Monday, 9 January 2012

In Which I Continue To Love Caitlin Moran's "How To Be A Woman"

Oh my goodness, this book. I dithered about starting it, as I don't read a lot of non-fiction, and then . . . once I'd started it, that was that.  The book is a mixture of tales from Moran's childhood and discussion of 21st century attitudes to childbirth, gossip mags, Jordan and Lady Gaga. Her style is the making of the book: she is outraged, amused and horrified by turns at the ways our society treats and represents women - and at the ways we woman sometimes behave - yet, although her language is frequently amusingly excessive, her points are always reasonable. One point I am still thinking about is her criticism of the rise of the Yummy Mummy: for Caitlin Moran, this role for women has the consequence of restricting their power and potential to the realms of childbirth and child rearing. She argues that this in turn suggests that women's real value is in 'producing new people', rather than realising their own potential. It also diminishes the achievements of women who are childless. She makes these points persuasively - but I am still thinking....

Still - I have hardly *ever* laughed out loud on the train at a book, nor read such a brilliant homage to growing up in the 80s, listening to the Smiths, sharing cigarettes, painting your nails black on the bus into town, in an era pre-Katie Price, pre-the pinkification of girls, pre-Brazilians....

Highest Praise of all: this book has stopped me knitting. Not because she has vilified it as an oppressive craft - but because I can't hold it and knit. So, my jumper has to wait ;)

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