How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

So as some of you may know, Emma Watson of Harry Potter movie fame has started a feminist book club on Goodreads called Our Shared Shelf. I was so incredibly excited to join in with one of my favorite actresses who also happens to be an amazing activist for women’s rights. I missed the first three months of books because I was so busy with school, so this month I was determined to get a jump start and read Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman.

Needless to say, I picked the wrong month to start the book club.

This is absolutely the worst book I’ve read in a long time. Moran’s prose is crude, unpolished, and at times, offensive. Reading this book made me feel like she was screaming her opinions in my face, ranting at me. I mean, I guess I can’t really talk because that’s pretty much the point of my blog, but I expect more from a published author. Not to mention she writes for a living. It’s not just her writing style that gets to me, its the content as well. I’m usually all for any kind of feminist literature, but Moran’s brand of feminism is frustrating.

Moran is the worst kind of feminist. The pretentious feminist. The kind who shames other women for being traditionally feminine. She absolutely rails against thongs, weddings, heels, purses, bikini waxing, anything that seems remotely feminine. I agree that having a standard of femininity is bogus and should be done away with, but Moran goes too far. Of course she NEVER participates in ANYTHING remotely feminine. And she is RIGHT and all other women are WRONG and they must stop IMMEDIATELY.

Or you could be a real feminist and stop persecuting for their life choices. Tear down sexist structures, fight the patriarchy, protest anti-feminist industry, but stop telling other women what to do and what to believe. Women are not at fault here. Victims of oppression cannot be blamed for their own oppression. Should women’s pants have larger, more functional pockets to eliminate the need to spend extra money on a purse? Absolutely. Should we shame women who spent money on designer handbags and tell them they are responsible for sexist structures in the fashion industry? Absolutely freaking not. This is the kind of thing that Moran writes and I’m just not for it.

So I gave this book one star. I probably could have given it two stars, because at times Moran is funny, entertaining and actually makes some good points. But I can get funny, entertaining, and good points on feminism elsewhere, without the snark, crudity, and patronizing tone. I don’t need Moran to tell me how to be a woman. I am a woman and how I choose to express myself is my choice, not her’s or anyone else’s.

1/5 stars

(Side note: The rest of the books Our Shared Shelf has read look far more appealing, and I definitely plan to keep reading the selections. I’m not going to let this deter me, and neither should anyone else. Education is our best weapon against the patriarchy, so let’s read on!)


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