Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How to Be a Woman -- Need Help?

Image credit. 

Caitlin Moran is a British broadcaster, TV critic and columnist at The Times, where she writes three columns a week: one for the Saturday Magazine, a TV review column, and the satirical Friday column "Celebrity Watch". Moran is British Press Awards (BPA) Columnist of the Year for 2010, and both BPA Critic of the Year 2011, and Interviewer of the Year 2011.

And I totally ripped that off of Wikipedia because I didn't know Caitlin Moran before I read How to Be a Woman. Now I know a lot about Caitlin Moran. How she feels about boobs and lingerie and p0rn and abortion and relationships and feminism and stuff. I know about her career and her past relationships and I know how she came to be a feminism today -- in the fifth wave. 

Let's just put it out there, shall we? How to Be a Woman is a damn fun book. It was a joy to read often making me cackle in public places and snork in the company of strangers. This mostly happened when I was stuck in the car dealership and actually had some unadulterated time to spend with Moran and her life and her beliefs. It was the quiet time together that made me really like this book. Dipping in and out of it willy nilly wasn't such a winning way to go (that's how it started out).

What we have here is basically a memoir of Moran's life, loves, and experiences all wound up in practical feminism. Moran is not Germaine Greer -- who she writes about a few times throughout the book. Moran's subject is what feminism means today in what some people label a "post feminist world." Malarky she says! 

And this is exactly what some readers will dislike about this book. Some will say it's not serious enough. Too fluffy, too personal, not militant or aggressive enough. But it was enough for me. Feminism, for me personally, is wanting to still be considered equal to men, and not feeling pressured to fulfill typical roles or associations tagged to women. If you like uncomfortable lingerie, go for it. But one shouldn't be expected to get a Brazilian by the nebulous "they" to be considered attractive. 

See? Practical feminism. A do-what-you-want, live-how-you-will approach to sisterhood. Don't be bitches to each other, don't tear each other down, live and let live and live long and prosper and stuff. I think it's the way most women think and live now. That doesn't mean it isn't feminism. Wear the bra or burn it. Just do what makes you happy without PRESSURE. 

This book is not without controversy or hot topics, though. It's not an all-too-nice vanilla-ville memoir. The chapter on abortion laid me out flat. In tears, quivering chin, in public. It's on issues like these that Moran's real writing chops show through, even though her take is not going to be popular with everyone. This was a gritty, honest, ugly chapter. In short, it's about her decision to abort her third child. She has two girls, she got pregnant a third time, and she could not imagine her life going through it all again. She could not imagine the pain of it, or the putting her life on hold again, or the sleeplessness and hormonal hell and emotional reeling. She could not be a parent again. Her husband agreed, and she went through it. She describes the procedure itself in graphic, matter-of-fact terms, and despite the ugliness she felt in the procedure, she still believes she made the right decision for her life. That had to be a hard thing to write. 

For her honesty, I applaud her endlessly.

Is this book for everyone? No. Did I enjoy it? Heck yeah. Will definitely read Moranthology

Snuggle (and a high five) -- Skewer

Pub. Date: July 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: ARC
ISBN-13: 9780062124296
Source: Passed along from a friend.

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