Mind your manners, please

A review of How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

I really, really like Caitlin (pronounced Catlin) Moran. She's a British broadcaster, TV critic and columnist at The Times that's taken the world by storm with her comedy writing. I think her book How to Be a Woman is refreshingly honest and smart and I wish I had her hair. I love that she is in her late 30s and still rocking tights with cut-offs and Doc Marten boots. I appreciate that she seemingly spouts off about whatever she wants to and it's sometimes ludicrous and at other times downright serious. I totally agree with her base assessment that feminism and sexism boil down to acceptable behaviors in polite society. Ultimately, it's bad manners to oppress your fellow humans.

But I'm not sure How to Be a Woman is truly a book about feminism. Rather, it's a salty memoir of a woman who is a feminist, with outspoken views about topics like equality, motherhood, and Lady Gaga. I spent an entire semester studying feminist political theory and I'd be curious to know what Simone de Beauvoir thinks of Lady Gaga. I'll tell you what I think: not much, after reading about the outrageous demands on Gaga's backstage concert rider. But I digress. What I'm questioning is why the media is marketing this book as the new feminist manifesto.

This is a funny book written by a funny person detailing her life successes from that of a young, intellectually precocious teen writer working for an indie British publication to that of a mature woman with a successful career, a husband and two daughters. I don't agree with all of her opinions - contrary to Caitlin, I am a lover of expensive handbags and shoes. To each his/her own, I say. If I had an extra 500 pounds, or 785.60 US Dollars, I would absolutely want some seriously fancy boots. That's just me. I appreciate Caitlin for who she is. She is not Tina Fey. She is not Mindy Kaling. She is not Chelsea Handler. She is Caitlin Moran. I urge you to check her out for yourself.

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