Saturday, December 29, 2012

On "How to Be a Woman"

First off, I have to say that I haven't finished reading Caitlin Moran's How to Be a Woman, but I (mostly) have loved what I have read so far. Not everyone would enjoy it--many would be offended by her strong opinions, irreverent tone, and vulgar language. However, I wish, just as other reviewers on Amazon have commented, that Moran was one of my friends--or at least lived down the block.

Moran calls herself a feminist and she thinks that we need to resurrect the word because it is a perfectly good way of saying that we want to keep the vote and have equal rights. Further she states that, "feminism is the belief that women should be as free as men"--to be as "nuts, deluded, badly dressed, fat"...etc. as they might be. It does not mean hating men or wearing ugly clothes.

As you can well imagine when the topics of a book include porn, periods, being fat, marriage, abortion, that not all is fun and games. Yet much of the time I find myself laughing out loud when Moran reminds us of the ludicrous things we  women sometimes do because we think that will make us more feminine.

Much as when I was a teenager and went shopping with a friend for "falsies(called "bosom pads" in the Victorian era) in order to fill our bras, today's young women hunt for thongs, bikinis, and shorts in an effort to make themselves look sexier. Sexier to whom? As Moran points out, men don't really care what kind of underpants you have on; the much larger and more comfortable "knickers" that she advocates would do just fine [well, maybe!].

Some of the comments I have read online about How to Be a Woman express the opinion that this is a book for young women, not older ones. While I feel that I have "evolved" and am beyond worrying about such topics as whether to get a Brazilian wax job or an Italian one, I am finding the book not only well worth my time, but also of some importance. I have grandchildren and I want them to hear some voices of reason: voices that tell them that women should not be subjugated--and they certainly should not be a party to it.

Feminism is not dead--it just needs a new look. I hope younger authors such as Caitlin Moran will gain an even wider audience because we need more than the right to vote and the pill to find our equal rights.

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