This is another one of those posts I begin by going “I read this ages ago but never posted on it because…” This time, my excuse is that I wanted to do this review “properly”, but I’ve realised this is probably never going to happen, so I’ve decided to just post some more or less incoherent thoughts based on notes I took after finishing How to be a Woman. For more coherent thoughts, I’d like to refer you to the posts of the more put-together-than-me ladies Melissa and Iris - and there are probably a million other excellent reviews out there (if you’ve written one, please do leave a link in the comments!).
So, How to be a Woman. Honestly, it’s not often that a book produces such conflicting reactions in me. There were bits I wanted to shout from the rooftops because everyone needs to hear them loud and clear, but there were also parts where I wanted to get a hold of Moran and give her a good shake. I think the reason for this is that How to be a Woman doesn’t really know what it wants to be: a feminist manifesto, a “hilarious” autobiography, or a show of “I am Caitlin Moran and look how awesome I am”.
As it stands, it has a bit of each, and as a result, the fact that it has been heralded as the new awesome feminist manifesto is, at least in my view, a problem. How to be a Woman mixes Moran’s feminist with other views that don’t seem to be particularly well thought-out (e.g. her constant quoting of Germaine Greer, known holder of anti-transgender views – what is up with that?!*). Throw in some not strictly necessary episodes that seem to be there mostly in order to reinforce Moran’s own standing as The Coolest Woman On Earth, a.k.a. “Look at me, I party with Lady Gaga!!! Does that make me cool or what?!”), and you get a rather confusing jumble. If this is the New Feminist Manifesto Every Woman Needs To Read, I think we need to reassess our expectations, because we’re heading in the wrong direction.