I’ve just finished reading “How to be a Woman” by Caitlin Moran. This is going against the usual type of book i read because it’s “part memoir, part rant” as it says on the back cover, not something i usually go for. However, i saw Caitlin Moran being interviewed at the London Book Fair and was inspired to go and read her book.
The blurb on the back cover reads:
“It’s a good time to be a woman: we have the vote and the Pill, and we haven’t been burnt as witches since 1727. However, a few nagging questions do remain… Why are we supposed to get Brazilians? Should we use Botox? Do men secretly hate us? And why does everyone ask you when you’re going to have a baby?”
Women (in the Western world at least) can hardly complain about equality so much these days, so is there still a need for feminism? Yes, there is, but there is a new kind of feminism now, and that is what Moran is talking about. She ponders the things women all go through as they hit puberty and beyond, from the more intimate and physical changes we go through, to the universal questions every woman has.
We discover how she herself coped through puberty and discovering who she is, and wondering what things mean to her and to others. As she grows older, new problems arise and we see how she coped with them, from first loves to marriage to babies. She rants about all the things which affect women, especially our appearances and the ongoing maintenance needed, while annoyed that men don’t have to worry about it.
Obviously one of the biggest things about being a woman is the baby question: When are you going to have a baby? Moran points out that once you hit a certain age, people start asking you this, and she discusses the pros and cons of having children. She tells us about her experiences of pregnancy and childbirth and how very different they both were for her. It’s refreshing to hear the truth about what really goes through your head while experiencing these things!
Moran is very frank about the things she thinks and feels, and while sometimes it might be a bit too much information, you can’t deny that you yourself have had these thoughts from time to time but won’t admit it to others. I found the section on abortion a little difficult to read, being against abortion myself, but i’m glad that she had the guts to tell the world what it is like, after all it is quite a taboo subject.
I give this book 8/10 because it is funny and honest, and you can totally relate to her experiences and thoughts as a woman, because she is basically describing everything you are thinking and you realise that we are all the same underneath, no matter how much we pretend to the world! I really recommend this book to every woman to read, and i’m sure men should read it too if they want to understand women a bit more! I really enjoyed this book!
A few great quotes from the book:
[On periods] – “At this juncture, it seems there is absolutely nothing to recommend being a woman. Sex hormones are a b**** that have turned me from a blithe child into a bleeding, weeping, fainting washerwoman.”
[On Feminism] – “It is really important that you say these words out loud. ‘I AM A FEMINIST.’ If you feel you cannot say it – not even standing on the ground – i would be alarmed. It’s probably one of the most important things a woman will ever say: the equal of ‘I love you’, ‘Is it a boy or a girl?’ or ‘No! I’ve changed my mind! Do NOT cut me a fringe!’”
[On strip clubs] – “Are we really saying that strip clubs are just wonderful charities that allow women – well, the pretty, thin ones, anyway: presumably the fatter, plainer ones have to do whatever it is all the male students are doing – to get degrees? I can’t believe women supposedly in further education are that stupid.”
[On motherhood] – “Women are so frequently scared about their biological clocks – ‘YOU’VE ONLY GOT TWO YEARS LEFT TO HAVE A BABY!’ – that they never get the chance to consider if they actually care or not if the damn thing grinds to a halt…. there’s a risk of women panicking and having a baby, ‘just in case’.”
[On celebrity women] - “A ‘sign of weakness’ for a woman…. can be a single, unflattering picture.”