A good question: How to Be A Woman

A couple weeks ago, I read this month’s TBYL Book Club book, Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman (Random House).

Now, straight up, I’m going to say that I really enjoyed this book. I found it humorous, pragmatic, realistic and revealing. I’ll also say, that I know plenty of people who didn’t like this book – a few of whom didn’t push past the first couple of chapters.

And that is why I’m so looking forward to chatting about this book at the end of August…

How to Be a Woman is ‘part memoir, part rant, Caitlin Moran answers the questions that every modern woman is asking’

“It’s a good time to be a woman: we have the vote and the Pill, and we haven’t been burnt as witches since 1727. However, a few nagging questions do remain…

Why are we supposed to get Brazilians? Should we use Botox? Do men secretly hate us? And why does everyone ask you when you’re going to have a baby?”

I’m sure that most of us have pondered on one or more of these questions at one time or another, and Moran attempts to cast a little light on what these questions mean to women, both cosmetically and politically. Her illuminations are often irreverent, but I think always intelligently considered. Avoiding the ‘militant’ or ‘academic’ approach of many feminist writers, Caitlin’s approach to exploring issues that are so often labeled as fickle or unimportant is refreshingly practical:

“I have a rule of thumb that allows me to judge – when time is pressing, and one needs to make a snap judgement – whether some sexist bullshit is afoot. Obviously it’s not 100 per cent infallible but, by and large, it definitely points you in the right direction.

And it’s asking this question: ‘Are the men doing it? Are the men worrying about this as well? Is this taking the men’s time? Are the men told not do this, as it’s ‘letting the side down’? Are men having to write bloody books about this exasperating, time-wasting bullshit? Is it making Jeremy Clarkson feel insecure?”

As she says, it’s not a fool-proof test, but it’s interesting set of questions to ask.

Some people I know have found the book a little ‘ranty’ and it does have that about it, but I like the author’s humour, and I found this memoir a nice change from the fiction that I most often read.

As our August book at the TBYL Book Club, we’ll start our conversation about the book on Monday, 28 August over at the club. Join the August Group to join in the conversation, and if you’re around, pop online at 8pm Monday for a live chat. As something a little different this month, I’ll be posted a few questions each day, Monday through to Wednesday. We’ll wrap up the ‘official’ conversations on Wednesday night, although people are of course welcome to hang around for the rest of the week if you want to keep talking.

I am really interested to hear about what you enjoyed, disliked, agreed with or disagreed with. I hope you’ll join us…

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