How to be a Woman review

How to be a Woman review
| Reviews > Books

Funny, smart and wise, ‘How to be a Woman’ by Caitlin Moran is essential reading for feminists of either gender. Help keep it top of the bestseller lists – it’s one of the most joyful and rewarding books you’ll read this year.

Amazon Book: How To Be a Woman 

Amazon eBook: How To Be a Woman – Kindle edition

Quirky, witty Caitlin Moran has written a book on modern day feminism that’s taken the bestseller lists by storm. “How to be a Woman” may seem like a strange title for a book on feminism, but it’s not like she tells us to wear playboy bunny ears or throw ourselves at rich men. No – this book is rather brilliant.

Nearly a hundred years have passed since Emily Davison was trampled by a horse for women’s rights. Today western women have the vote, but socially we still seem to be suppressed by the patriarch. Gender prejudice takes the form of strip clubs, pants and high heels. Caitlin Moran tackles these issues and more armed with personal anecdotes that made me splutter, particularly one that involved LGBT vampire dog. With any luck, you’ll be feeling curious, confused and a little alarmed. The best way to deal with it, friend, is satisfy your curiosity and read the book.

Although How To Be a Woman  is packed solidly with the funny, at its core it’s a feminist rant. That will get some people thinking “Right on! Gender Equality FTW!” but others will unfortunately be thinking along the lines of “Oh god, not another man hating book. You have the vote, and are allowed out of the kitchen, what more do you want? World domination?” Well, it’s not a man hating book; Caitlin Moran is married to one, after all. And in Moran’s own words, “We’re not arguing for the whole world. Just our share.” Caitlin Moran doesn’’t believe women can help save humankind from global warming or any other disaster, because we’re expected to throw away our careers for motherhood at the very moment our careers are at their peak. And we can’’t find ourselves a female Shakespeare or Jimi Hendrix because we have to put more concentration on walking in high heels, which can be pretty impossible at times – even more so than playing left-handed guitar behind your head.

On the surface of it, maybe high heels seem less serious than the vote – but in a society upholding lose-lose formulae where women in particular are judged by their looks (fat celebrity = a mess, thin celebrity = anorexic) it makes sense for a woman as fabulous as Caitlin Moran to wake us up with some common sense. I’m relieved to find somebody else who won’t wear heels unless they are comfy (comfy heels? Surely an oxymoron). And this whole business of heels is a metaphor as much as anything: she wants us to be comfortable with who we are and what we wear.

There are some really interesting sections to get your teeth into in this book. Caitlin Moran explores the reason as to why gender prejudice towards women exists in the first place, something I’ve never thought about for some reason, I’ve only ever thought about how to combat gender prejudice. And there are serious topics amid the breezy and well-written anecdotes; abortion for instance. It’s a controversial topic that many people are vague about when asked their opinion of it. But she isn’t. She holds firm to her belief, articulates it beautifully and doesn’t apologise for it. And there are many other topics that the author doesn’t shy away from, particularly ones that all women are affected by but many women will never talk about. A great book, with great topics covered: I just wouldn’t advise reading this while eating.

The only problem I can find with ‘How to be a Woman’ is that Caitlin Moran refers to her 13 year old self as having “all the joyful ebullience of a retard**”, which is slightly ironic from a book shouting for equality. But this is a single disappointment in an ultimately sensible book filled to the brim with joy sound feminist thought; overall the book is a gem. All the issues covered fit together perfectly, and the deceivingly light-hearted tone for such serious subjects shows wisdom and sensitivity.

‘How to be a Woman’ is a must-read for all women and is unputdownable, as every good book should be.

** It’s VERY IMPORTANT to note that within two hours of the book coming out, Caitlin Moran apologised in public (on Twitter). She explained that it was a direct quote from her diary at the age of thirteen, and nothing she would consider saying now. The line has been pulled from the second edition. If anything, this shows Caitlin’s honesty and true-blue nature. Good woman, that woman.

Amazon Book: How To Be a Woman

Amazon eBook: How To Be a Woman – Kindle edition

Caitlin Moran

Are we distorting the feminist message by putting up loads of pics of Caitlin Moran looking seriously pretty? MAIS NON! We are doing it because her smile hits her eyes (very important, that), and also because we suspect she is better at tyre swinging than she pretends to be.

Caitlin MoranCaitlin Moran

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