23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Is it really all about the knickers?,
This review is from: How To Be a Woman (Paperback)
I love Caitlin Moran. She is a very funny and prolific columnist who deservedly won Columnist of the Year in 2010. My 83-year-old Dad ADORES Caitlin Moran, but I could not, in all conscience, lend him this book as he would be (a) embarrassed and (b) disillusioned. I just couldn't do that to him.
Caitlin Moran writes that she said to her agent, 'I want to write a book about feminism! A funny, but polemic, book about feminism! Like 'The Female Eunuch' - but with jokes about my knickers!' And that, in a nutshell, is what I found difficult about the book - too much about Caitlin's knickers and too many exclamation marks.
And not just her knickers, either. There is WAY too much information about her teenage masturbatory habits, her alternative words for 'vagina' (yes, she embraces the 'c' word with great enthusiasm), her abortion, her relationships, and casual drug-taking on what seems like an epic scale. I did at first wonder whether my distaste for parts of the book meant that I am, after all, a prude. But I think it's just that all this gets in the way of a serious and important message. And if I can't pass on that important message to my Dad, or my daughter, simply because I don't want to embarrass them, then isn't she merely preaching to the converted? Ironically, Caitlin Moran writes that she wanted to do this book because feminism is too important to be discussed only by female academics; she wanted it to be championed in a light-hearted way to make it accessible. Hmmm.
Make no mistake, there are terrific bits in this book. I enjoyed the ranting against Botox, Brazilians, hen nights, stilettos and £600 handbags (even if they are easy targets), and I won't forget her advice to treat sexism as simply bad manners. And there are some wonderful one-liners, too. For instance, she is scathing about Katie Price and the oft-repeated message that the former Jordan is a feminist because she's making oodles of money. But, as Moran puts it: 'Women who, in a sexist world, pander to sexism to make their fortune are Vichy France with tits'. What woman wouldn't love that phrase?
So, on balance, I'd recommend it to the broad-minded, who by that very definition are probably converts to the feminist cause anyway. Sigh.