Wednesday, November 14, 2012
How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
Caitlin Moran's How to Be a Woman opens with a story of her thirteenth birthday, when she was chased down by a group of boys who did not recognize her as a girl. They threw rocks at her and called her names. Moran escaped and sought solace from her German Shepard. With a few tweaks, this story could have been about me when I was 13.
I was initially drawn to this book because the author's name is also Caitlin and because I love a good memoir/essay book. While it turns out that Caitlin isn't Moran's actual first name, I will forgive her because 1) Everyone wants a name this awesome and 2) I really liked this book. The major difference between me and Moran is that she is way more comfortable with sharing about private parts and situations. She would talk about things with her sister that made me squirm a little, but I'm a bit embarrassed about buying underwear in public, so I'm not really normal either.
How to Be a Woman covers the gamut of feminine topics, from fashion to periods to abortion. The earlier chapters are Moran's accounts of becoming a woman, stories of puberty and falling in love, told with little regard for her own cringe-worthy moments. Again, most of it sounds like it could have happened in my own awkward ascent to womanhood. Later on, we get into marriage and children, and the account of her abortion, which she had after already mothering two baby girls. One part of me was a little saddened by the story, but I firmly believe in her right to make that decision and I appreciate her reasons behind it.
Moran really captures being a woman for me. There are so many familiar moments regarding fashion, how it's almost impossible to find clothes that fit because clothes are not made specifically for you, and how you can own so many shoes that you never wear because they are implements of torture. She is also behind my new desire for a pair of yellow shoes. Moran even hangs out with new feminist icon Lady Gaga, a story that makes me appreciate Gaga more.
In conclusion, I liked How to Be a Woman. For me, it demonstrated so many of the good and bad bits of being a woman, and a feminist. I'd recommend a bit of caution if you are squeamish or easily offended, but otherwise I'd recommend this book for all women and even men.