Caitlin Moran: How to Be a Woman

Secretary s desk If we were all feminists by default then gender euality would become less of a choice and the sceptics would be shown for what they are a bunch of arseragsHaving said all this perhaps the reason people refuse to identify as feminists is because of the crazy ideas held by the militant branch of feminists I ve heard of women claiming that all heterosexual sex is rape Some are choosing to raise their child as genderless allowing their child to choose their gender identity when they reach their teenage years More still argue that you re waging war on women unless you completely support all the ideas and demands of their modern feminist movement Also Lena Dunham And the word mansplaining That s why this book was such a breath of fresh air Moran isn t looking to wage a war against men For her feminism is not an us versus them thing For her it s 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 It s a stripped back feminism Feminism made simple And it s something that we should all embrace without uestion Has an appalling case of unpacked privilege Dropping tranny and retard in this book is ust the tip of her shitty icebergNewsflash feminism that doesn t advocate for ALL women is no better than patriarchy If you have even slight feminist beliefs or if you are a woman who wants your eyes opened sensibilities shocked and then laugh your ass off this is the book I read Bossypants which I love but Caitlin Moran s strong feminist words were so inspiring to me and ust MADE SENSE I might not have agreed with everything but I was certainly amused and entertained the whole time Definitely an auto biography worth reading dude or gal And it s really dirty in parts she talks about things you NEVER thought people would bring up Too good 1 I am confounded by the critical response Confounded2 The book is indeed very funny and has its charms but this is far memoir than manifesto and very grounded in a rather singular set of experiences3 Good humor doesn t elevate common sense wisdom into groundbreaking or important feminist thought4 Casual racism More than once Or twice5 Birthing babies makes you a woman you see But that s followed by a chapter where it s totes okay if you choose not to have a I think it s pretty safe to say that this book wasn t written for me Caitlin Moran s columns have always been a bit hit or miss for me but when she s on she s a witty storyteller with some interesting points to make She s no groundbreaking pantheon of feminist wisdom but she s definitely a valuable and often hilarious ally Her book was something I approached with hesitation since several published extracts had left me scratching my head but with her upcoming scheduled appearance at the Edinburgh Book Festival and my hopes of getting press tickets to said event I decided to do my research and see what was happening in her ambitiously titled book already creating big buzz in the press as a new fun type of feminismLet s start with the positives Moran s storytelling while verging closely into column territory with its style is witty often heartwarming and very funny especially when discussing her uirky family and upbringing As a child Moran couldn t stand the idea of being pitied even in her own diary so would be ridiculously happy when discussing the most mundane of things Each chapter opens with an account from Moran s life how it moulded her feminist opinions then moves into a rambling collouial chat about issues Moran considers pressing for the feminist movement although your mileage may vary on this front Some parts such as her discussion on abortion which includes her own experiences are powerful and get to the true heart of the matter I truly appreciated this chapter and Moran for spelling out what should be obvious to all there is nothing wrong with choosing to have an abortion and sometimes it s the easiest decision a woman can make However most of the book ust doesn t pack the same punch as this segment I m 21 and I ve only really been seriously discussing my feminism for about 3 or 4 years It s something I pride myself on in many ways and I love to read feminist literature partake in debates and educate myself as much as I can on issues that are most pressing to the world s women I ve yet to meet a woman who thinks that coming up with a name for one s vagina is a pressing feminist issue I understand that the tone of the book is chatty Taking Stage jokey and often the opposite of serious but such a topic felt out of place Other topics that Moran discusses pole dancing weight clothes stilettos casual misogyny reveal no new observations or anything of true substance The book tries to be both a memoir of sorts and a tome for the 21st century feminist but feels too general and rushed to truly be either Moran freuently makes sweeping generalisations about men and women in order to make a point which makes said points feel rather disingenuous The collouial style will definitely divide readers and I personally felt that the overuse of capslock exclamation points and netspeak such as ENDOV and roflment were of a distraction than anything else something that s better suited to columns and tweets Some points also left me asking uestions why is Lady Gaga a feminist symbol who controls her sexuality whilst doing near naked photo shoots but the myriad of women who did it before her aren t It s worth noting as Moran takes pride in doing that Moran interviewed Gaga and said interview brought her much attention and acclaim Why do you think burlesue dancing is okay but pole dancing isn t and other parts coming close to fuming with anger history has not proven men to be stronger with achievements than women Countless women were wiped from history because history is written by the victors Nobody female or otherwise should be able to flirt their way to the top that s disingenuous and further objectificationcasual misogyny Also La Roux is a band not a singer and said singer Elly Jackson is not a lesbian like you said she was A uick google would show that to you Lastly there was one thing that really bugged me and it was these linesOn her childhood cheery disposition I have all theoyful ebullience of a retard Page 5On burlesue dancing it has a campy tranny fetish element to it Page 175These aren t the only casually distasteful and problematic okes Moran makes but these two stood out in my mind as particularly offensive Since Moran takes a lot of time to discuss the harmful nature of the word fat one would think she d understand the damaging power of the R word and such ableisttransphobic language Overall I m sure there are many women who will love this book and I m glad for them While I vehemently disagree with Moran s assertion that feminism has ground to a halt grassroots feminism has continued to make leaps and bounds behind the scenes it is true that many modern women are cautious to label themselves as feminist when in reality it should be worn with a badge of pride There s a lot to enjoy in Moran s book and some very funny moments but overall it felt like a failed experiment to me one that failed to scratch beyond the surface of modern day feminism in a way that would truly bring about the discussions we need I d heartily recommend Kat Banyard s The Euality Illusion for the starter feminist in need of guidance Feminism doesn t need to be rock and roll it s much better than that EDIT Downgraded to one star because the I think about it the I realise how much this book its blatant hypocrisies the obvious yet un addressed bias of the author the lack of fact checking and the entire Vichy France with tits oke piss me off Yes Moran a glamour model is ust like the government of France which collaborated with Axis powers during World War 2 It s also hysterically accurate to compare a boy s childish reaction to a piece of underwear to like that Vietnamese kid covered in napalm Keep in mind that all this on top of the use of the word retard is present in a book where Moran writes an otherwise accurate piece on the harmful and emotional power of words such as fat I don t care if my criticisms of this get labelled as being too PC or some crap like that Frankly I d rather be PC than crack stupid false euivalences regarding a child screaming in agonising pain I asked Moran about her use of the word retard in her book on than one occasion on twitter The result She blocked me Nice on. Tser och strippklubbar genom kärlek övervikt abort shopping och moderskap Det är som att få förtroenden från en god vän – ocensurerat ärligt och fruktansvärt roligtKonsten att vara kvinna är ett självbiografiskt feministiskt manifes.

Because life is too short to feel guilty about not being a perfect woman Let s get realCaitlin Moran is wicked funny and painfully awkwardly truthful in this book Rather than harp on the theoretical implications of modern feminism Moran skips the arguments and says simply Feminism is having a vagina and wanting to be in charge of it Ding dingShe manages to address the horrors of childbirth and the oys of parenting the conundrum of naming of vaginas and the unnecessary discomfort of women hiring domestic help all with a deft hand and abundant use of italics As an added bonus you ll learn a fair amount of confounding British slang A girlfriend gave me this book and I continue to pass it forward I wonder what amazingness would occur if every girl received this book on her 15th birthday We could all save ourselves so much time effort and angst Read this book now then give it away No one has ever claimed for a moment that childless men have missed out on a vital aspect of their existence and were the poorer and crippled by it Da Vinci Van Gough Newton Faraday Plato Auinas Beethoven Handel Kant Hume Jesus They all seem to have managed childlessness uite well uite an uneven reading experience a fault I largely blame on the marketing of this book How to Be a Woman is touted as basically Feminism now with An Immigration History Of Britain jokes And that s a concept that I could get onboard with I would consider myself a feminist I would consider myself moderately amusing at times and I would consider myself a fan of Caitlin Moran s white streak in her wild mane a bit reminiscent of the 90 s version of Rogue So yes let s do this I want to feel empowered as a woman I want to laugh and I want to rewatch the X Men cartoons on NetflixThis was reaffirmed when I heard an NPR interview with Caitlin Moran She spoke intelligently about a variety of topics facing women and was very humorous in doing so She sounded like someone I would like funny self deprecating and smartSo did the book live up to my expectations Not so much The main reason is that instead of a funny feminist manifesto the book is basically a memoir that should have been titled How to Be Caitlin Moran Not that that is a bad thing as I still find Moran likable but I generally do not like memoirs I was expecting a book of ideas And there are wide swaths of Moran s life that I simply can t relate to Other than the chapter I Am a Feminist there s surprisingly little feminism in the book other than sprinkling the term strident feminist in some seemingly incongruous places such as But what am I wearing now As a strident feminist how am I dressed 202 in the chapter I Get Into Fashion As though there s some sort of feminist dress code It may be simpler to split this up into what I did and did not like about the book so without further adoWhat I Did Like About the Book1 From the chapter on feminism Moran presents a simple test for discovering whether or not you re a feminist So here is the uick way of working out if you re a feminist Put your hand in your underpants a Do you have a vagina and b Do you want to be in charge of it If you said yes to both then congratulations You re a feminist 75 She makes the point that almost every woman in the Western world is a feminist whether they like being associated with that dirty word or not Even women who say they re not feminists are enjoying the fruits of feminism as there was a time when a woman wasn t allowed to have an opinion let alone express it Being in charge of one s reproductive rights is a much larger issue than that of abortion Deciding for yourself if you want to have one child fifteen children or none at all thank you very much is a right women haven t traditionally had before Being able to say enough already is certainly a right women should be thankful for as so many women who came before us dropped a kid yearly preferably sometime between clearing away the breakfast dishes and making supper2 Moran s funny unapologetically irreverent take on everything I didn t always agree with her views but admired that she had the daring to say them If there s one thing you can t claim it s that she s inauthentic3 Her chapter on marriages Weddings have become a ridiculously high priced event that generally makes everyone involved miserable4 The extremely honest chapter about her own experience with abortion Agree or disagree with abortion so many make up their mind without having lived through it or you know asking the women of a society what they think Reading about it from a personal level brings up some interesting points for thought and reflection5 Moments like this This is the first time I ve really been out in the world and met adults Previously all my socializing took place on the dance floor and in the bathroom of the Raglan a tiny dark pit populated by fringed boot wearing teenagers essentially a playpen with a bar Our innocence was obvious it shone in our faces the same way our teeth glowed white under the UV light Yes people were having sex and fighting and spreading rumors and taking drugs but it was essentially like tiger cubs knocking each other around claws velveted We were all eual There was no calculation or recrimination Everything was forgotten after a nap 117 Iust like thatWhat I Did Not Like About the Book1 Dear GOD I did not like all of the FREAKING UNNECESSARY CAPITALIZATION that made me feel like I was reading an unhinged TEENAGER S DIARY And for the love of all that is punctuation would someone please remove the exclamation mark from Moran s keyboard Early in the book I thought this was ust an affectation meant to show how the teenage Moran thought and felt however it continued unrelentingly throughout the entire book Every single chapter title ended with an exclamation 2 There were some suirm worthy moments I did not enjoy reading about Moran s early experiences with menstruation I did not enjoy the suggestion that one should taste one s menstrual blood I did not enjoy the suggestion that one should name one s vagina and one s breasts Granted I m the type of person who perpetually lives in fear of TMI Caitlin Moran clearly does not3 The suggestion that Lady GaGa is a feminist and should be placed upon a pedestal To me a feminist icon should be one who presents ideas GaGa strikes me as someone who is reaping the benefits of feminism but not adding much new to the conversation She is definitely a polarizing lightning rod but in the realm of image and sexuality She definitely confronts and shatters stereotypes but beyond that adds little to the conversation 4 The fact that there s so little feminism in a book supposedly about feminismCross posted at This Insignificant Cinder Much as there is to uibble over a strictly academic handling of feminist thought if your introduction to feminism began here chances are you will be tempted to think that a ocular disdain for transpeople and tch tch ing sympathy for women outside the sphere of Europe and America could be pardoned in the light of light hearted banter Caitlin Moran has a chatty teenager ishly snippy voice and she made me collapse into a helpless fit of distinctly unflattering full blown guffaws often than what I had foreseen But still make sure t iiiiiiii looooooved thiiiiis sooooooo muuuuuuuchhhh omggggggggNo but really It s the thing everyone says but this book is full of so many omg i feel that way too over and over and over again I felt so understood and so together with Caitlin Moran and was so thankful to have this collection of frank and honest thoughts on being a lady today Some people might even use the word empowering You know what Since there are so many four and five star reviews hanging around for this I will serve a proper review to show why I absolutely could not stand this book Moran is a sporadically talented writer maybe it deserved 225 stars in the writing stakes However I did something I almost never do I rated this book intellectually As a memoir it succeeded almost brilliantly her recollection of her wedding had me in absolute stitches and makes me laugh every time I reread it yes I ve reread it multiple times I liked that she wasn t some middleupper class Oxbridge girl as most of the Times writers seem to be It was really refreshing to read about her life That being said her writer belied her teen author roots Listen to me guys I m a 17 year old aspiring writer Hannah Moskowitz is one of my favourite authors and MANY OTHER YOUNG ADULT AUTHORS DESERVE THEIR RESOUNDING. Baksidestext Det har aldrig varit lättare att vara kvinna Vi har rösträtt och p piller och vi har inte blivit brända som häxor sedan 1700 talet Men det återstår några små frågor Varför måste vi ta bort allt hår på kroppen Varför

SUCCESS This is in Caps not because I am trying some postmodern thing emulating Caitlin Moran but because the antithesis of this point makes me grind my teeth in fury I do not believe in any of this oh you shouldn t be published if you re a teenager and everything teenagers write is crap bullshit No It s about the writing and good writing is good writing regardless of who the author is or how old they are However I feel that good books by teenage authors should either belie their early starts eg Invincible Summer or use all that amped up hyper realistic teen experience as their biggest advantage eg Break Caitlin Moran lacked depth or objectiveness When you are trying to write a book about feminism I think that the most you need to be is objective to the max Caitlin Moran is not She has the over eager Low Country Dreams juvenile puerile irritating narrative voice of someone who is convinced of their opinion despite not having a real evidence to back it up or b a real understanding of the opposing viewpoint There is no real reflection or evaluation Her opinions canust be summarised as I believe this because I believe that X is awesomeThis was most painfully obvious during her segment on Lady GaGa I like Lady GaGa She appears to have a feminist standpoint and that is very very good In my opinion she s not a feminist symbol by any stretch of the imaginaiton Although Moran could easily have made the case that she was what irritated me most of all was that Moran s analysis of GaGa never went beyond a giggly teenage girl with an idol who thinks that said idol is awesome and so has no real sense of evaluation She calls Lady GaGa her idol and refers to an intimate not sexually intimate guys don t go there experience with GaGa in a sex club She reminded me a lot of that girl who gets taken for a whirlwind with the rich popular girl and comes back down to earth starry eyed completely refusing to hear a bad thing about her idolThe most Mr. Fullswing Vol. 7 jarring thing for me was the way that Moran backed up all her hyperbolising with one anecdote that GaGa refused to do an album shoot while down in the sand touching herself I m paraphrasing I don t have a copy of the book to hand Is that feminist Yes she refused to be objectified on her body But with one Google search I turn up a picture of GaGa circa Telephone with Beyonce wearing nothing but what looks like some leather straps and leather boots arms hiding the gory bits but with no doubt that GaGa is at the very least 98% naked She s not uite down in the sand touching herself but she s not far off Ditto the lesbian kisses in the Telephone video It should be noted that I consider it everyone s right to be whatever the hell they want and with whoever the hell they want The point is that this wasn t done to show a lesbian relationship for God s sake they re in an all women prison because GaGa s character poisoned her boyfriend Not exactly the most positive portrayal of lesbianism which makes the kiss and the provocative dancing in barely there underwear obvious titillationThe worst example of this in the book is Germaine Greer However this is me ranting emotionally I cannot stand Germaine Greer Let s leave at that shall weIust found all of Moran s arguments totally one sided narrow minded and slightly creepy for their complete inability to take the full picture into account Another example of this was her burlesue vs stripping argument I know next to nothing abou either but I would be very surprised if burlesue was made for women by women as Moran claims to state What was most mind boggling about this book though was Moran s inability to accept her own uirkiness I really hate the word uirky but there is no other way to describe it For instance her father said to her Remember you re a Womble before walking her down the aisle and oh how I laughed Her mum yelled out about her pubic hair in front of her father and her various mixed sex siblings I don t think that normal really exists but I do think that Moran has particularly uniue experiences which she undermines by behaving as though they are commonplace I ve never known a single woman who has named her vagina or her breasts That being said I am as I said above seventeen I m aware that this might be a problem I run into later in life when I might actually have to address either of those two anatomatical areas rather than ust avoiding them altogether But Moran presents all of this stuff as totally normal Yes all women have weird names for their vaginas Yes all women have weird names for their breasts But Moran has a whole Twitter community to back her up on those things However I would bet that most of the women who replied were the ones who ran into this problem as Moran herself obviously has It seems that on Twitter if you don t have anything to add you don t SAY that you have nothing to add You ust don t add anything I would be very surprised if Moran received many tweets that could be summarised as lol what or no I don t do that shit and eually if the Tweeters who replied to her made up any than a minority of the female British population ETA also I was having a uick look at the uotes page on our very own Goodreads and I could not help but see thisIf you want to know what s in motherhood for you as a woman then in truth it s nothing you couldn t get from say reading the 100 greatest books in human history learning a foreign language well enough to argue in it climbing hills loving recklessly sitting uietly alone in the dawn drinking whisky with revolutionaries learning to do close hand magic swimming in a river in winter growing foxgloves peas and roses calling your mum singing while you walk being polite and always always helping strangers No one has ever claimed for a moment that childless men have missed out on a vital aspect of their existence and were the poorer and crippled by it Note I believe that both men and women have a right to have or not have children and that women without children should not be treated as emotional cripples for it Although I do actually feel as though Moran short changed the Zones bleues - Les secrets de la longvit joy of having children but maybe that s what you get for being raised by a mother who was by her own admission absolutely desperate to have them But am I the only one who sees the problem with this uote She says that Nothing in motherhood is something you couldn t get fromcalling your mum I didn t notice this when I read it I don t read that closely dudes but seriously Moran hasust used evidence of a would be mother s motherchild relationship with her own mother as a reason why you shouldn t have children My opinion seriously faulty analysis If ringing your own mother gives you such happiness why wouldn t you want to pass that on God now I sound like someone who is advocating the all women must have babies stance I m ust making the point that I don t think Moran is helping her case here Even where Moran cannot really be faulted on her analysis such as in weddings or in her Why You ShouldShouldn t Have Children sections although I was pissed that Why You Should Have Children seemed to revolve almost totally around her own experiences of childbirth it is not the revolutionary piece of literature the back blurb hails It s very blah very typical Nothing you couldn t see every other day in one magazine or another She even presents stuff that seem to be part of accepted culture like the fact that weddings cost too much for too little as though she is the first person ever to have thought of them Even during the Why You ShouldShouldn t Have Children sections I found myself saying Well I could have told you that And as a seventeen year old who has never been pregnant or even babysat a child I m pretty sure that shows how stale pathetic and shallow most of Moran s supposedly fresh insight wasIn short this long vitriolic review can be summed up in one letterDear Caitlin MoranPlease do not let anyone market your book as The Female Eunuch if it is in fact a pretty good memoir hiding behind some stereotypically teenage standard analysisThank you Let me be clear from the outset I am a Feminist Yes I might have a willy but I believe very firmly in the social political and economic euality of the sexes To be honest the issue for me lies with those who do NOT believe in this If anything we should stop talking so much about feminism and spend time heaping shame on those idiot men and women who continue to believe that a woman s place is in the home or a strip club or behind ?r bhn så obekväm Och varför frågar alla när man ska skaffa barnBoken börjar på Caitlin Morans bedrövliga 13 årsdag hon väger 80 kilo har inga vänner och pojkar kastar grus efter henne och fortsätter genom tonårstiden till arbetspla.

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Caitlin Moran had literally no friends in 1990 and so had plenty of time to write her first novel The Chronicles of Narmo at the age of fifteen At sixteen she joined music weekly Melody Maker and at eighteen briefly presented the pop show 'Naked City' on Channel 4 Following this precocious start she then put in eighteen solid years as a columnist on The Times – both as a TV critic and also