I went to see Caitlin Moran on her How To Be A Girl book tour at Leeds Town Hall last night with my teen and we had the best time. I’ve never been inside the Town Hall before, although I do have vague memories of once drunkenly sitting on the stone lions outside *ahem* but what an amazing building it is. Who knew? Anyway, I digress. Caitlin Moran was amazing. Amazing beyond words in fact. I don’t always agree with all of her views. It’d be pretty boring if I did to be fair. But I do think that she has done incredible things for modern feminism. She makes me think. And question things. And I like that very much.
When I first heard that the book tour would be coming to Leeds, there was no question that I would have to hear her speak and it went without saying that my fifteen year old would be coming along with me. I knew that it would be sweary and undoubtedly graphic but I took a chance (and actually earned immeasurable cool mummy points which is only ever a bonus of course!) We do talk about feminism at home and it saddens me that the message is so often lost on teenage girls including my own. And that’s why feminism is more important to me than ever. Caitlin Moran really struck a chord last night when she touched on the fact that the last generation of protesting feminists changed laws and made the world the place it is for us now. Going forward, marching still has it’s place but actually it is cultural changes that will make the difference for our daughters. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to think that we could shape the future so that our daughters don’t have to face some of crap that we’ve had to? If enough of us believe this, we can make that happen.
Funnily enough, my daughter’s favourite part of the evening was when Caitlin read a letter that she had written to her own girls. The basic life lesson in there of not being a dick is one that I hammer home to her (and in those exact words) so it made us both smile. Another thing that she did take away from it all though (and perhaps the most important thing) was that feminism means different things to different people. I think feminism can be dismissed by some teenagers as being somehow irrelevant to them and they wrongly think that it means hairy legs and hating men. It’s all a bit ROARRR and well, serious. Of course, feminism for some women does mean those things but my daughter came away knowing that it didn’t have to. We all have our own take on feminism as essentially it’s about choice and equality. And actually the whole ROARRR thing can be a bloody good thing.
Caitlin reckons everything sounds better when shouted from a chair. Especially proclaiming yourself a feminist. Now Leeds Town Hall deemed that their chairs were far too delicate to be stood on. That’s how posh it is. Seriously. But when standing next to my girl in that packed auditorium last night with our arms in the air shouting “I AM A FEMINIST” I’ve never believed it more. The thing I love most about Caitlin Moran is that she asks questions and pushes boundaries and by doing so makes me do the same. This is a Very Good Thing. I came away with fire in my belly plus a whole new level of girl crush. It was the ‘feminist smile’ that got me, what can I say? Plus how often can you say that you spent the evening bonding over menses and indeed clown porn with your teenage daughter? Honestly, you had to be there. Best. Night. Ever.