Before I start, can I just say I was so happy with all the fantastic comments on my angry post about unemployment the other day. I was half expecting to get comments along the lines of ‘suck it up, Emily’ so it was great to hear that other people are or have been in the same boat, and that I’m not just being pathetic. So thanks, you lovely humans!
There were a few things about Caitlin Moran’s ‘How To Be A Woman’ that I didn’t like-
1) It seemed very sloppy in parts. The sentence structure and word choices were sometimes very poor, giving the impression that it had been thrown together hastily and not checked very thoroughly. For example, Lady GaGa ‘slowing bleeding to death’ on page 257. Should that not be slowly? (Correct me if I’m wrong.)
2) Caps lock, punctuation, brackets. Just stop.
3) Occasionally it seemed a lot like an angry, excited blog post. I suppose, given that it is classed as ‘part memoir, part rant’ I should have expected this. I enjoy reading and writing angry, excited blog posts but I felt like it didn’t work as well in a book. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, though.
Now that’s over with, I can begin to gush. I loved this book! I actually bought it from Waterstones (something I never do) and fully intended to put it to one side and read it when I was finished with other books. I made the mistake, though, of reading the first page, and then I couldn’t stop. Despite what I said above, I really enjoyed Moran’s writing style. It seemed like I was personally being told a story by a very funny friend. The stories that involved her sister Caz were particularly hilarious – from “if you’re going to try and tell me how much you enjoy wanking” to drinking cystitis medicine and vodka from a mug.
The bad reviews of it that I’ve read, specifically on Goodreads, seem to have a problem with the fact that it is not a) an actual rulebook on how to be a woman or b) a serious, intellectual, sociological feminist study. I didn’t expect it to be either of these things, and it wasn’t, and all the better for it. I didn’t want to read either of these things (not today, anyway: I have a book called ‘Rules for a Lady’, and I’ve read a decent amount of ~serious feminist books~) and I was glad that it was a fairly light-hearted and relatable account of the things that normal women have to put up with on a day-to-day basis, and reasons why it is, as Moran says, “total fucking bullshit.” Rather than writing about the ethics and principles of abortion, she writes about her own abortion. Rather than discussing weddings in an abstract way, Moran discusses her own wedding.
Here is my favourite quote from the book-
These days, however, I am much calmer – since I realised that it’s technically impossible for a woman to argue against feminism. Without feminism, you wouldn’t be allowed to have a debate on women’s place in society. You’d be too busy giving birth on the kitchen floor – biting down on a wooden spoon, so as not to disturb the men’s card game – before going back to quick-liming the dunny. This is why those female columnists in the Daily Mail – giving daily wail against feminism – amuse me. They paid you £1,600 for that, dear, I think. And I bet it’s going in your bank account, and not your husband’s. The more women argue loudly, against feminism, the more they both prove it exists and that they enjoy its hard-won privileges.