This month Bookworm’s Truong looks at work by feminist authors with a focus on British novelist and columnist, Caitlin Moran

 

A couple of pro-active feminists in the Bookworm orbit have suggested we put in a plug for very popular British author Caitlin Moran who now has two books on the UK bestseller lists.

 

Moran is a columnist for The Times, is 37, married with two daughters and she writes with a wry but biting sense of humour.

 

Her first book How To Be a Woman is a very hard-hitting memoir and asks women: “Do you have a vagina? Do you want to be in charge of it? If you say yes to both questions, congratulations! You’re a feminist.”

 

Moran is open about the debt she owes Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch in molding her feminist views, but she presents her opinions in a way that plucks feminism out of academia and plonks it delectably onto the dinner plates of every woman. She blithely writes about discovering masturbation, about being the proud owner of a big, furry muff (and is scathing about bikini waxing, asking would a sane mother really want her daughter to grow up idolizing the Kardashians and spending loads of hard earned money on depilation).

 

She describes in graphic detail her own adventures in childbirth and her, and her husband’s, decision to abort a second child. She writes about overeating being an addiction no different to heroin. She’s totally down on porn and the sleaze factor and she tells women that pole dancing is a definite no no. She’s scathing about females who say things like “my boyfriend treats me alright so I don’t need to be a feminist”; who belong to the up to 60 percent of bird brain western women who say they don’t relate to feminist ideals. She can’t see the point of painful stilettos or thongs that disappear up smelly bum cracks. She insists that strident feminism needs big undies.

 

Moran’s favourite fashion era was the 1990s when grunge was big and the pressure on women to impress and be ladylike disappeared for a while. At the time she could dress down in Doc Martens and an old shirt, and not be told she was failing as a woman.

 

Moran’s feminist outpourings are hitting a wide mark because they are less about glass ceilings and quotas in boardrooms and more about Brazilians, botox and the many things you don’t like having your vagina called.

 

Our orbiting feminists say it should be compulsory reading for all adolescent females. A lot of men will get absorbed, too, but most won’t want to relinquish their gender power base

 

Teenage Angst

 

Moran’s latest book, How To Build a Girl, is a spirited coming of age novel about a pudgy girl who describes herself at 14 as: “fat, a solid pale fat that makes me look like a cheap, white fridge-freezer.”

 

Dolly is a typical female adolescent. She’s a mixture of low self-esteem — due to all the media directed at her gender cohort — and of impatience to jump out of the confines of the constructs of girlish innocence that only adults find enchanting. She becomes a smoker, a drinker and a fast forward fornicator. Over and over again she falls in love with some guy who’s only after an easy piece of action. The novel is direct and to the point about girls’ tendencies to concentrate more about what boys think about them than vice versa. More about the need to please their partners in bed rather than figuring out their own pleasurable preferences — though Dolly reaches a few sensible conclusions about the satisfaction afforded by smaller penis sizes that will rock a lot of masculine egos.

 

Set in the 1990s when Moran was undergoing her own teenage angst and paralleling her own beginning involvement as a precocious writer in the rock music scene, she has an ability to strip away the sweetness and cuteness we belatedly put on the terrifying decade between 12 and 20 years of age. Her huge fan, author Lionel Shriver states: “she manages to evoke in readers a nostalgia for the vigour, vibrancy and sense of infinite possibility that distinguishes those teenage years, but an enormous relief that it is all over.”

 

Recommendations

 

Staying with young females and their preferences, here are two recommendations from the Twitter Youth Feminist Army — a group of teenage women from around the world who espouse and support the feminist aims.

 

Delusions of Gender by Cornelia Fine is an outstanding resume of how science can be sexist and just how deeply this gender bias goes in our society.
They recommend Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel and classic piece of feminist fiction, The Handmaid’s Tale, because they feel that it is a striking portrayal of a society, not too far removed from our own, which takes oppressive attitudes to a natural conclusion.

 

For more information on Bookworm go to bookwormhanoi.com. Besides their original store on Chau Long, Bookworm have a second, smaller shop in Nghi Tam Village in the West Lake area. Located behind the Sheraton, it can be found at Lane 1/28 Au Co, Lang Nghi Tam, Tay Ho

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Truong Bookworm

Truong comes from a family of fisher folk and has been the owner manager of the Bookworm since 2006. Apart from being a book-o-phile he loves to explore Vietnam by bicycle and motorbike. His latest travel passion is tracing the contours of the Vietnamese coastline on foot. He’s also a sustainability fan and has a green home with a rooftop garden near the Duong River.

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