Caitlin Moran's 'How To Be A Woman'
If someone ever asks if I'm a feminist, I never hesitate to say 'of course'. I don't understand how you can't be a feminist this day and age, man or woman because you're essentially saying 'no I don't want women to have equal rights, equal pay and to not be raped'. And with the rise of the modern feminism; away from the bra burning and discrimination just for having a vagina, I felt it was time to read around the topic. So this is The Feminist Review. Books that are coming to light to explain why feminism is still so bloody important nowadays and how it is coming to be redefined. And who better to start with than the iconic Caitlin Moran's How To Be A Woman.
This is one of those books you can dip in and out of as the stories are individual segments of her life growing up. I'll say it now; you won't be able to as you'll get so hooked that it will be a permanent fixture in your hand, one that you will eventually mourn when it's over.
She writes the kind of lines that make you burst out laughing, and I've lost count of how many pages I've dog-eared so I can read the same part over and over. It goes through her life explaining her fairly tumultuous childhood, having a small house in Ireland with siblings and a fairly errant mother. This is what formed her views and progress as she grows up. Certain elements were slightly too much for me (maybe because I had an almost irritatingly normal upbringing) but they shape her to be what you expect from an outspoken, women's rights columnist.
She questions why women can't both be feminist and bitchy; "when did feminism become confused with Buddhism?" and why chivalry is seen as a bad thing and you should stick it to the man who dares hold that door open for you; "don't call it sexism. Call it 'manners', instead." Breaking down the word feminist helps to stop it being that dirty word that many women are scared to say to prevent people going 'oh you're one of them, do you not shave your legs/fancy men?'
It hits all areas that you didn't realize you thought about and agreed with. For instance, how Prince Charming isn't all that as, to be honest, he's a bit of a ponce. What we want is "some geeky, nerdy polite and ridiculous mate, slagging off all of the tossers [...] and crawls across the front roam croaking 'I must have sex with you now, or go literally insane'" (a true way with words, no?) You come away both revolutionised and comforted, knowing you need to both go into the world and practice what she (and you now) preach, but not feel bad for spending a ridiculous amount on something you really can't afford like a feathered clutch bag from Topshop. Like any modern feminist, you're normal. You just want THE SAME STUFF AS MEN.
If you're ever unsure of whether you really are a modern day feminist, or you're not too narrow-minded to read it if you don't believe in the whole notion, then it's Caitlin Moran that is the one to shape your understanding and in my eyes the perfect dictionary definition for looking up 'what is feminism in today's society?' I'll just be in the corner quoting sections to my long suffering family.
You can grab her book on Amazon here. Do it, do it now.