I was a latecomer to the Caitlin Moran party having only picked up her books a few months ago. I had heard her name everywhere and wanted to see what all the fuss was about, a few chapters in to How To Be A Woman and I was hooked. So when I heard that she was doing a slot at the Dublin writer’s fest I booked instantly and managed to bag myself a front row seat, no mean feat especially as the 1200 capacity venue went on to sell out not long after.
Walking into the venue I wasn’t surprised to see that it was a mostly female audience, but I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a few men dotted around the place. Interviewer Sinead Gleeson came out to introduce Caitlin but agreed that she was a woman who didn’t need one. Caitlin arrived out to a rapturous applause and seemed genuinely surprised at the sheer volume of people who had showed up. She is known for her love of twitter and she excitedly got Sinead to take a photo of her in front of the huge crowd to tweet to her fans. In true Caitlin style she had decided to dress down and admitted that she had brought a smart dress to wear, but that denim shorts a plaid shirt and doc martins seemed like a far better idea. She sat down and began sipping her gin, joking that before coming on the bar man had told her that the bar had never sold so much wine in one night before.
The audience was enthralled from the get go. Barely a response from Caitlin to any of the questions went by without a thunderous applause and response from the audience. Caitlin has been hailed for introducing a new generation of women to feminism and that is perhaps part of the reason she has become so popular. She has opened the minds of this generation to new ideas and got them thinking, the fact that she is so relatable and likable doesn’t hurt. She explained that for the cover of her first book How To Be A Woman she wanted the cover to be a picture of her feminist smile, which consists of her holding her less than toned stomach so that it looks like a mouth and using her breasts as eyes. In a world obsessed with unattainable feminine beauty and ideals that most people don’t fit into it’s a breath of fresh air to see someone of her celebrity saying that it’s okay if you’re not perfect. You don’t need to dress up, be pin thin or care about what you look like to be a success. She said that in fact the more successful she gets, the more she just wants to be scruffy.
She talked about how culture is the source of change, especially where feminism is involved. Music is the first to change, citing Lady Gaga. Television and film is next, Shows like Lena Dunham’s Girls and the film Bridesmaids have made it okay for women to be funny and disgusting. Last to change will be legislation. Abortion was talked about quite a bit which was what brought up change, and how she sees that it is going to happen. There were many hard hitting topics covered such as racism, rape, class war, sexism. But there was no air of doom and gloom about it. They were all tackled in a way that made the audience laugh. I laughed from start to finish, something you wouldn’t expect from a talk that covers such gloomy topics.
She could easily have talked for several more hours and the audience still wouldn’t have had enough. But to a standing ovation she left to go sign books for the audience for what must have been hours. I wasn’t too far from the front and it was still the guts of an hour before I got my book signed and a picture. I had a really great night and left feeling empowered, and I definitely wasn’t the only one.
First published here on Krank.ie