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How to Be a Woman - Caitlin Moran

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.