Oh this book is a must read. How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran is blisteringly honest, laugh out loud funny and lets you into the mind of a witty, charming, ballsy, and sometimes lost woman.
The first part of the book goes through the difficulties of growing up as a girl. I love that she recounts the difficulties of "becoming furry". It reminded me that in eighth grade all the girls were talking about shaving. I had nothing to shave, but I felt like I had to so I took a dry razor to my legs. Yeah- imagine how that went. I also love that she went on a rant against Brazilians and this quote had me laughing out loud in public and trying to hide I was laughing and so I looked like I was having a fit: "grow your little minge-fro back! Be Hair Now!"
Another favorite quote was when she pointed out how to be a feminist."Put your hand in your underpants. a) Do you have a vagina? and b) Do you want to be in charge of it? If you said "yes" to both, then congratulations! You're a feminist."
I would like to point out that men can be feminists and I think it is awesome that men are feminists. But when we have women in the public eye who say things like 'I believe in equal rights, but I'm not a feminist'. Then yes, we need to return to the basics. Have a vagina- well, you've just won the feminist lottery. Embrace it. Better yet, embrace other feminists.
One of my other favorite parts of the books is when she talks about overeating. She states that, "Overeating is the addiction of choice of carers, and that's why it's come to be regarded as the lowest-ranking of all the addictions. It's a way of fucking yourself up while still remaining fully functional, because you have to. Fat people aren't destructing in a way that doesn't inconvenience anyone. And that's why it's so often a woman's addiction of choice" That was the most refreshing way of speaking about overeating that I have heard. Instead of blame she recognizes that it is a functional addiction and hey, why don't we treat it like that.
One other point that she made really resonated with my views and why I opened Meandering Design. We have this assumption that off the rack, or ready to wear, means that we will put it on and it will fit like a dream. The reality is completely different.
Before the high street, women would make their own clothes or see a dressmaker, so that everything we wore was an honest expression of who we were, and what we were comfortable with-within the constraints of fashion at the time, anyway.With the advent of mass fashion, however, not a single item of clothing sold is "for" the woman who buys it. Everything we see in Topshop and Zara and Urban Outfitters and Next and New Look is made for a wholly imaginary woman- an idea in the designer's head- and we buy it if we like it say, 70 percent. That's about as good as it gets. We rarely, if ever, find something that is 100 percent "us", that we truly desire- although we never admit this to oursleves.
That is just a sample of some of the fabulousness that you will find in How To Be A Woman. I highly recommend it and while there were a couple of points I didn't agree with her on, overall the book made me stop and think about what being a woman is really like in today's society. You can find it in ebook form at Women & Children First. Or it is available at the Chicago Public Library.
Originally published 5/12/14