In the beginning of 2016, Emma Watson created a Feminist book club on GR. Since then it has become the biggest book club on the platform with currently more than 122,000 members.
Every month a book is selected and read (I admit I am not that constant, but I try), and obviously discussed.
April 2016 Our Shared Shelf Pick:
Author: Caitlin Moran
Release Date: June 16th, 2011
Genres: Memoir, Humor, Feminism
Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven’t been burned as witches since 1727, life isn’t exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women’s lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother.
A little FIY before I get to it:
I have a personal rule that prevents me from reviewing any kind of biography in matters of content whatsoever. I don’t like doing it, mainly because I feel that that would be akin to judging a person’s life and that’s something you simply shouldn’t do.
Also, I never rate biographies of any kind for that same reason. The farthest I might go is to compare it to other biographies of the same kind, i.e. when I pick up a biography of an historical figure and I’ve read another one about the same subject I might point out which one I think is more exhaustive (and even then, I am no expert, so it’s always a matter of personal opinions).
“When a woman says, ‘I have nothing to wear!’, what she really means is, ‘There’s nothing here for who I’m supposed to be today.”
So, skipping anything inherent to the biographic content – which is here simply taken as a reference to address matters of feminism and womanhood – I will simply write what I thought about it.
How To Be A Woman is an “autobiography with purpose”. The purpose being, being a “feminist manifesto”
Personally, I wouldn’t go as far as labeling it that since it would hint at being, for lack of better words, “relevant” to a vast majority of women when I myself was actually rather put off by some word choices, some views and other stuff that ringed to me as contradictory and maybe even a little bit offensive to just about every movement for equality.
Because that’s what, in my humble and maybe ignorant opinion, feminism is about: EQUALITY.
Example of off-putting? Moran quotes Germaine Greer throughout, even mentioning that she’s kind of an idol to her. I’ll refer you to this article titled Feminist Germaine Greer Goes On Anti-Trans Rant Over Caitlyn Jenner to explain why I think Germiane Greer is not a top-notch example of feminism. Let me tell you that if you go and slam the right of another human being to be him/herself and decide who and what they are, behaving just like you don’t want people to behave towards you, you demonstrate that rather than wanting equality and freedom, you want to substitute or be part of the very institutions/group of people you claim have oppressed or -ified you in any way. Dig what I’m saying?
It’s called hypocrisy and it’s not a good look on men or women.
I don’t want to say that your kind of feminism is wrong… but I’m doing it, because behaving that way goes against anything you claim you stand for and it’s the very reason I, and a whole lot of other people – men and women alike – are put off by the entire idea of feminism.
I’d like to press the fact that feminism is not simply being pro-woman and it’s definitely not being not anti-men, but pro-human and pro-whatever-and-whoever-and-however-you-want-to-be. At the base of everything are equality and freedom to be and to do (in the limits of morality – which is debatable – and ethics – which is not debatable – and legality – which is debatably debatable).
So, while How To Be A Woman is not a feminist manifesto to me, it is a great example of the many and personalized shades of feminism there can be.
How To Be A Woman describes how Caitlin Moran wants herself to be as a woman. It is a personal take on, an expression of how the author sees and percieves not only feminism but the world around her.