reginadelmar’s #CBR5 review #47 How to be a Woman by Caitlan Moran

10600242

I started this book about 6 months ago, then picked it up again read a few chapters, then again, until I finished it. Caitlin Moran is pretty funny, although I found the interviews I heard on the radio funnier than the book I finally completed The book is primarily an autobiography with a dash of feminism here and there.

Moran’s views on feminism aren’t terribly radical.  She believes that any woman who wants to be free to do what she wants should consider herself a feminist.  As she says we need to reclaim the word “feminism.” Citing a survey that less than 30% of American women and 42% of British women consider themselves feminists, she says:  “What do you think feminism IS, ladies” What part of “liberation for women” is not for you” IS it freedom to vote?” The right not to be owned by the man you marry?” The campaign for equal pay? “Vogue by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good shit GET ON YOUR NERVES? Or were you just DRUNK AT THE TIME OF THE SURVEY?“ Ok, the use of all caps is really irritating (and she does this a lot) but she does make a good point. 

Moran doesn’t believe that all men secretly hate women, and she doesn’t think that feminism’s biggest problem is women turning on each other.  She may tick of a few folks with her statement that “women haven’t done F’all for the last 100,000 years.” To her credit, she doesn’t suggest that the past must dictate the future; rather, she’s simply conceding that thousands of years of patriarchy are not easily undone.

Moran spends a lot of time covering the insecurities of women, particularly about appearance and weight through the lens of her adolescence and adulthood.  It works, it’s funny, and lets face it, what most women think about their own appearance is pretty f’d up. 

To sum up, Moran is against burkas, heels, strip bars and cosmetic surgery, and pro-choice, pro freedom, and pro being yourself.  And she’s funny.  Good enough. 

Sophia’s #CBR5 Review #16: How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran

I first discovered How To Be A Woman (2011) by Caitlin Moran back when it wasn’t really available in the United States. I wanted to read it right away, but  I waited until it was available How To Be A Womanat my library. Now that I’ve finally gotten around to reading it, it seems to be one of the most read books on Cannonball. I guess that makes my review easier. Since everyone’s already read and reviewed it, I don’t have much to add.

According to Wikipedia, Caitlin Moran is a British broadcaster, TV critic, and columnist at The Times. I had never heard of her before reading How To Be A Woman, but this book is more about what Moran has to say than her public figure. Moran discusses growing up poor and unpopular in Wolverhampton, England as she opines on feminism and other issues often faced by women, such as: high heels, Brazilians, handbags, pornography, strippers, and abortion. Moran has strong, clear, well-thought out opinions, and she comes at each of her topics with enough humor that even if I disagreed with her, I could still understand her point.

Read the rest of my review here.

 

Petalfrog’s #CBR5 Review #11: How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

I unabashedly love this book. Part memoir and part self-guide book, Caitlin Moran loads up her debut with wacky anecdotes, but also a brash look at her emerging womanhood. She talks porn, masturbation, feminism, cursing, drugs, baby making, random sex, weddings, and abortion. When I read this book over Christmas break, I devoured it in just a few days and was laughing out loud on the plane. I highlighted so much of the text on my Kindle, that you’d think I was studying for a major exam.

I love this cover

I read so many mystery thrillers, and choose books that make me feel escapist and not like I need to think too hard. I get enough of that when I look up Yahoo news and feel my mind boggle over some of the ways people think and view the world. I think that’s why, while much of this book really struck me, I most enjoyed the discussions on sexism and feminism.

I’m a feminist too!

“Most sexism is down to men being accustomed to us being the losers. That’s what the problem is. We just have bad status. Men are accustomed to us being runners-up or being disqualified entirely.”

“In more primitive times—what I would personally regard as any time before the release of Working Girl in 1988—the winners were always going to be those both physically strong enough to punch an antelope to the ground and whose libido didn’t end up with them getting pregnant, then dying in childbirth.”

As someone who doesn’t appear to have a biological clock, even at age 30, and is fortunate enough to not have felt societal pressure in that regard (thank God for still being in grad school… best excuse!), her discussion of the choice to have kids felt so true and real to me:

“Every woman who chooses—joyfully, thoughtfully, calmly, of her own free will and desire—not to have a child does womankind a massive favor in the long term. We need more women who are allowed to prove their worth as people, rather than being assessed merely for their potential to create new people.”

She’s a mom and doesn’t think I HAVE to be one too? Love it!

“While motherhood is an incredible vocation, it has no more inherent worth than a childless woman simply being who she is, to the utmost of her capabilities. To think otherwise betrays a belief that being a thinking, creative, productive, and fulfilled woman is, somehow, not enough.”

This book has been reviewed so much on the Cannonball Read and all over the internet, so I won’t go on too much except to say that I love this book and I can’t recommend it higher to all women and people who love women. Caitlin Moran will get you laughing, crying, and most importantly, thinking. What a woman!

Read more reviews on my blog!

Kira’s #CBR5 Review #8: How to Be a Woman, by Caitlin Moran

howtobeIt’s only through sheer fortuitous timing that the week I read a book on feminism, Seth MacFarlane goes on national television to offend a zillion people with uninspired jokes about actresses’ boobs. And since I’ve been presented with such a timely opportunity to discuss gender as it’s portrayed in modern society, let’s conduct a big of a thought exercise—looking at Seth MacFarlane’s Oscar performance through the lens of Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman.

Throughout her book’s 300-odd pages, Moran eschews characterizations of feminism that rely on lofty terminology or soul-searching investigations of social mores. Her own definition on the subject essentially boils down to two key tenets: 1) An environment of equality is one in which, quite simply, “everyone is being polite to each other” and 2) When  one is unsure whether or not they’ve been presented with a bit of sexism—or, as Moran sometimes puts it, a bit of  ”total fucking bullshit—one must simply ask oneself: “Are the men doing it?” That’s it, feminism deconstructed. Continue reading

dsbs42’s #CBR5 Review #3: How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

howtobewoman

I’ve read a lot of reviews that criticized Moran’s condemnation of the word “fat” while simultaneously calling people “retards” and making outlandish comparisons between that darned patriarchy and, for example, starving orphans, and I’m not sure this is entirely fair. For one thing, I didn’t read the “fat” chapter as an order to stop using the word, but more of a caution raising the awareness of what it can do to people. And for another, having scanned some reviews on Goodreads, it seems that the version I’m reading has been edited for the States, and I may be missing some of the more offensive phrasing.

However, even when I disagreed with Moran’s points or conclusions, the tone of the book is friendly and conversational. I think part of what irritates people is the fact that her manner tends to suggest that her thoughts and opinions are the be-all and end-all, but I talk like that too, and that doesn’t mean I think that my word is the final word – it’s just a manner of speaking. We think it makes us sound funnier. So I’m less inclined to get my back up about the things I disagree with.

Really, How To Be a Woman succeeded far more as a funny memoir in the vein of Jenny Lawson‘s, and less as a feminist screed, but Moran has a lot of interesting things to say, and is fearless in saying them. Whether you agree with her or not, she gives you a lot to think about, and new ways to think about it. If you’re looking for something to read the next time you’re snowed in the house, you could do a lot worse.

Read the whole review here!