Posted by: Ele Quigan | October 5, 2012

How to be a woman – Caitlin Moran

How to be a woman. The book recommended everywhere, THE book to read. Women everywhere should read it. Every magazine was singing it’s praises. More than awarded, 5 stars ALL over it.

Yes. It’s well recommended. But I felt it was missing something. Everything. but that’s when I got to the end of it and realised it’s not a ‘hints and tips’ on how to be a woman at all – it’s an autobiography. (which is fine, and to be honest, what I was expecting)

I enjoyed it, I really did. I chuffled in some parts (that’s not a full on laugh out loud, but a more quiet, resigned little laugh. More than a smirk, less than a guffaw), I felt sad in some parts, and I did nod along a lot -in fact most of it – but still…

– What about learning to be comfortable in your own skin?
I guess it’s not a funny anecdote or sudden moment when you can say ‘oh, actually – I’ve decided after all these years that I’m actually okay/normal’ but that’s a process I feel like everyone goes through.

– How do you cope with other women? Or even people for that matter?
I could write essays on this topic, essays insofar that I can’t do it myself. My own insecurities are so freaking close to the surface I either go into overdrive into the shell person I am sometimes. Fake it till you make it? yeah that’s an adage I know well. It’s like I have a persona that I’m able to go into if I need (I swear it’s from years of acting) – or go into that sad depressed mode where I still feel like the outsider/weird kid from high school who never managed to quite fit in anywhere.

Large groups do it to me often. Standing amongst a group of people feeling like you either have nothing to add to the conversation, or that you don’t quite get the joke, or that you are so self-conscious about making some kind of social faux-pas that you awkwardly smile, laugh too loudly, and fiddle with your hands OR if you have a drink, for the sake of actually doing something you take sip after sip after gulp after gulp and realise you’ve just got fricking drunk and are embarrassing yourself in front of everyone.

I’d like to know sometimes that someone else feels like that. Someone FAMOUS. Not Lady Gaga and her eating disorders. Not Demi Lovato and her self-harm. Someone who is cool, hip, quirky and looks like she doesn’t give a shit. Because god damn I wish I didn’t. See above point about learning how to be comfortable in your own skin.

– How do you learn to create your own style.

I’m no life coach, but Brand YOU is important. It’s important for work, it’s important for life, it’s important for friendships. People gravitate to certain types of people. So a chapter on ‘How to be nice to everyone because that’s what people like when really you just want to pitch yourself off a cliff’ would have been really nice. Oh and how to grow up a bit. And realise that your accessories are ridiculous. There’s a time and a place for a Tiger eye necklace and a plastic cheetah on it, and a work party isn’t it. (disclaimer, it’s my favourite necklace in the ENTIRE WORLD. I love it to bits. Just never have the guts to quite wear it anywhere. See previous 2 points.)

– How do you stop thinking the grass is always greener?

If only – If only I was thinner/had bigger boobs/was richer/was blonde/had a degree/was smarter/was more interesting/was tidier/was less sensitive/more attractive/had eyes that were a proper colour rather than this stupid in between wonky grey – I’m 31 – WHEN DOES THIS STOP HAPPENING? I’d like it to stop now. I ate my crusts till I was 11 in the hope I’d get curly hair, but at least that stopped. THIS? jaysus.

Maybe this is it – time to start my own self-help book. HA. HAHAhahahaha. No it’s not time to start my own version, but Caitlin, (we’re on first name terms because a: I follow you on Twitter, and b: I feel I’ve just poured my heart into what is supposed to be a book review…) I want to thank you for your ardent feminism. It’s not feminism lite. It’s not angry man hating feminism. And feminism shouldn’t be – but I’d really love to see how we tackle female solidarity. ‘Mean Girls’ (or Queen Bees and Wannabes if you haven’t seen the movie but would like to read the book) is inherent in the way we communicate as women. Our self-doubt is intrinsic in our western society, in our media, in our communication, in our workplace. How do we generate a little more self love? How do we lose a little more doubt?

I saw a poster in the Tube yesterday for her latest autobiography instalment – I might go hunt that out in the hope it offers a chuffle, some insight, and hopefully a few more answers.



  1. Sorry I’m neither cool nor famous but did identify with a lot of what you said

  2. You’ve just confirmed a lot of my suspicions about this book…that it won’t be How to be a Woman, but more How to be Caitlin Moran. You should write one!

  3. […] the Book Brothel, Novel Insights, My Books My Life, The Literary Kitty, The Book and Biscuit, The parenthesis and the footnote, Lucybird’s Book Blog. Did I miss your post on this book? Let me know and I will add it to […]

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