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Caitlin Moran's How To Be A Woman

(24 Posts)
skrumle Wed 28-Sep-11 15:05:56

I'm doing this at real-life book club this weekend. Anyone got any suggestions for questions/discussion points?

We're not a feminist bookclub BTW but it is all women in their 30s/40s.

mumwithdice Wed 28-Sep-11 15:13:18

How about overeating as a carer's addiction? I found that fascinating.

skrumle Wed 28-Sep-11 16:57:24

that is a good one - i remember there was a thread on here about that, must try and find it. thanks smile

joben Tue 01-Nov-11 18:28:56

Loved this book, how about the idea that the current fascination with women being hairless down below, is to satisfy men's desire for pre-pubescent girls rather than real women.? Or that women's clothes with cuddly teddies on the front are designed to infantalise women so that no-one has to take them seriously.

Flanelle Sun 06-Nov-11 10:05:26

I was wondering whether to read this or not. Is it generally very good? Or is there something better or more important to read instead/first?

sakura Sun 06-Nov-11 12:40:50

No it's shit.
I was really disappointed. She is an excellent writer, hilariously funny... she just isn't much of a feminist. So that was a downer.
She porn-positive, trans-positive, slags off all the second-wave feminists, such as Greer, who PAVED THE WAY for the rest of us..
It's worth reading for the writing , it's definitely enjoyable, and when she gets it right she gets it very right, but... it's a very male-pleasing text... so she values publicity and getting published over true feminist politics, which I find hard to respect.

WinkyWinkola Sun 06-Nov-11 12:50:34

I didn't like this book.

I am pro choice absolutely but I disagree with her in that there are 'bad' abortions due to people making the same mistake over and over again.

She is mixed up as to when women should start taking responsibility for themselves.

Flanelle Sun 06-Nov-11 18:38:55

That's very interesting. I did wonder, when I read some of the reviews. Have enjoyed Greer + Orbach etc and might give this a miss actually.

smellsofsick Sun 06-Nov-11 18:45:23

I enjoyed it, in that she's very funny and a great writer but just seemed a bit mixed up about what feminism means to her. I think i wanted her to say a bit more about that, though I agree with her take on the porn industry making body hair dirty. Not a new concept though; I remember a discussion around that when I was at university about two millennia ago.

StewieGriffinsMom Sun 06-Nov-11 18:48:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

smellsofsick Sun 06-Nov-11 18:54:39

stewie you're right. It's autobiography charting her awareness that women (particularly in her industry) just get treated very differently from men.

This might be a bit controversial for a lurked like me to say but I got the sense that she feels like a feminist because she's succeeded as a journalist and writer in that environment IYSWIM.


StewieGriffinsMom Sun 06-Nov-11 19:03:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SuzieP29 Wed 09-Nov-11 11:58:10

I loved Moran's book. I don't think we can say that she is 'mixed up' in her views on Feminism, because surely, Feminism in this day and age means different things to different people? That's my opinion anyway. I got this book as a present for my birthday and enjoyed it. Funny lady!

(and Hi! First post on MumsNet ever!) :D

skorpion Wed 09-Nov-11 21:59:22

I love it, too. Also a birthday present and am about a third through. As far as I have read it she doesn't slag off Greer - quite the opposite.

I have to say I identify with her views on feminism in general. I like her simple view of what it is to be a feminist, not tinged with militant or extreme colours that some want to paint it with, making the idea scary for some and ridiculous for others. Sorry, she puts it much better than I do.

AyedaBWells Wed 09-Nov-11 22:03:26

Is this the place for saying that Patriarchy-Approved feminism isn't feminism that will Get Anything Done?

No? Oh, sorry.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 09-Nov-11 22:06:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

skorpion Thu 10-Nov-11 16:48:00

I meant it as a matter of perception: how many people - women and men - shy away from engaging with the movement because of how it's viewed - rightly or wrongly?

I just think that Moran's way of presenting it is very good. I didn't pick the book up looking for a feminist text but it's made me think about the issues involved.

MooncupGoddess Wed 23-Nov-11 14:08:53

I liked it, for the most part. There are a few fuzzy sections (e.g. great analysis of why strip clubs are horrific but then a paragraph saying pole dancing classes are fine) but mostly she does what she sets out to do, which is a loose personal memoir focused on woman-related issues. Yes, it's self-indulgent and her OTT writing style gets too much in large doses, but that just reflects her personality.

Most importantly, it is pretty incisive in terms of analysing how society works and how women are still systematically put down by both the establishment and popular culture. Of course for most people on this board this is not news, but 95% of the population have really not thought through these issues and as an 'easy read' introduction to feminism it is excellent.

Of course we can pick holes in particular arguments (though I wouldn't describe her as pro-porn, actually) but it seems counter-productive to dismiss a book that brings some core feminist ideas to a large general readership.

UhOhJo Thu 02-Feb-12 22:14:53

I loved this book. It's the only reason I looked at this section of Mumsnet at all, and thought about what it means to be a feminist today. I don't think Caitlin Moran attempts to define it, and as Suziep said it must mean so many things to so many people anyway. She made it seem fun, and most of all important to think about being a woman, and changing the world to make it a better place for our daughters.

I'll be insisting my daughter reads this book, as an easy humourous introduction to some 'issues' for women. Although she is only 11, it may be a while before I'm comfortable with her reading the ahem Riders section.

The bits that meant most to me were the bits about bad porn and what that teaches our kids. I'm new to this so I am liable to get the Strident Feminist bit wrong, but I do think that most things are improving for women in general, but online porn is something that is new and very bad. I don't want my DS learning about sex this way, but most likely this will be he learns about the way to treat women, because however broadminded I am as a parent it's not going to be easy to show him the good porn!

It makes me mad just thinking about it, and I don't know what to do about it. The internet is like the wild west, there's no regulation of this stuff.

AspirantPirate Sat 11-Feb-12 16:05:04

I'm re-reading this at the moment.

She doesn't slag off any second-wave feminists, actually, and refers to Greer as 'the goddess-Greer' throughout. Importantly, though, she doesn't agree with absolutely everything they say, and for me that is the point of the book. She's very clear that these are HER opinions and that it's ok to not agree with everything that another self-identified feminist says. We're all feeling our way and it's ok to agree / disagree and to change your own mind on what it means to be a feminist.

Generally speaking, the book as a whole made me feel ok about the fact that my mind and my opinions change almost daily about feminist issues - what's important is that we are engaged in the questions.

Also, it's very funny grin

OnlyANinja Sat 11-Feb-12 16:12:15

I agree with SGM about the mis-marketing of the book.

I liked it though.

YesAnastasia Thu 04-Oct-12 22:58:16

I thought it was very funny and I adored the section on motherhood and those who choose not to have children.

I think feminism alienates a lot of women because they see it as the intelligent woman's crusade and that they don't understand feminist theory or they might say something wrong & offend other women and be 'outed' as not a feminist at all. This book speaks to those women, clearly and humorously, and invites them in, reassures them that they are the feminists they think they are and it's not a scary or exclusive 'club'. She's great at that, making you feel included.

Feminists can disagree with each other can't they. It doesn't make either one more feminist than the other. It can get complicated.

YesAnastasia Thu 04-Oct-12 23:01:35

I just noticed how old this thread is. Sorry.

lighthousekeeping Thu 04-Oct-12 23:05:26

I tried to read it but didn't get on with it at all. It was all over the place.

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