Friday, July 5, 2013

Empowerment, Moran Style

A patron approached me at the reference desk recently [for the record, I swear I am not making this up for the sake of a blog post], asking, “ Where are your books on women and power? I want to feel empowered.” And my inner Gloria Steinem commenced a wild dance of celebration while I oh so calmly and professionally led her over to the appropriate non-fiction section (in case you are wondering, we have relevant titles shelved in the 150’s and early 300’s). As I filled her arms, I scanned book spines in vain for Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman, eventually coming to terms with the fact that it was checked out and informing the patron that I would put it on hold for her pronto. Because if you want to read a book about becoming an empowered woman (and are not squeamish about the liberal use of profanity and colorful euphemisms), look no further than Moran’s honest, funny, and (to put it lightly) strongly worded memoir-cum-manifesto.

 Early on in her book, Moran references a study that claims only 29% of American women count themselves feminists and demands, “What do you think feminism is, ladies? What part of ‘liberation for women’ is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? ‘Vogue,’ by Madonna? Jeans?” This sort of straight-up denunciation of what she deems societally ingrained short-sightedness is interspersed with fairly lurid tales about growing up poor and in time becoming a successful music journalist, newspaper columnist, and married mother of two girls in London. So camp out on the couch with a cup of coffee and try not to snort it out your nose as you read all about one woman’s quest to become empowered, and in so doing, empower the rest of us.

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