‘How to be a Woman’ by Caitlin Moran


‘In fact I have become more didactic about pubic hair – to the point where I now believe that there are only four things a grown, modern woman should have … A big, hairy minge. A lovely furry moof that looks – when she sits, naked – as if she has a marmoset sitting in her lap. A tame marmoset, that she can send off to pickpocket things, should she need it – like the trained monkey in Raiders of the Lost Arc.’


This is one of my favourite extracts from the novel, it had me laughing on the beach before reading it to my friend with tears streaming down my face as I try to get the words out. When I asked said friend to bring me more books on holiday as I had run out, she was astounded that I have never heard of, let alone read, such a ‘seminal feminist’ text.

Moran’s novel is part memoir, part rant demonstrating her views on the issues that are affecting the modern woman. First published in 2012, this novel still resonates, especially in the current #MeToo movement. Her writing style is informal, tongue-in-cheek and she mixes her memories with her views seamlessly. Some readers may find this unsettling at times and I will honestly say that I do not agree with all her views. However, this novel is both entertaining and thought-provoking; I read it in a day and a half, spending a lot of time sniggering to myself and thinking ‘Oh my god I have never considered that.’ Moran covers periods, pubic hair, abortions, children, fashion, weight and general issues that face women in today’s society. What I really loved was how honest and witty she was, at no point did she sugar coat the realities of being a women, she talks frankly about her decisions and views, without apologising or hiding. This is what I found refreshing about this novel: honesty. So many writers talk about feminism but hide some of the ugly realities, they talk about a woman’s right to have an abortion but never discuss their own decisions. It feels like Moran tells her truth, without hiding behind her words or views.

This novel is not a novel for women, it is for all. Men can gain insight into the minds, experiences and issues facing women, all whilst laughing, and women can giggle while they see elements of their own experiences in Moran’s re-telling and hopefully feel inspired to discuss these issues with other women.

An excellent novel!




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