Liked It1 of 1 members found this review helpful
“By turns funny and insightful, Caitlin Moran's journey of learning to be a woman is irreverent and wonderful. From her tales of comparing nicknames for female genitalia with her sister to her account of birthing her daughters, Caitlin deconstructs our social ideas of womanhood and advocates for...”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It2 of 2 members found this review helpful
“Wow! I really disliked this book. Proclaimed to be a hilarious view of being a feminist in today's world I didn't laugh once. I didn't even chuckle. I was bored and found this book vulgar and that is something I rarely say. I don't know if I'm too old for the target audience, but having lived...”see full review » see other reviews »
“Funny and sassy. Devolved into a bit of whiny. Not my kind of humor but I admire her.”Bewicks W wrote this review 6 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Belly-aching, roll of the couch, pee your pants funny. I couldn't stop reading. It was the best take on growing into womanhood in the most uncomfortable, vulnerable fashion that most, if not all women can identify with. ”Naomi Wood wrote this review 2 weeks ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I found a lot of what Moran says in this book refreshing to hear. Her frankness can be a bit chaffing at times, but I found myself laughing out loud more often than not. She follows her own growth as a woman to discuss different aspects of what it means to be a woman - so it isn't a "how to" book like the title suggests. It's more of a "this is what women are told how to be", but I think she puts way too much emphasis on women wanting to impress men. She ignores the woman vs woman aspect of being a woman completely and focuses more on the heterosexual dynamic. I also found the serious turn of topic near the end mismatched with the comedy of the beginning - the tone and topic seem to dwindle together.”a stor(e)y wrote this review Thursday, November 7, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Laugh out loud hilarious and thought provoking at the same time!”Deirdre O wrote this review Wednesday, October 30, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“"How To Be a Woman" is funny, clever, well-written, and honest. Caitlin Moran is open with her readers and speaks honestly about experiences that many women would never admit to. For the most part, her humor was used to serve the purpose of the text (arguing for the discussion and acceptance of women's experiences) but then occasionally she would use a joke that reaffirmed gender norms. I was never quite sure if these were thrown in as "absurd, obviously I don't believe this" or not.
As a warning, she discusses menstruation, masturbation, sexual encounters, childbirth, and abortion all relatively bluntly. ”
“Overall, I enjoyed this book, with a few glaring exceptions. Moran is really funny and accessible, and, as someone who proudly calls herself a feminist, I am always keen on feminist takes on pop-culture.
However, I found her views on the LGBT community regressive and ironic-- she seems to promote feminism while lumping "the gays" (her words) into some stereotype mash-up of "Will & Grace" and "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"? No thank you.
My overall problem with the book is that the memoir genre of the book in itself gives a sense of finality. These are Moran's views and experiences, and are experiences many women have shared, but her style of writing doesn't really promote dialogue-- something the subject really needs.”
“Even though I know damn well that "fag" in British-ese for cigarette, every time Moran writes of lighting up a fag, my obstinate (and admittedly offensive) American brain conjures up an image of a woman picking up a Lilliputian version of Jack from the TV show Will & Grace, setting his feet on fire and shoving his teeny screaming head into her mouth. (And Moran fires up so many fags in this book that one wonders if her lungs look like a coal mine.)
Other readers have covered this book and Moran’s approach to womanhood far more thoroughly than I will. In short, I found How to Be a Woman amusing and sometimes LOL funny. I especially appreciated her discussion of abortion, particularly her own choice to abort. Other aspects of the book, like the naming of her vagina and boobs, didn’t resonate much. I mean, why would I name ‘em? Do I need to summon them or give them commands? Like a dog? “Tits. Sit. Stay. Perky.”
I’m going to address the one chapter that probably isn't that controversial to other readers: Moran’s stance on cosmetic “interventions” to fend off the signs of aging. Her plan, supposedly, is to go into old age eschewing any and all attempts to ward off the outward signs of aging. And here, she includes everything from surgery (face lifts) to tooth whitening. (Seriously? Going into middle age with dingy yellow teeth is a good thing? Ugh.)
My thesis: Refusing to have Botox or other cosmetic procedures, or abstaining from *dyeing your hair or whitening your teeth really isn’t necessarily some great feminist statement. A small blow to ageism, maybe (however futile). But a sword through the chest of misogyny? Meh. Not so much.
Moran asserts, correctly, that women’s preoccupation with staving off time’s wear and tear is a function of patriarchal forces. Basically, a woman’s value is still largely bound up in how she looks, and that look should preferable be young and nubile. Her argument, however, falls apart when she asserts that because the men she sees haven’t resurfaced, stretched and paralyzed their faces, men in general go blithely into old age.
In my experience, it’s men, not women who ultimately take aging poorly, often with tremendous acrimony and bitterness. Probably because they’ve been conditioned to think of themselves as the stronger gender, they see their failing virility, declining strength and enlarged prostates as the universe’s personal betrayal. Some get downright nasty about it, hence, “grumpy old men.”
The difference is that instead of a new face, men go out and purchase a sports car or a motorcycle. Some comfort their floppy libidos with Viagra and a twenty-year-old coed with Daddy issues. And for the most part, the male version of mid-life crisis, with its expensive and dangerous toys, and borderline pedophilia, is seen as amusing, and almost cute. Sure, there are some who wag their fingers at Bob, his Ducati bike and shiny, new BFF, Tiffany (with a happy face over the “i”). But by and large, Bob’s attempts to prove he is still young, – Dagnammit! – are met with fond smiles and maybe some envy.
I think you could argue that both genders would be better off spending their time and resources on something else - travel, learning a new language, etc. But when it comes the management of mid-life angst, once again it’s men that get a pass. Both sexes are wallowing in the same neurosis (fear of getting old, dying), and are expressing their pain in admittedly stereotypical gender-defined ways. Men, nonetheless, are just “going through a phase,” “boys will be boys” and all that. The female version of the **Ducati – Botox, the nip ‘n tuck, – however, is “vain” and somehow “immoral.” Other women sneer and say, “Why can’t she just grow old gracefully?” (I dunno? Maybe because aging ain’t all that “graceful?”)
Anyway, I’m not making a case for cosmetic surgery and other procedures. My point is that Moran, in her scorn for any anti-aging measures [for women], is engaging in a bit of sexism herself. I don’t see her telling the lads to step away from the young blond with perky tits or to put that $70K into a IRA rather than a high performance engine. (Yeah, I get it. Because then the title of the book would be How to Be a Man.)
Besides, as I understand it, men represent a small but growing part of the cosmetic procedure market (at this point, usually hair replacement). Given that anti-aging drugs, creams, and procedures are a product of Big Pharma, the ultimate marketing machine, the years to come will see more and more men having cosmetic procedures. My guess is that as more guys start getting an injection here, and a stretch there, the practice of cosmetic surgery will become normalized. Because if men do it, it automatically becomes acceptable, because their involvement removes the dreaded taint of “girl.”
Anyway, in some ways, Moran is my soul sister, most notably in her opinion regarding expensive weddings. (30K for a party to celebrate the signing of a contract that will possibly be dissolved in divorce seven years hence? Stupid.) Ditto, money spent on high heels and handbags.
The point of How to Be a Woman is obviously to be provocative and in that Moran succeeds. It’s crass, and hardly an exhaustive and complex piece of feminist literature. But I didn’t find it to be as angry-making as I expected, either.
*You will have to pry my bottle of hair dye out of my cold dead hands. I’ve been dyeing my hair since I was a teen. Someday, when it turns snow white, I will dye it a brilliant shade of purple or deepest burgundy, something I can’t currently do with dark hair.
**Personally, I want both. The speedy crotch rocket and, a decade or so from now, the surgical removal of turkey neck flaps that run in my family. Because wrinkles are no problem, but looking like a Thanksgiving entre? Ick.”
“So good it made me fall in love with Ms Moran and think of myself as a small time (male) feminist.
Up the women!”
“Read this partly to see if we could read this in my book group. I think the answer is no, for several reasons. One she is a strident feminist, which will not go over well at all, unfortunately. Secondly, I am not sure about the slang - I certainly didn't know all the words. Not knowing all the words interrupted the flow of the book for me.
Personally I am glad that I read this. I found Moran funny. I really enjoyed the chapter on feminism, as well as her take on adolescence. Her two chapters on pregnancy and abortion were a good contrast and I was left with lots to think about.
Moran is so much younger than I am and so some of her cultural references went right over my head. We definitely grew up in different eras as well as countries. I am glad to know that there are feminists in her generation. Not to put too much on Moran's shoulders, but I don't knbow many supporters of feminism who are twenty years younger than me.
Moran makes her living writing so the book is well written and it held my interest. I am looking forward to reading more from Moran.
I also picked this book because I could load it on my Kindle before my vacation. I am making a concerted effort to use OverDrive from my library.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys autobiographies and memoirs, to readers who want to know more about contemporary England and, of course, to all women, especially those who need to be reminded about why we need feminism.
I still might take this to my book group. Maybe someone will read it even if the whole group doesn't.”
“Started off with a bang but then started to get a bit tedious. Realizing it has a lot to do with whether or not a book is written as a memoir or as a series of editorials. This book is a heavy blend of both as Caitlin uses her own life to analyze the blips and bumps of being a woman.
I agreed with most of her opinions... and loved her very quirky turns of phrase. Her gift for metaphors is amazing and for that alone I recommend this book.
The four star rating is because ultimately the editorializing got repetitive and distracted from her stories and writing. ”