My woman crush Wednesday this week is Caitlin Moran. This may seem a controversial choice: as a cisgender, white female, Moran’s brand of feminism is inherently flawed and it is important to critique that. However, she can be credited for helping to mobilise a modern form of feminism which is less concerned with the misandry of yesteryear and rooted more in creating a sense of solidarity where women support one another and celebrate themselves.
Or, you may not have the foggiest who she is. Well, firstly she’s a writer and her CV is enough to make any would-be journalist question their future in the profession, due to the sheer volume of it and the teenage precocity. At 12 years old she won the Dillons essay competition; at 15 she had a novel published and by her late teens she was writing for The Guardian, Melody Maker and The Times. All having never completed secondary school. Cue the collective sobbing as we struggle through our degrees.
Moran has written a number of books which will ignite a feminist fire in your loins, so to speak. How to Be a Woman documents her early life growing up as part of a working-class family in Wolverhampton and being the eldest of eight children. It speaks of her childhood ambition to be a writer, and she’s a girl after my own heart having changed her name from Catherine to Caitlin courtesy of Jilly Cooper’s Riders (any Jilly Cooper fanatic is inspirational, believe me). More importantly though, it discusses subjects that could be deemed “taboo”, such as abortions, female sexuality and the sexism women experience from a very early age. As I said, it’s not without its flaws and is trans-exclusionary, but it is a definite must-read for anyone who deems themselves a “strident feminist” (Moran’s words) and wants somewhere to embark on the journey of dismantling that wretched patriarchy.
She also has another book, Moranthology, which is a series of essays discussing anything that piques her interest – including her somewhat singular experience of getting pissed with Kylie – and she has an upcoming book, Moranifesto. The latter is Moran speaking frankly about politics, a forum that has often been diminished to white men in dull suits with holiday homes discussing the needs of the poorest denominator. Her Twitter, as well, sees her enter into a dialogue with other women, although she’s not without trolls, in a sweary, witty, engaging way. Not unlike a girls’ night where you demolish a bottle of £3 wine and put the world to rights.
Anyone with hair so backcombed it defies gravity, speaks openly about the warts-and-all experience of being a woman and uses her media platform to tackle sexism and misogyny, and isn’t ashamed to speak about getting pissed and chain-smoking whilst making no qualms about enjoying “girly” things is worthy of a woman crush in my book. We still have a long way to go until equality across all sexes and genders, but Moran has had a profound influence on creating a feminism founded in pluralism.