Current Affairs

How to be a Woman – Caitlyn Moran – 4/10 (DNF)

“But, bafflingly, we totally accept the uselessness of heels. We accept it limply, shruggingly. We are indifferent to the thousands of pounds, over a lifetime, we spend on shoes we only wear once, and in great pain. Indeed, we’re oddly proud of it. Women buy shoes and gigglingly say, ‘Of course, they’re agony – I’m just going to have to sit on a barstool all night, and be helped to the toilet by friends, or passers-by,’ despite it sounding as OUTRIGHT INSANE as going, ‘I’ve just bought a house – it doesn’t have a roof, of course, so I’m just going to sit in the front room with an umbrella up.’”


“Part memoir, part rant” by Caitlyn Moran (star columnist at The Times, among many other illustrious places) about life as a woman. Rather more specifically, her life as a woman, because there was really not an awful lot in here that I recognised. See the rant above about high heels? It’s against all my principles to buy shoes that are uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, Moran is a highly comedic, perceptive, intelligent writer. There were parts of every chapter that I really enjoyed. There is a glorious chapter about 80 pages in called “I am a Feminist!” which includes some really smart writing.

But there were parts that I outright disagreed with – or worse, didn’t understand at all. Which made me feel pretty confused – how can I not understand this? I left it in the bathroom for weeks, reading a bit at a time, sometimes getting sucked in for 20-30 pages, sometimes finding it unbelievably frustrating and resolving to throw it out. And I couldn’t get hugely excited about chapters about body parts… we have them, deal with it.

Maybe if you have a stronger stomach and are more stridently inclined, you’d love this. I think if you tipped over the edge into slightly liking this, you’d really like it; I just got too … ranted out.

Copy from Bookmooch. Abandoned on a Tube train on a Saturday night.


3 thoughts on “How to be a Woman – Caitlyn Moran – 4/10 (DNF)”

  1. This book was one of the worst pieces of utter rubbish I ever read. I only read it all for a book group I used to attend. Everyone hated it even the woman who had chosen it was pretty meh about it. There was loads I disagreed with too, yes the heel thing and that all young girls apparently dream of a white wedding do they? I found the fact the book was touted around as being a feminist work mildly offensive just because she scatters the c word around with abandon I suppose. Horrid book.

  2. Compelled to comment because I agree so wholeheartedly and think you have this spot on!

    How To Be A Woman is really How To Be Caitlin Moran, which is funny and moving and witty but really has very little to do with my life.

    I wish she’d acknowledged that she was writing from a particular perspective, I would have been able to get on board more.

  3. I love that you left it on a train! I read this last year and while I thought it was quite enjoyable it was also quite self-centred and I don’t think it’s the Great Feminist Text that it is supposed to be. I agree with the above comments that it is not as universal as it thinks it is. I also find Moran tiring because she either thinks she’s really great and funny or she keeps being told she is, so she thinks it’s ok to spread her ‘wisdom’ to the world.

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