Friday, March 14, 2014

Book review: How to Be a Woman

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on Goodreads!

Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven't been burned as witches since 1727, life isn't exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them?

Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women's lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from the riot of adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother. With rapier wit, Moran slices right to the truth—whether it's about the workplace, strip clubs, love, fat, abortion, popular entertainment, or children—to jump-start a new conversation about feminism. With humor, insight, and verve, How To Be a Woman lays bare the reasons female rights and empowerment are essential issues not only for women today but also for society itself.

This was one of the books I got through my local library's Blind Date with a Book program last month. Funny, I don't think it quite worked out -- I was hoping to pick up something I'd never otherwise pick up, but apparently I already wanted to read this one as it was on my Goodreads to-read list! Still, it may have taken me months to get there without the Blind Date.


My first thought is that this book is not for the faint of heart / squeamish. Which you wouldn't think gong in. Moran chronicles her rise to feminism through detailing her personal history -- stories which include starting her period and figuring out what to call her genitals in conversation. The first couple chapters are pretty blunt, I guess. So know that going in.

Also, there's a graphic chapter about abortion. So, you can just skip that, too. I wish I had been warned.

ALL THAT BEING SAID: Moran has a great way of taking Feminism with a capital F and making it seem normal. (Which I personally think it is, or should be.) My generation has been known to have a negative image of Feminism -- angry women who hate men and are out to get them. Basically.

But Moran has simpler ways of looking at feminism and women's rights. One piece, which I loved, is if something feels funny, ask yourself -- are the men doing this? (whatever this is -- shaving, feeling compelled to expose lots of skin, etc. etc.) If the dudes don't feel compelled to do whatever it is and the ladies do, that's a pretty great sign something shady is going down.

All in all, I think this was a great way to contextualize some of the daily battles still left for women. If you can make it through the initial chapters about periods and anatomy, and if you skip the abortion chapter, it's a pretty good read.

Have any of you read How to Be a Woman? What did you think?


Kate said...

I'm really glad you did a review of this one! I've seen it pop up here and there, but I was never able to decide if I should give it a shot or not. This makes me want to add it to my to-read list!

Marley Marie said...

I haven't read this one but I've also seen it around! Good tip about skipping the abortion section, not sure my stomach could handle that! But, I do like the general idea of the book and the fact that she adds anecdotes from her own life.

Katie said...

I LOVED THIS BOOK! I read it right after I read "Let's Pretend This Never Happened" by Jenny Lawson. Both are amazing.

The Lady Okie said...

I saw your good reads review of this one. Sounds interesting! I'd never heard of it before.


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