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How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
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How to Be a Woman (2011)

by Caitlin Moran

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1,194906,719 (3.84)66
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    At Home in the World: A Memoir by Joyce Maynard (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: "At Home in the World" is a more traditional autobiography, and at first simply appears to be a re-telling of a life story. But in the last quarter of the book, Maynard examines her previous writing and what it means to be a woman in the world, what it means to be a feminist in this world, and how the events of a woman's life shapes who they become.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
Caitlin Moran describes how she grew from an unconfident, awkward teenager into a happy and successful woman, using her own experiences as starting points for expounding her views about a variety of subjects – all to do with being a woman (obviously), what it’s like to be a woman, and how the world treats women. She describes herself early on as a “strident feminist” and reminds the reader of this throughout the book.

I had high hopes for this book, having heard so many good things about it, but within about three chapters, I was ready to throw it up against the nearest wall. However, by the time I reached the end of it – once I start a book, I have to finish it, no matter how much it’s annoying or boring me – I realised that I did enjoy certain parts. The book is a collection of Moran’s own personal opinions, some of which I agreed with and some of which I didn’t. That didn’t bother me; after all, it’s good to hear different opinions to your own. What did bother me though was the way that Moran seems utterly dismissive or scornful of anyone who doesn’t hold the same views. It seems at times as though her opinions are outright facts, and if you don’t agree with them, you’re wrong.

I didn’t like the way she was apt to say things such as there were no funny women at all between Dorothy Parker and French & Saunders, or that women have “done f— all” for the last hundred years. Really? REALLY?? And there are contradictions too – in one chapter, Moran explains why she hates strip clubs, why they’re the scourge of the earth, and bad for women in general. But a few chapters down the line, she is happily off to a sex club with Lady Gaga, where Gaga ends up wearing just a bra, knickers and fishnets. Moran also dislikes music videos where women prance about wearing next to nothing. I agreed with all her points, until she explained why when Gaga does it, it’s okay, because it’s not provocative or sexual, rather it’s part of some feminist agenda.

I’m not overseen on the overly jokey, make-a-witty-comment-about-everything type of narration, but when Moran becomes more serious, I enjoyed reading what she had to say. The chapter on overeating made some serious points, and was clearly told from personal experience. There is a chapter on abortion where the author describes her own decision to have one, and gives her reasons behind not just her personal choices, but her beliefs about the subject in general. I agreed with her points, but whether you agree with her or not, she was eloquent and sincere.

The penultimate chapter was also very enjoyable, and made some pointed comments about why women feel the need to go under the knife or the needle to look eternally youthful. If Moran had maintained this more balanced and reasonable tone throughout the rest of the book, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more. I liked her sentiment that people should be proud of being feminists, and that equality is good for everyone, but I think maybe style is just not for me.

Generally I’d have to say that this was a very mixed bag for me. Some parts I liked a lot, some unfortunately really annoyed me. ( )
  Ruth72 | Jun 19, 2014 |
What an absolutely brilliant read. I love Moran's storytelling, especially the way she brings insight into both her life and what it means to her to be a feminist. She is frank and honest about all aspects of her life, including her very rational decision to have an abortion, even as a child of adoption, I fully understand and respect her choice.

As a man who identifies as a feminist, a lot of what is written here helped solidify my opinions on certain issues, especially relating to the way we treat celebrities and "adult entert..." no, let's just call it porn. That's what it is. Anyway, Moran helped me clarify some things and I must thank her for that.

Plowed through this one because I didn't want to put it down. ( )
  regularguy5mb | May 15, 2014 |
flipping hilarious!
  Adele_Harth | Mar 14, 2014 |
Brilliant book - ties together the author's lived experiences with wickedly sharp insights into what it is like to be a woman today. Worth reading for her definitions of feminism and misogyny alone. Hilarious and biting.

Moran is also to be commended for telling the story of her own abortion. It's one thing to be pro-choice - it's another to publicly discuss the reasons you decided to exercise that right. ( )
  Vantine | Mar 14, 2014 |
I read this is super fast time, it was entertaining, funny and in some places profound. It mixes memoir with feminism and does it in a fun, inclusive way. It covers lots of topics relating them back to her own life, gives some clear ideas about why and how you should be a feminist and not afraid to admit it, and it does this whilst encouraging you to be nice to people and enjoy life. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Mar 3, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
The joy of this book is just that: the joy. What Moran is really arguing for is more female happiness. Women spend too much of their time worrying, beating themselves up, going along with time-wasting, restrictive, often expensive, sexist mores. The triumph of How To Be A Woman is that it adds to women's confidence. It reminds us that sexism, and all that is associated with it, is not only repressive, it is tedious and stupid. It is boring. Best give it a body swerve and get on with having fun
 
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Wolverhapmton, April 5, 1988
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"Pencil skirts, skin-tight jeans and leggings - they all allow us to witness an exact outline of the wearer's pants, rather like the 'Geo-Phys print-out of an ancient drainage system on Time Team."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven't been burned as witches since 1727, life isn't exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women's lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from the riot of adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother. With rapier wit, Moran slices right to the truth--whether it's about the workplace, strip clubs, love, fat, abortion, popular entertainment, or childred--to jump-start a new conversation about feminism. With humor, insight, and verve, How To Be a Woman lays bare the reasons why female rights and empowerment are essential issues not only for women today but also for society itself.… (more)

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