Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Review! - Moranifesto by Caitlin Moran

Moranifesto title image

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Title: Moranifesto

Author: Caitlin Moran

Genre: Non-fiction; essays; anthology

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

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An explanation for those of my international readers who may not've heard of Caitlin Moran: Moran is a British journalist and author - both of fiction and non-fiction.

She usually writes for The Times - a 'posh' paper that normally takes a traditionalist or elitist middle-class to upper-middle-class view.

Her moderate left-wing politics are about the nearest thing to liberal and/or working-class that most Times readers will be exposed to.

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Hands up, I enjoy Caitlin Moran's writing. I know she can be divisive but she's also really funny.

Still, honesty and all that jazz. She's often accused of White Feminism, so I'll be keeping an eye out for that.

Expect both sides explored thoroughly in this review my nerdlets! ;)


Modern life and politics need a revolution! They need updating.

Journalist and author Caitlin Moran reckons she has the answers; so with a selection of her newspaper and magazine articles and columns, she's setting out her manifesto.

Best bits:

Caitlin Moran is funny, ok? End of.

She's zany, quirky, and a little bit controversial. All of that makes for a hugely entertaining read.

I laughed out loud more than once, and if you're looking for something that manages to casually combine serious topics with a dash of humour, then this is it!

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Moran is also a total Cumberb**ch - a Benedict Cumberbatch fangirl.

...And she gets to live every Cumbercookie's dream and interview the man himself!


Honestly, if you're a massive Cumberbabe and/or Sherlockian, there's a little section in here that you will adore.

And it rocks to see someone who's a bit older than your average fangirl fully embracing the fangirl-life! ;)

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As I mentioned in the first section, Caitlin Moran is often accused of White Feminism.

This is feminism which ignores and/or excludes the needs and problems of women of colour, disabled women, queer women, etc.

I'm happy to say that she is clearly making an effort.

There are more attempts in this collection to incorporate women of intersectional backgrounds.

It's undoubtedly a step in the right direction - she's starting:

  • to include the needs of women of varied backgrounds
  • to point out when women are further disadvantaged by their marginalised identities (e.g. race, disability, sexuality.)
  • to speak about the problems of women in other countries such as India
  • to speak about the under-representation of people of colour, LGBTQ+ people, etc. in media and government
  • to defend the rights of refugees

She's far from perfect (see 'not so great bits' section) - but she's human.

And she's trying. It's up to you whether that's enough for you to give her book a go.

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Caitlin Moran's voice is important.

It's important because this is the voice of socialism and the welfare state, beaming itself at the ears and eyeballs of people who've never known hardship in their lives.

It's important because she invites you in for a chat, like a kooky aunt or a batty neighbour, and then convinces you that the world can be better.

It's important because it proves to the toffs that a girl from a council house has just as much intelligence and drive as any of their families - maybe more so.

Caitlin Moran may seem 'not liberal enough' or 'too White Feminism' to those on the far-left.

But to the right? She's a one woman revolution. She speaks the unspeakable, and turns their ideas upside-down - all over a cup of tea and natter.

Lord knows, the UK needs her voice.

Not so great bits:

Because of the way this book is structured, it includes a lot of sensitive topics, but may only talk about them briefly.

Rarely, if ever, is it graphic.

There are some topics that stick out in particular though.

This is NOT an exhaustive list of the sensitive topics in this book, just those which really stood out:

corner image- rape and sexual violence (discusses some cases IN DETAIL.)

- FGM (female genital mutilation) (covered IN DETAIL.)

- cancer

- self-harm

- sexism

- poverty

Caitlin Moran also swears like a f**king sailor, and references the sexy-times often.

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Someone needs to sit Moran down and explain gender vs sexuality - cos I don't think she's getting it.

At one point she refers to men and women... and asexuals. Now, clearly she meant non-binary and other non-gender-conforming people.

But she's confused the gender spectrum with the sexuality spectrum.

Gender is how you feel in terms of male, female, and all the things in between and beyond. Sexuality is who you are attracted to.

Asexual means little or no sexual attraction. It is not a gender.

Now, if she made a mistake, then she made a mistake.

But this book is made up of articles from her archive: it's therefore been through newspaper editors, book editors, and lord knows how many hands besides.

Why did none of these pre-readers pick up on this?!

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Speaking of editors... this book could've done with better structure. A ball that falls into the editor's court.

It kind of needed someone to grab hold of it and go, 'you know what? We've gone off on one. And not in a relevant way.'

Because this book meanders way more than it needs too... and a lot of pieces were clearly squished in and rationalised later, rather than making sense to the overall theme.

This book sets itself up as a schematic for a revolution - albeit a tongue-in-cheek one - and then gets distracted by... pretty much everything.

I just felt like it could be a little more focussed.

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As far as the White Feminism goes, yes, an effort has most definitely been made.

But Moran sometimes still doesn't seem to get why people were upset to begin with, which can put her on the defensive.

Defensiveness is not a good look. Neither is fawning over Lena Dunham (slightly nauseatingly.)

And here's a tip my nerdlets: use 'gay people' (or 'LGBTQ+ people,') instead of 'gays,' unless you're LGBTQ+ yourself.

It's just nicer - sounds less like a different species, y'know? Likewise, say black people, disabled people, etc. It's more polite, ok?

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And while this book touches on world issues, it's still very much a Britain-centric book. In fact, a lot of the time it's an England-centric, or even London-centric book.

There are also a couple of times when she says 'England' where I think she means the UK.

I'll give her the benefit of the doubt - but my Twitter followers will know how irritated that makes me.

The UK is made up of Wales, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, and some dependencies such as the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, etc.

Unfortunately, people use Britain when they mean England, and England when they mean Britain.

But I'm not English. I'm Welsh, and I'm British. There's a lot of history there. Please respect that.


Whether you're a Moran fan or not, this is an entertaining book. A little lacking in focus, but still a lot of fun.

You may disagree with some of her standpoints, but Caitlin Moran is an important voice - and a fun one at that.

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  1. Very insightful review, Cee! I have never heard of Moran before, and she does seem like she has some work to do, but I'm glad she made you laugh and made some progress.

    1. She's v. well known in the UK, but I figured I ought to explain since not everyone who reads my blog is British! :)

  2. I quite like Caitlin Moran, I think I might get this book. She is funny. Sometimes I don't like what she writes in newspapers but mostly she seems like a nice woman with some good points of view. Thanks for sharing, this is off on my Christmas list!


    1. No problem - and I get what you mean! I have to admit that I'm a fan :)

  3. I haven't read many biographies or autobiographies, but for the ones that I have read, I'm always a big fan of there being humor. It makes it more enjoyable to read! I am also really glad to hear about her trying when it comes to escaping from white feminism.

    1. It's not so much an autobiography as a collection of her journalism, but yeah, it was good to see her put some effort in!


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