how to be a woman.

by Liz on 03.05


Did anyone notice that the end of February came and went without another mention of Ms. Caitlin Moran?

I even had that extra Leap Day.


But! That just means a few extra days for you to have gotten the book and read it and form opinions on it, right?


The interesting thing about Caitlin Moran is that she clearly has an entirely different background than my own, but somehow, our opinions on The Big Things mostly seem to align. Talking to a few people who’ve read the book, I heard that some didn’t feel the same way. Caitlin’s description of her life, being so different from their own experiences, made them feel excluded from the rest of her thoughts. Did you feel that way?

My favorite chapters were I Encounter Some Sexism! and I Go Lap-dancing!- the latter being a chapter I expected to hate. I was surprised to agree with all of her points about strip club. I just now took a moment to try to find quotations from each to post up here for discussion, and realized I was typing out the majority of each chapter.


What did YOU think of the book?

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Your Comments | Add a Comment

Meg says:
Mar 5, 2012 11:44 am

We shouldn’t have to be from the same background to appreciate others thoughts, should we? Though, I will say, as someone who grew up in a poor area, I felt damned lucky to finally be reading feminist stuff NOT from an upper-middle class background. Lovely, lovely, lovely. More diversity, says I!


Liz F says:
Mar 5, 2012 12:33 pm

I read the Abortion chapter first (shocking, I know) because I knew it would be a litmus test for whether I would like the book. I found myself nodding, agreeing out loud with the book, and reading sections aloud to The Boyfriend.

I agree with Meg, there is a lot of feminist writing from upper-middle class backgrounds. Feminism is for all of us and we should hear all voices.


liz says:
Mar 5, 2012 12:48 pm

Haha, you and I have talked about this before, so we don’t need to get into it but I HATED the abortion chapter. I was anxious to finish it and rinse my mouth out after.


Liz F says:
Mar 6, 2012 1:32 pm

I should say, I read the abortion chapter because I knew it would give me a good flavor of Caitlin, having never read any of her writing before. I have such shy and unassuming feelings about reproductive choice (cough) that I knew if I couldn’t get with her on that chapter I knew I was going to have a hard time getting on board with the book. Apparently, I’m rather picky.


Meg says:
Mar 5, 2012 5:57 pm

I didn’t love the abortion chapter either, honestly.


Beth says:
Mar 5, 2012 8:36 pm

Hello, longish-time reader, rare commenter. I read the book a month or so ago (long after the APW folks did) and found myself laughing out loud several times. Her style is very brash & humorous, which can be fun, but maybe a bit tiring/callous for me at times, too. The chapter on sexism and work made me feel like I was reading a funnier version of High Fidelity, and I ended up looking up her interview of Bjork online (when she was super young).

Re: the abortion chapter, I didn’t *love* it but it didn’t make me feel terrible, either. I did admire her bravery for coming right out and saying it (especially w/folks like R. Limbaugh alive and kicking, and calling lovely people like Ms. Fluke terrible names for wanting contraception…), and I appreciated what she said about how motherhood is often conflated with life-giving but not balanced w/death as is done in other traditions. Obviously, we’re all different emotionally, etc., and while I would not be as seemingly-unbothered as she was by the whole procedure (i.e., no tears, no self-questioning), it was interesting to read her perspective.


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