Sunday, April 29, 2012

How to be a Woman

How to be a Woman by  Caitlin Moran 
Source: Nook, on recommendation from a friend

Goodreads Summary:

1913 – Suffragette throws herself under the King’s horse.
1969 – Feminists storm Miss World.
NOW – Caitlin Moran rewrites The Female Eunuch from a bar stool and demands to know why pants are getting smaller.

There’s never been a better time to be a woman: we have the vote and the Pill, and we haven’t been burnt as witches since 1727. However, a few nagging questions do remain…

Why are we supposed to get Brazilians? Should you get Botox? Do men secretly hate us? What should you call your vagina? Why does your bra hurt? And why does everyone ask you when you’re going to have a baby?

Part memoir, part rant, Caitlin Moran answers these questions and more in How To Be A Woman – following her from her terrible 13th birthday (‘I am 13 stone, have no friends, and boys throw gravel at me when they see me’) through adolescence, the workplace, strip-clubs, love, fat, abortion, TopShop, motherhood and beyond

My thoughts:

I thought this book was hilarious, surprisingly feminist, and identifiable for women.  I did not have a childhood remotely like hers, yet parts of the book resonated with me.  She was a chubby kid; so was I.  Those moments echoed my childhood.  I absolutely died laughing when she talked about her childhood crush on Chevy Chase,  and had to read that part alound to my husband between giggle fits to the point where I had to reread it to him so he could understand it.

She talks about topics that you don't read everyday in books - female masturbation, what to name your boobs, porn, childbirth, marriage and about hair removal in certain areas of your body.  She talked about the difference between strip clubs and burlesque, and having attended a burlesque Alice in Wonderland show, I admit I can see the difference.  Burlesque is more of an art form, telling a story or pantomime, where strip clubs are a place men go to to see women take off their clothes.  To each their own in my opinion, but she said that one is about embracing the sexuality of women where the other isn't.  (paraphrasing here)

The feminist parts came as a surprise to me; I didn't know this book was anything other than a memoir.  I thought the feminism was out of place, I would be laughing along with a story from her childhood and bam! There it was.  I don't know if it was because I wasn't expecting it, but it just seemed out of place, and there to give the book more depth. 

I enjoyed this book, and Moran's writing style.  I recommend this book to those who don't mind reading about the things women usually keep secret about themselves or any woman who likes to read amusing memoirs by people who grew up in England. (or anywhere)

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