How To Be A Woman is awesome! It is hilarious. Caitlin Moran's memoir had so much hype that I was a little concerned and I wasn't sure if I should buy it. Then, luckily I won it (thanks Lucybird!) and I knew I had to read it right away.
I'm a feminist. (My teenage self is so embarrassed.) Modern Feminism needs to be championed by all women, not just academics. It’s not just about the big stuff, but the little stuff too. If you're a woman and you want the freedom to do what the men are doing, then you're a feminist. If you want freedom, period, you're a feminist. Feminism is about equality, not women being better than men. Moran’s definition on page 79 is simple and straight to the point.
I remember in high school various students saying how they hated a particular teacher, because she was strict and a feminist. I think that was the first time I was made to feel that feminism was in some way undesirable. It's not. Feminists still have fun, they party, have sex, get married, have babies and all the other stuff that women do. That teacher ended up being one of my favourite teachers ever. I could go on and on about the great gaps in gender equality (from genderized toys and books to the fact that Canadian women make 73% of what men do* - 76% is the average for the developed world) but I'm going to stop here, because this isn't a rant about feminism. This is about how much I loved Caitlin Moran's memoir.
Moran goes through most of her life, from 13 to 35, the time in which she becomes a woman. She doesn't talk about every single thing that has ever happened to her. What she does tell us about are those moments that helped her to become the woman she is. She decided at a young age, 13, she would be a feminist, so even during her drinking, party, snogging years, she was still a feminist. The first time she has to deal with sexism is so odd and funny and unbelievable (since she was also a teenager). There was so much I could relate too, like having children. The first chapter on her period is kind of scary. I laughed out loud when I was reading about Moran and her husband changing diapers. I also love the story about Lady Gaga.
Moran talks about some very personal issues and events in her life, but each issue is relevant to women. Because she does it with humour and flair, I believe that How To Be A Woman is accessible to every woman. It is probably the only book I will ever say that every woman should read. Do I think men should read it? Yes and no, but mostly yes. It depends on how squeemish they are. I think they might learn something about what it is women have to deal with. The chapters about sexism and boyfriends would be helpful. If you have daughters, the chapters on periods and other adolescent issues might be give you some insight. Also, men, if you want your daughters, sisters, wives, to be treated the same as men, thought of as equally capable, paid the same, not subject to sexism, then you're feminists too.
*Seriously?! 73%?! I'm going to tell you, I work just as hard as any man and I better not be getting 27% less than what I'm worth. I'm the first one here every day. If I ever find out that this is the case, I will bring down a giant s#*& storm.
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