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How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

How to Be a Woman (2011)

by Caitlin Moran

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1,4001015,413 (3.81)87
  1. 20
    Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (generalkala)
  2. 10
    Be Awesome: Modern Life for Modern Ladies by Hadley Freeman (nessreader)
    nessreader: My love for Hadley Freeman is unbounded. Both these authors are columnists in the UK newspapers, young, female, funny and intelligent. If you've read the books of both and are hunting more in the same vein, try Lucy Mangan from the Guardian (My Family And Other Disasters)… (more)
  3. 00
    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 99 (next | show all)
There are things I really liked about this book and I things that I really didn't like about it.

For starters, I loved the mashup of memoir with feminist lessons. It made the text easy to read while still getting across messages and making the reader think. At times the book was hilarious and I really liked much of Moran's humor. Moran's book is referred to as "The British version of Tina Fey's Bossypants," which I find very fitting, especially given how much both of these women rely on sarcasm, which can be a little hard to recognize in text format, but can also be very entertaining. I love how Moran puts herself out there, sharing very personal details about her life (Chapter 15) and is unapologetic about her decisions.

While I did not agree with all of Moran's points (burqas are bad), the text is relatable for many women (first period, what to call private parts, first love).

The main thing I did not like about this book was Moran's choice of language. There were a few problems with it. First off, she uses offensive words such as "retard" and "tranny" and overall is not very inclusive in her ideas of feminism (making generalizations about gay people, stereotyping transgender people, omitting pretty much any people of color). She also uses shameful language regarding strippers and stereotypes them. Many people come out as the butt of Moran's joke. And while Moran also makes fun of herself, it's one thing to make jokes at one's own expense and a completely different thing to use a person's "other" status to stereotype and overgeneralize them.

I agree with Moran's updated feminism focusing on equality for all and why it's important, but again, her language seemed to get in the way. This is summed up in her statement, "I realized that what I really want to be... is a human... One of "the Guys" (301). Here "The Guys" is synonymous with "human", but shouldn't the norm be human, rather than a word that refers to males?

Moran's book shows a representation of white feminism and ignores sexuality, race, socioeconomic status, and other intersections for the most part. I think a lot of Moran's messages are still valid and important, but would have liked to see more intersectionality and acceptance in her work.

A funny book with important lessons, but still greatly lacking. ( )
  CareBear36 | Aug 26, 2015 |
A perfect book to give new perspectives or solidify a point of view on what it truly means to "become a woman". Hilarious and thought provoking isn't always a success together, but Caitlin Moran nails it. I cant wait to read her next book "Moranthology".
  Jaqe | Jul 7, 2015 |
Moran's autobiographical discussion of feminism and womanhood in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century is laugh-out-loud funny, scathing, blunt, touching, and important. She reads her own work to perfection. Her views (while I don't agree with all of them) are smart and on-point. The candid way she talks about her own life (particularly her abortion) sometimes feel revolutionary (in that, among other things, someone's talking about them). I may have to go buy a print copy of this, because I'd like to have it on my shelf. I loved this. Recommended. ( )
  lycomayflower | Jun 24, 2015 |
Laugh out loud funny with serious truths about feminism. ( )
  JenBurge | Mar 20, 2015 |
The language can be kind of rough, so for the sensitive who seek greater understanding of women's issues in the 21st century and suspect that women may be actually losing ground on some social fronts, I suggest you read something else unremittingly hilarious and brutally honest, with unquestionable feminist bona fides. Actually, you'd better just put up with the language, because there are no other books like this. About 95% of it my reaction is simply: somebody had to say it. ( )
  JMlibrarian | Mar 3, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 99 (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
"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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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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