How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

I am currently battling my way through a 3000 word essay for my French Feminism module about Julia Kristeva (word count so far: 1570). This is proving to be extremely tedious considering that Kristeva’s ideas are highly abstract and that a significant number of critics think that she might actually be anti-feminist given the lack of attention she gives to female subjects in her work about semiotics, psychoanalysis, linguistics and a bunch of other crap that I don’t really understand at all.  So it has been a real breath of fresh air to read Caitlin Moran’s memoir/rant ‘How To Be a Woman’ which feels like the first properly feminist book I’ve read this semester.  I find it faintly ridiculous that the majority of feminist theorists do not write books that are either helpful for women, relevant to women or even really about women.  Moran, however, is a revelation.  ‘How To Be a Woman’ is not an academic thesis and there are few references to ‘global’ political issues such as equal pay, but it does address the real everyday experiences of being a woman.  And by that I mean menstruation and knickers.  It is a funny and honest account about growing up and how to cope with the trials of weddings, rubbish boyfriends, wearing high heels and giving birth.  Ok, so this isn’t exactly new stuff, but I think it is refreshing to see a readable feminist ‘manifesto’ that actually has some relevance to the real world for once.

On the cover of the book, a Grazia magazine review proclaims that this is ‘The book EVERY woman should read’.  I think it is also a book that every man should read as well.  ‘How To Be a Woman’ proves that feminism doesn’t have to be abstract and angry.  It can be realistic and funny too and it’s a shame that the original feminist movement didn’t begin with this in mind.  My French Feminism module would certainly be a lot more fun for a start if Simone de Beauvoir had cracked a few jokes in ‘La Deuxième Sexe’ about bras and expensive handbags.  C’est la vie…

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

  1. Pingback: The Best of 2012 Survey | A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

  2. I’ve been very curious about this book, will now put it on my list. Thanks!

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  3. Pingback: Moranthology by Caitlin Moran | A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

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