How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran is a Feminist humorous non-fiction book that has sold over a million copies worldwide and gained several positive reviews across the globe. However, despite the immense potential and a promising premise, this book fails to delight a feminist reader because the title of the book misleads you to a certain extent with the idea of feminism because the read is far from empowering. It is more of a memoir – and a promising one at that, but I guess most readers pick it up as a feminist read which this book really lacks in delivering. If you want to pick a humorous memoir of a lady- you would not be disappointed, and I think you should pick this up. However, I judge this book as a Feminist read and since it failed to impress me in that genre – I would not recommend it for you.
How to Be a Woman (Review)
This book is absolutely confusing and convoluted, and while the author has her charms to enable you to read the book without cringing, it is not long before you realize that she narrates very limited views, very subjectively. Feminism, when not inclusive, is not feminism! Humour is the weapon she employs and while she excels at that- somehow she fails to entertain a reader with something new, something original or a thought that will linger in the mind after you finish this book. As author Roxane Gay points out in her review of ‘How To Be a Woman’:
“Good humor does not elevate common sense wisdom into groundbreaking or important feminist thought.”
The book moves from Moran’s adolescence to womanhood to motherhood, and each chapter deals with several aspects and conflicts of being a woman. She phrases events that shaped her and her feminist ideals and rants about them – wittily and truthfully. Honestly, there were times when her humor started to feel real clichés and stupid misunderstandings. Also, for someone who has read several works of feminism and has been actively partaking in discussions on the same, this book does not offer anything new. The only thing I liked about this book was her call for the fifth wave of feminism. I agree with Time which calls this book “hugely lovable” but “problematically narrow.”
The biggest drawback in this book is the casual stereotyping, hypocritical statements and racism that may evade the first glance but are present – something unexpected while reading a book like this. She makes strippers and trans people an object of ridicule. Reading this book gradually made me start to dislike the author, and I ended up hating the book. What surprises me is the number of positive reviews for the book! The title is sure attractive but I feel that if you really want to read a book that teaches you how to be a woman and feminism, you’d be better off with Sexual Politics by Kate Millet. The humorous take on feminism may sound very promising, but this book fails terribly at it.