoir, part feminist manifesto How To Be a Woman. First published in the UK last year, this hit title made its way across the pond this week.
In her book, Moran shares her most memorable personal experiences from age thirteen to adulthood, experiences that shaped the woman she became. From discovering the joys of masturbation, to body image issues, sex, marriage, pregnancy, and her first encounters with sexism, Moran relates her life to the bigger issues women face every day. She ponders the things that are supposed to make us “womanly,” like Brazilian waxes, big weddings, and an interest in fashion. She also argues the pros and cons of strip clubs, and lists the best and worst words to call your vagina.
What I loved most about this book was its perfect mixture of humor and seriousness. While Moran’s hilarious observations had me cracking up, her chapter on abortion was reverent and thought-provoking. And while she is a mother of two, I still want to give a big thumbs-up and thank you for her chapter defending the childfree lifestyle.
So what is the book’s overall message? Every woman is a feminist! Moran asserts that if you have a vagina and want to be in control of it, you are a feminist. It’s not about maintaining a certain image or about hating men (this is NOT an anti-man book, just in case you were wondering), it’s about freedom and equality.
I don’t read many memoirs, but I loved How To Be a Woman. If you’re a woman, you should read it. There will definitely be something in it that you can identify with. Fans of ‘The Bloggess’ Jenny Lawson will be able to appreciate this book’s sense of humor. Some people may find the British slang a bit tricky, but it won’t affect your understanding of the book. And if you’re thinking that you’re not a feminist, you need to read this book even more, because you’re the ones it was written for.