2 Following


How to Be a Woman - Caitlin Moran I liked this book. It was a solid funny read. I agree with at least 90% of what Moran says; although sometimes I think she goes too far and sometimes I think she just misses the point.

Personally, I wear a thong. I find them infinitely more comfortable; I've spent years (prior to discovering the joy of thongs) picking underwear discretely out of my ass. Now, I just wear tiny little pieces that are supposed to be up my ass. Really, the amount of material that ends up there is just that much smaller than it would otherwise be; it's a relief of sorts. I also don't care so much about shoes or handbags (but do succumb to having an expensive handbag, much the same way my husband is about to succumb to buying a flashy expensive car..it is to impress the Joneses). I don't know that all of Moran's generalizations are accurate or true, but certainly she is covering a lot of ground and stereotypes are useful to some extent.

I also think (despite the 2010 postscript) that parts of this book are out of date (in a good way). Girls are graduating college now at much higher rates than boys; and with traditional "male" (i.e. science and math) degrees. I agree with her argument that women have historically been the "losers" and I don't think that things have finished changing or that women should sit down on the job (yes, let's all stand on a chair and shout "I am a feminist"), but I think that things have made quite a bit of progress in the past 15 years (even that short length of time since I graduated college).

I am going to allow Moran to speak for herself (since she is by far funnier than I am anyway) and mostly just list her quotes...

In reference to masturbation: "This new hobby is amazing. It doesn't cost anything, I don't have to leave the house and it isn't making me fat...apart from the occasions where I have grown my nails too long and become so sore I have to repel my own advances for a few days." Really, girls, why is it that we have to pretend that we don't masturbate? Boys should not have all the fun.

"What we need to do is effect a 100 percent increase in the variety of pornography available to us. Let's face it: the vast majority of porn out there is as identikit and mechanical as refrigerators rolling off a production line." Amen.

"While some use the euphemism 'Brazilian' to describe this state of affairs, I prefer to call it what it is--'a ruinously high-maintenance, itchy, cold-looking child's vagina.'" Yep, why is it again that we want to make ourselves look pre-pubescent in preparation for sex??

"I love that 'cunt' stands, on its own, as the supreme, unvanquishable word. It has almost mystic resonance. It is a cunt--we all know it's a cunt--but we can't call it a cunt. We can't say the actual word. It's too powerful. Like Jews can never utter the tetragrammaton--and must make do with 'Jehovah' instead." Yep, what I carry between my legs is in fact equivalent to a deity.

In reference to our cultural obsession with boobs: "Their magic is out of all proportion to their abilities: very much not healing the sick or working complex equations, very much just sitting in a bra and, occasionally, wobbling in an exciting manner."

In reference to parenthood: "The parallels to war are multiple: you wear the same clothes, day in, day out; you keep saying, hopefully, 'It'll all be over by Christmas'; it's long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror; you get repeatedly infested by vermin; no one seems to know what's really going on; you will only talk about the true realities of your experiences with other veterans"

"I can honestly say that my abortion was one of the least difficult decisions of my life. I'm not being flippant when I say it took me longer to decide what countertops to have in the kitchen than whether I was prepared to spend the rest of my life being responsible for a further human being, because I knew that to do it again--to commit my life to another person--might very possibly stretch my abilities, and conception of who I am, and who I want to be, and what I want and need to do--to breaking point."

"believing in an afterlife totally negates your current existence. It's like an insidious and destabilizing mental illness. Underneath every day--every action, every word--you think it doesn't really matter if you screw up this time around because you can just sort it all out in paradise...If we wonder why people are so apathetic and casual about every eminently avoidable horror in the world--famine, war, disease, the seas gradually turning piss-yellow and filling with ring-pulls and shattered fax machines--it's right there. Heaven. The biggest waste of our time we ever invented, outside of jigsaws. Only when the majority of the people on this planet believe--absolutely--that they are dying, minute by minute, will we actually start behaving like fully sentient, rational, and compassionate beings. For while the appeal of 'being good' is strong, the terror of hurtling, unstoppably, into unending nullity is a lot more effective. I'm really holding out for us all to get the Fear. The Fear is my Second Coming. When everyone in the world admit they're going to die, we'll really start getting some stuff done."

Overall it's a great work. She is putting herself and feminism out there in a healthy aggressive way.