“In this era of Doc Martens and beer and minimal makeup, sexism seems to be dying so fast it would be counterproductive to draw attention to it. We all, naively, presume it is a problem of another age, and that things are getting better and better by the day. We don’t know what’s coming toward us-Brazilians, and another decade and a half of unequal pay. In an era of PJ Harvey, we cannot imagine the Pussycat Dolls.” (133)
i often ask people what they’re reading. one day, a woman told me “caitlin moran’s how to be a woman. every woman should read it and i bought copies for every woman in my life.” she wouldn’t say anything else but that, and i don’t usually fall for context-less gushing, but i admit, i was intrigued. i went to put it on hold at the library, and there were many, many people in front of me. some time after that, i found myself at the north york central branch, and i came across her second book. i didn’t enjoy that much, so i almost took myself out of the queue, but i didn’t, and months later-this is not as terrible as i thought it would be. it’s actually a lot smarter, meatier, and written showcasing a much better vocabulary than its follow-up. i’ve talked with a few authors who claim that a book deal is all about your next book, and that could be what’s going on here-that it’s forced, but whatever the case-i almost recommend this book with as much fervour as that other woman. ok, not quite, but it’s worth a peek.
“So here is the quick way of working out if you’re a feminist. Put your hand in your underpants.
a.) Do you have a vagina and
b.) Do you want to be in charge of it?
If you said ‘yes’ to both, then congratulations! You’re a feminist.” (75)
and so, this is still a thing, right? like blackface or exiting the bus from the back to allow logical flow and quicker service in general-there still seems to be a grey area that is utterly perplexing to me. the taboo that exists over this label is one that paralyzes us from moving from reflection to action.
“That ‘Girl Power’ has been the sole rival to the word ‘feminism’ in the last 50 years is a cause for much sorrow on behalf of women. After all, P. Diddy has had four different names, and he’s just one man.” (76)
right? what about all the good work that came out of the rrriot girl movement in the ’90s? no contemporary name could’ve come out of it? just some contradictory and loaded slogan put forth by grown women (at the time, let alone the embarrassing tour that happened two years ago).
“By the age of 35, I’ve had two children, paid off half my mortgage, got drunk with Lady Gaga; I make my own guacamole, can do 30 seconds of the easy bit of the ‘Single Ladies’ dance, have two contrary opinions about globalization, know the Heimlich maneuver, and once scored 420 in Scrabble.
But I’m also still dipping into those women’s magazines, and they were making me feel genuinely bad about my life achievements. Because I don’t yet have an ‘investment handbag’.” (198)
and the most progressive of feminist politics-the idea that we are all socialized by gender, and we’re obligated to address the ways our behaviours are intertwined.
“You spend this money on nothing at all-addiction to porn and strip clubs is the third biggest cause of debt in men. Between 60 and 90 percent of strippers come from a background of sexual abuse. This place is a mess, a horrible mess. Every dancer, every private booth, is a small unhappiness, an ugly impoliteness: the bastard child of misogyny and commerce.” (164)
“But when they do come of an age where they want to start viewing sexual imagery, I want Harris and Ryan and Tom to have a chance of finding some, for the want of a better word, free-range porn out there. Something that shows sex as something that two people want to do together, rather than a thing that just happens to a woman when she has to make rent. Something in which-to put it simply-everyone comes.” (36)