Caitlin Moran’s How To Be a Woman was first published in 2011, and it amazes me that it took me two years to discover it: two additional years in the Plato’s cave until, finally, this summer I saw the light.
For me How To Be a Woman is one of the best, funniest, most important books I’ve ever read, so I’d just like to go on a bit of a rant about Caitlin Moran and her eye-opening perspective on women, feminism and why it’s important.
“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?”
The trouble is, the word “feminism” has somehow acquired a bit of a funny label, a connotation many women today do not want to be associated with. I can say so because until recently I was one of them. For me the word “feminism” used by the media represented shouting, men-hating, unkempt-looking women and I am not one of them. But that’s not what feminism is about so it is time we reclaim its meaning.
“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.”
I sign up for that. What’s more, Caitlin Moran argues that “it doesn’t need to be a ‘man vs. woman thing”.
“The idea that we’re all, at the end of the day, just a bunch of well-meaning schlumps, trying to get along, is the basic alpha and omega of my world view. I’m neither ‘pro-women’ nor ‘anti-men’. I’m just ‘Thumbs up for the six billion’.”
The thing is, How To Be A Woman talks about all those things I’ve always wondered about but never really voiced.
Let’s take shopping. Is it really the case that all women are obsessed with it? Do we really need £600 handbags, as Grazia tells us?
What about pornography? It’s been there since cavemen days but today’s pornography makes me cringe.
Motherhood is another interesting subject. The moment a woman gets married, it’s polite to ask whether she is trying for children, but is it?
What’s your view on cosmetic procedures? Is it OK to have a “tidy up”?
How To Be a Woman expresses strong, well-argued opinions of an intelligent woman who is not afraid to ask questions and makes you laugh out loud (a lot). It even makes me wonder why hasn’t one thought of writing such an honest, thought-provoking piece a decade ago.