I was really looking forward to reading Caitlin Moran’s book, How To Be ?a Woman. I hadn’t read any reviews of it but judging by the occasional tweet, I guessed it was a humourous version of feminism through the ages and her own take on modern feminism.
It has been described as witty and humourous. I have to admit that I haven’t finished it yet (which says a lot in itself!), I didn’t bring it on holiday with me and am now up to page 216 simply because this review was due today. I have yet to laugh out loud or even smirk while reading it. Am I a prune? Naive? a bore? Strait-laced? Like crime fiction too much? I don’t know but this book isn’t doing a lot for me.
Mostly a memoir including her take on how women act, how they are treated and how they should behave, I do wonder why I’m not enjoying it more – there are lots of glowing reviews out there (as well as some bad ones too) as well as the tweets I mentioned. ?I totally share her ‘concern’ about how modern woman has to behave to be ‘accepted’ into society, how the increase in pornography and its ready availability is affecting how girls and women are treated and also how they behave. Her chapter on how women now have to have waxed almost every hair from their body to be an acceptable sexual partner for any man is perceptive, serious and yet funny. However, she goes on about it at such length (7 pages on pubic hair I think!) ?combined with her own life experiences of when she was 13, weighing 13 stone and shaving her own public hair off, that by the end of the chapter (chapter 2) I’d had enough. I thought she’d never move out of her teenage years – pages and pages were devoted to what names she decided to call her vagina.
Moran does bring up the point that women are spending a ridiculous amount of money and time (not to mention the pain factor) on making themselves not only beautiful but also to be viewed as acceptable by men. She argues against it and yes, here I agree with her. She wants women to be happy with themselves and enjoy life and I say, hear hear but I’d prefer to read it in a short newspaper article than an entire book. She’s a successful columnist and I can see why – I just don’t want to read 300 pages of it.
She raises plenty of serious points about how women have been treated as second class citizens and still are, in so many countries and in some many ways. ?And yes, by embedding it in a memoir about her own experiences is bound to make it more tangible, for me it just didn’t work. It just seemed ridiculous somehow.