04 February 2013

How to be a Woman - Caitlin Moran

"The British version of Tina Fey's Bossypants." - VanityFair.com
I'mma stop you right there, VanityFair.com and the rest of the publishing world who just wanted to rope in the Americans who haven't ever heard of Caitlin Moran. No, you don't get to finish. Bossypants was fantastic and I enjoyed it immensely, especially because I listened to Tina read it to me through the magic of audiobooks. I have a fierce attachment to Tina Fey born of 1) her Sarah Palin impression, which made the 2008 election bearable for this displaced Alaskan*, 2) how smart she is, and 3) how much I secretly suspect that I am a lot like Liz Lemon, only less funny and with a cat. I also suspect that most single English-speaking women in their 30's feel the same way, with or without the cat.

But this book? This book isn't just a very funny memoir with some stuff in it about how women are viewed and how that viewpoint is bullshit.

This book is a MANIFESTO. Germaine (Sodding) Greer factors heavily into Moran's fundamental childhood reading, and what she (Moran) is doing here is reminding those of us with XX chromosomes that there are two sides to the Woman Coin, and that as long as we - the bearers of the XX - are happy and mostly healthy with a variety of experiences at our back - OR NOT - that's what matters. And she's doing it while making me a friend of mine snort boxed Trader Joe's wine out of my her nose.

I don't know if you've noticed, fellow lady-readers, but there doesn't seem to be a manual on womanhood. There's a sociological expectation of certain actions and behaviors, but I think we can all lift our glasses and do a little laugh-sigh a little along with 13-year-old Caitlin when she says, "Oh God, I just don't have a clue. I don't have a clue how I will ever be a woman."

My little brother THB (as christened by my friend Jasmin and standing for Tika's Hot Brother - this is a story for another time) recently asked me why I keep saying I'm a strident/raging/rampaging feminist - being a feminist is so... aggressive, he said. So... unattractive. Instead of exploding, I asked him if he thought women should have the same pay, rights, and opportunities as men do, and of course he said yes because I raised him right. And then he said, "well, I suppose that makes me a feminist too!" I nearly cried on the spot.

One single, solitary, corn syrup tear.

But back to the book. It's hilarious. It's insightful. It's informative. It's HIGHLY opinionated, but since I agree with pretty much everything she says, that's ok.

I woke up at 4:30am the other day to finish reading this. It's that good.

10.5 out of 11 British Swear Words I Will Now Incorporate Into My Vocabulary

*Yes, I grew up in Juneau, and NO, you can't see Russia from my house OR the Governor's Mansion. There's a sodding great mountain in the way.