Submitted by bookshelf on Thu, 03/21/2013 - 10:47am
I recently read Caitlin Moran’s inspiring, empowering, incredible memoir, How to be a Woman. When I started to write this blog, I wanted to sing its praises, encourage you to read it, and inspire in you
everything the book inspired in me- confidence, thoughtfulness, care, reflection, laughter. But each time I
started a sentence, it fell flat. Here’s the entire first draft:
How to be a Woman is funny. Truly laugh-out-loud
“I’m neither ‘pro-women’ nor ‘anti-men’. I’m just ‘Thumbs up for the six billion.” – Caitlin Moran
Pretty impressive, right? And it only took me 45 minutes! If that doesn’t make you want to buy the
book, I fear nothing ever will.
How to be a Woman is, at its heart, a story about feminism. Before reading it, I regarded the
word ‘feminism’ with the same caution I use around snakes and babies -- I appreciate its beauty, but would
prefer not to talk about it.
Now, after reading Moran’s words, when I think of great feminist women, I think of women who
inspire me, not things I’m afraid of. My mom reminds me a lot of Moran -- smart, funny, kind, and most
importantly a strong woman and amazing mother. My mom, much like Moran, started from a very
humble childhood and grew into a successful entrepreneur and teacher.
My friend Paula reminds me of Moran’s stories about finding your way and cultivating creativity among
young women -- she started her own business from scratch and smiles everyday while working hard.
My co-worker Carrie definitely reminds me of Moran’s lighter side -- I love the way she enjoys every
moment to its fullest. She’d get a kick out of Moran’s younger years as a music journalist in London. (My favorite moment: Moran finally meets Graham Coxon, the guitarist/singer of Britpop band Blur, a
personal hero of hers. She promptly trips down the stairs and spills her drink all over Coxon, as a way of
This book changed the way I think about women and what it means to be a woman. But most
importantly, How to be a Woman helped me appreciate what it means to be a feminist in modern times.
It means doing what you want and being who you want to be. For me, that means working here, hanging
out with my family, and drinking my coffee black with a book that’s so funny and poignant I end up
spewing said coffee from laughter. For some it means being a business woman, an artist, a mother, or
something completely different. The most exciting thing I have read recently reaffirmed what we all
already know: you’re at your best when you’re happy, and that’s something different for everybody.
“These days, however, I am much calmer - since I realised that it’s technically impossible for a woman to
argue against feminism. Without feminism, you wouldn’t be allowed to have a debate on women’s place
in society. You’d be too busy giving birth on the kitchen floor -- biting down on a wooden spoon, so as not
to disturb the men’s card game -- before going back to quick-liming the dunny. This is why those female
columnists in the Daily Mail -- giving daily wail against feminism -- amuse me. They paid you £1,600 for
that, dear, I think. And I bet it’s going in your bank account, and not your husband’s. The more women
argue loudly, against feminism, the more they both prove it exists and that they enjoy its hard-won
– Caitlin Moran
How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran is now available in paperback at both locations.