This year, I’ve been making an effort to diversify my reading. One of the categories I’ve been trying to read more of is feminist literature – both fiction and nonfiction. Obviously, I joined Emma Watson’s feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf, the second I heard about it. And so far, I have loved all of the books (I still need to read March’s pick, but that’s the only one I haven’t finished yet). April’s pick was Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman, and it was easily one of my favorite books of the month.
How to Be a Woman is part memoir part feminist anthem. It’s filled with anecdotes from Moran’s life (which is eerily similar to that of Dolly Wilde, the main character in Moran’s How to Build a Girl), tidbits about what life is like as a woman (i.e. the unparalleled feeling that accompanies removing one’s bra at the end of a very long day), and questions that all feminist should be able to answer, such as: why society is obsessed with women having babies (and why we, as feminists, should or shouldn’t have children – spoiler, it’s a choice). Moran manages to be both completely outrageous and entirely relatable. She covers everything from why women actually hate shopping (especially when it involves finding something for a specific occasion) and how many pairs of shoes we really need to why strip clubs are not okay and porn is unrealistic. It is the perfect book for any modern woman who wants to know if she is allowed to be upset at sexism in the workplace (yes), whether or not hiring a housekeeper is anti-feminist (no), or if getting a Brazilian is really necessary (also no). Moran’s look at feminism is both hilarious and brutally honest. How to Be a Woman is a mirror revealing society’s flaws, while at the same time presenting the simplest of solutions.
You can tell whether some misogynistic societal pressure is being exerted on women by calmly enquiring, ‘And are the men doing this, as well?’ If they aren’t, chances are you’re dealing with what we strident feminists refer to as ‘some total fucking bullshit’.
I have been reading quite a bit of feminist literature this year, both fiction and nonfiction. How to Be a Woman was not only one of the most relatable for modern women, it was by far the most entertaining. Most of my reading thus far has been punctuated by indignant exclamations of yeah!. This book balanced that out with laughter.
I think it’s pretty clear already that I loved this book. I wouldn’t say it’s something everyone would like, but if you’re looking for a book that will make you laugh while making you think more deeply about society, you might want to look into How to Be a Woman. It’s the perfect book for any modern feminist who I also highly recommend the audiobook – Moran reads it herself, and does a really amazing job.