Book Review

“How to Be a Woman” — Book Review

When I was seen reading this book, people would often ask, “you need to read a book to know how to be a woman? [scoff].” They must have thought that they were being incredibly clever. Seeing as all of these clever commenters were male, they obviously understood that being a woman is the easiest task in the world. Of course, these men must have known from experience that being a woman is not at all fraught with anxiety and insecurity regarding body image, sexuality, opportunities for education and work, pressure to have children, and general sexism (intentional or otherwise).

But, as many women really do know from experience, being a woman is more than a bit challenging. And Caitlin Moran put those challenges into extremely relatable – and often hilarious – words that even the most thick-headed individuals can understand.

How to Be a Woman has quickly become one of my favorite books. Not only does Moran perfectly describe both the simple and complex issues surrounding modern women, she clearly and effectively describes what it means to be a feminist in a witty and concise way:

a. Do you have a vagina? and

b. Do you want to be in charge of it?

If you said “yes” to both, then congratulations! You’re a feminist.

Humor aside, Moran argues that anyone can be a feminist, and that identifying sexism in our society is not always as difficult as it is made out to be. She identifies a perfect method for determining whether a statement is sexist. And that is simply determining if the statement is polite. If it’s not polite, you just shouldn’t be saying it at all. And do you know who she learned this from? Her husband, who she describes as “the most Strident Feminist” she’s ever met.

Moran describes her life as a woman; discovering porn, feeling as though she needed to remove every inch of hair from her body, experiencing gender discrimination in the workplace, having an abortion, and more. She describes feminism as “a prize that billions of women…fought to win.” And it is. It is not man-hating, it is not about being better than our male counterparts. All Caitlin Moran – and women across the globe – wants to be “is a human. A productive, honest, courteously treated human.” Critics may argue that this book has a small scope in relation to the feminist issues in developing nations, but this is a universal need in our world. Women simply want to be treated as humans. We are making enormous strides toward this goal every day. Simply having access to books like this one, whether you agree with everything she says or not, is evidence to support the increasing voice and power of females in our society.


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