Book Review: Caitlin Moran’s “How to be a Woman”

So I read a review some time ago about this book over at RottenBooks.

How to be a Woman

After giving up on reading actual books from the library, I downloaded Caitlin Moran’s how to be a woman and quickly gobbled it up in a few days. I had only ever seen the one positive review of it, but my girlfriend told me that she had seen other feminist bloggers give it negative reviews. I decided to avoid all talk about it until I could read it myself, and make my own conclusions.

I loved it.

The book was very easy to get into as a “A part memoir, part rant”. Caitlin writes very informally, allowing me to feel a strong connection to her. Almost as if we’re sitting in a cafe in London, and she’s telling me all it over some drinks and laughter.

Personally a lot of the book did not apply to me. I don’t go around fretting about my wardrobe or about £600 designer purses. I’ve already come to the conclusion that I personally do not want to give birth to any children. But I can still connect the the novel, even in this instances. She discusses all the expectations that are placed on women to conform to these types of things (gender, fashion, beauty, children) and shreds them to their core.

As I skipped merrily throughout this memoir I was wondering to myself, who can really take affront to this book? I suppose the abortion chapter could really disturb some, as she takes no apologetic stance in saying that her body is her own, and damn to all who try to enforce their expectations of what she does with it. I already agree with that, so I just nodded my way fiercely through the chapter.

I was also very pleased that the book is thoroughly sprinkled with humor. As she writes about the things that are wrong with our society, she points out the logical fallacies of each. At one point while writing about what we as women subject ourselves in regards to our underwear she quotes a friend whose skimpy underwear has disappeared into her vagina: “I’m currently wearing them on my clit — like a tiny hat”. And why would we subject ourselves to such nonsense? For the possibility (as Moran points out) that we’ll suddenly be stripping naked throughout the day to have sex in a brightly lit room?

I really recommend you give it a read. She’s brash and doesn’t filter anything. There is nothing polite about this book, just as there is nothing polite about the patriarchy and way women are treated. I think there should be more takes on feminism like this. Loud, proud, and not hiding anything.

Amazon link to “How to be a Woman”


About feministsailor

Lots of shitty sexist things happen to me in the Navy! So I’d like to tell you about it. Also, I curse like a Sailor. Sorry if that offends you.
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3 Responses to Book Review: Caitlin Moran’s “How to be a Woman”

  1. This is a great post! How To Be A Woman is one of the best books I’ve ever read. xx

  2. canbebitter says:

    I loved the book too! (I have a post about it as well.) Even though I disagreed with her on some points, I really don’t understand the negative reviews. I’m glad it’s generated so much discussion though anyway – the more feminist conversations, the better.

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