Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

About the Book

1913 – Suffragette throws herself under the King’s horse.

1969 – Feminists storm Miss World.

NOW – Caitlin Moran rewrites The Female Eunuch from a bar stool and demands to know why pants are getting smaller.

There’s never been a better 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 you get Botox? Do men secretly hate us? What should you call your vagina? Why does your bra hurt? And why does everyone ask you when you’re going to have a baby?

Part memoir, part rant, Caitlin Moran answers these questions and more in How To Be A Woman – following her from her terrible 13th birthday (‘I am 13 stone, have no friends, and boys throw gravel at me when they see me’) through adolescence, the workplace, strip-clubs, love, fat, abortion, TopShop, motherhood and beyond.


There comes a time in everyone’s life when you sit back and think ‘What is it all for?’ – Yeah, unashamedly, I found myself stumped by this very question. WHAT THE HELL WAS I PUT ON THIS GOD FORSAKEN EARTH FOR! I yelled to the heavens one night – Shawshank Redemption style (except I wasn’t covered in poo).

I found myself gorging pizza at my dear friend Melissa’s house one Thursday night; that night changed my life in more ways than one could ever imagine. As we ate our body weights in pizza and guzzled wine, she handed me How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. ‘You have to read it!’ she said to me enthusiastically jabbing the cover with her forefinger.

I have never claimed to be a feminist; with stereotypes clouding my vision of angry butch women with unshaved armpits marching around slapping men till they cried or maybe I wasn’t exposed enough to the clues of feminism. I should have been, with a mother who refused (and still does) to marry my father because it would somehow compromise her independence – strange, maybe? But at the age of 23, a baby on her hip she carved her career and reared a family. Surely, someone should have sat me down and said ‘Open your eyes, dearest Kelly!’

Now I am getting all preachy, but from the moment I cracked this book open Caitlin Moran clawed her way into my heart and my funny bone. Her sense of humour almost drowned me in the bath with lines like ‘Get me a Kit-Kat, I just bumped my tit on the door’. She spoke to the heart of womanhood as I found myself growing angry at things that were stopping me from being a ‘woman’.

Every woman should own a copy, buy a copy and covet it like our very own secret coded bible. From waxing, motherhood, abortion and shoes to knowing that being a woman is far more than tits and arse, Moran gives you the tools, laughs and permission to eat at will. 

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 in the most-read part of the paper, the satirical celebrity column ‘Celebrity Watch’ – winning the British Press Awards’ Columnist of The Year award in 2010 and Critic and Interviewer of the Year in 2011.

The eldest of eight children, home-educated in a council house in Wolverhampton, Caitlin read lots of books about feminism – mainly in an attempt to be able to prove to her brother, Eddie, that she was scientifically better than him. Caitlin isn’t really her name. She was christened ‘Catherine’. But she saw ‘Caitlin’ in a Jilly Cooper novel when she was 13 and thought it looked exciting. That’s why she pronounces it incorrectly: ‘Catlin’. It causes trouble for everyone.
Find the Author


LinkHelpers search engine optimization Seattle view site said...

I found this book so relatable and moving- I kept thinking, "Yes! I know exactly what you mean!" I feel that often women do not identify themselves as feminist today, when that is exactly what we are! Caitlin Moran has given me the courage to shout, "I am a feminist!" Now if only I could get my husband to read it.

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