I’d say this semi-autobiography describes Moran’s home-schooled childhood, how she grew up with seven siblings, her foray into journalism by joining Music Weekly ‘Melody Maker’ at 16, her stint at broadcasting, her longer career as a columnist in The Times, and in a way it does, but here the life story structures the rant. How to Be a Woman is a witty tirade in defence of feminism in the post-suffragette world. It covers just about everything women have to deal with from puberty to womanhood and beyond.
Nothing on the female anatomical calendar is left unexplored – menstruation, pubes, breasts. Photos are fittingly absent, considering the topics. Moran’s energetic prose then plunges into the post-puberty dramas of dating, weight issues, marriage, having children, and all the sexism that goes with it.
Moran’s overarching point is that we misinterpret feminism as misandry. Feminism is a love of sexual equality, not a hatred of men. She also berates us for misplaced nostalgia. Who in their right mind would stay as the underdog, shackled by chauvinism? And we still have work to do – men and woman aren’t equals yet.
This book is a pep talk for women, and Moran’s clever, colloquial and witty monologue gives us more than enough morale to continue fighting the fight. We may be conditioned to fall for the Mr Darcys of this world (who, by the way, are fictional) but deep down, however many sugar-coated period dramas you sit through, every woman would give the thumbs-up for liberty. VP