Required Reading: “How To Be A Woman”

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Don’t let the title fool you,  Caitlin Moran’s “How To Be A Woman,” is a brutally honest and charmingly witty call to arms for women everywhere to embrace their inner feminist.

Peppered with personal anecdotes of her personal journey to feminism and brilliant British banter, Moran strips feminism of the bra burning, leg hair growing, man hating stereotypes that have long plagued the movement.

“Do you have a vagina?  Do you want to be in charge go it?  If you said yes to both, then congratulations!  You’re a feminist,”  she writes.  Feminism is really as simple as that; women seeking equality, seeking control of their own bodies.

Prior to reading this book, I admittedly had little understanding of what Caitlin-sidefeminism truly meant.  Based on portrayals of feminists throughout history as well as in the media, I thought feminism was far more radical than that.  This misunderstanding is at the very root of feminism’s bad reputation.

“We need to reclaim the word ‘feminist’.  We need the word ‘feminism’ back real bad,” writes Moran.  “When statistics come in saying that only 29% of American women would describe themselves as feminist – and only 42% of British women – I used to think, what do you think feminism IS, ladies?  What part of  ‘liberation for women’ is not for you?  Is it freedom to vote?  The right not to be owned by the man you marry?  The campaign for equal pay?  ‘Vogue’ by Madonna?  Jeans?  Did all that good shit GET ON YOUR NERVES?  Or were you just DRUNK AT THE TIME OF THE SURVEY?”

When you put it like that, why in the World would any woman not stand on top of a table and proudly declare herself a feminist?  71% of women don’t think that they should be equal to men?  71% of women don’t think that they should have control over their reproductive system?

I am going to go out on a limb and say that those women just don’t understand what feminism is.  They have been played by stereotypes into thinking that feminists are bra burning man haters who shave their heads and not their underarms.  Present Moran’s definition of feminism and I have a feeling that 71% is going to shrink real fast.

Clever, blunt, and outrageously funny – there were innumerable instances where I was doubled over in laughter while reading – Caitlin Moran is a feminist voice of a generation, shattering glass ceilings, and false perceptions, one page at a time.

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