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The how tos and the how not tos
How To Be a Woman - Caitlin Moran
Member Name: mmepapillon
How To Be a Woman - Caitlin Moran
Date: 22/12/11, updated on 22/12/11 (11 review reads)
Advantages: Bold, witty, a breath of fresh air
Disadvantages: too crude
Outline - How To Be A Woman is a new title from TV critic, columnist and broadcaster Caitlin (pronounced Catlin) Moran. Released in June 2011 it has fast become a best seller and features on the 'top 20' best selling books in most high street book stores. Caitlin cleverly takes us on a journey of her lifelong discovery of 'How To Be A Woman' starting from age 13 and ending with her outlook on her latter years to come. Whilst exploring the highs and lows of her self discovery and self awareness and graphically looking at common issues nearly all women face such as furry bits, bleeding and the ups and downs of childbirth, Caitlin outlines her perspective on today's woman in light of years of feminist waves.
Positives - The book is superb in many ways. Not only does it confidently approach a great deal of issues previously avoided, such as 'what to call your vagina' it also outspokenly but very aptly demolishes the over-the-top political correctness that can often be applied to feminism and women in general. ('Having a (female) cleaner is nothing to do with feminism'). The book will make you laugh, make you nod in approval and make you want to stand on a soap box and shout at the top of your voice 'I AM A FEMINIST'.
Caitlin is brutally honest and open in her approach, sharing both intimate details about her life to illustrate her point and bold, much-needed yet refreshing opinions about twenty-first century feminism. Whilst I am no expert on feminism and do not scour the bookshelves reading every book I can, to my knowledge there has not been a book like this for quite some time. And the ones that do exist can often be so wishy washy, that they never really have any impact on society's potentially inaccurate and still dreadfully stereotypical knowledge of 'women'. I love this book for the very reason that Moran does not pussy-foot around the issue, discussing various approaches to feminism; she boldly states it how it is, not how it should be once society has added a lot of PC, and minused the sexism and stereotyes. Her bold statements such as 'the purpose of feminism isn't to make a particular type of woman' and 'what is feminism? Simply the belief that women should be as free as men' are dynamic, impacting are a breath of fresh air in an other wise stale and outdated era.
Negatives - A book definitely not for the faint hearted! In as much as Caitlin is bold, brave and outspoken in a good way, she is also a bit to over the top at times. Whilst this is good for the most part as it portrays her points well, I do feel that these same points could be made without the brutality, crudeness and cringeworthy detail which most women would be ashamed to admit. Maybe this is part of the book's success, however it does limit it's audience; definitely not a Christmas present for your mum! In addition, there are definite parts which should be in a book entitled 'How Not To Be A Woman' - the drug taking, the neglect of antinatal classes and the promotion of going out on the pull. A matter of opinion, but this did ruin the book for me a bit.
Conclusion - Overall, whilst the book took a while to get into and a while to get into the swing of Caitlin's style of writing I loved this book, particularly the postscript which was a fantastic summary and evaluation of feminism and what women should be - 'just human'! It laughs in the face of years of dedication to such a movement and reveals its essence in the simple phrase - that women are not arguing for a 'take over from men... just our share'.
How To Be A Woman is a must read for any modern, feisty woman who is bored of traditional feminism and wants someone with the 'ladyballs' to say something. A definite no no for your Gran however!
Summary: How To Be A Woman is a must read for any modern, feisty woman who is bored of traditional feminism a