Tag: Funny Parenting Stories

How To Be A Woman, by Caitlin Moran

A few years acaitlin-moran-howtobeawoman-sreesha-divakaran-rainandabookgo, my good friend, Caitlin Moran and I were discussing the possibility of me releasing a memoir. I asked her to ghost write it for me, which she did, but I received the shock of my life when the book came out – in her name.

I’ll wait for you to stop gasping about this betrayal. Shocking, right?

OK, no, that’s not true. You can all stop hating her for the betrayal that never happened.

Nor is she my friend *sobs* Why is life so unfair!

The thing is, this book could have been about me. No, I know what you’re thinking: that I say this about every book I read and I relate to every protagonist and antagonist there is in this world. But this is not like that. You see, everyone has this one thing about which they turn madly, passionately, near-fanatic. Nearly everyone. Some people blow themselves up for an imaginary fairy in the sky, some people get the Prime Minister’s name tattooed across their chest. For me, it is, and almost always has been, feminism.

Lately, I have been getting really pissed off with people, especially women, who have been declaring they are not feminists because of reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with feminism. There is a man whom I used to respect a lot (used to) who referred to feminism as “rebellion.” What was ironic was the context – it was mentioned a highly pro-women blog-post; so I assumed, like 50% of the population and numbnuts like Sarah Jessica Parker, this man had no idea what feminism was, because otherwise why would anyone be so self-contradictory in one breath?

Caitlin Moran touches upon the key issues women face daily, starting with sexism at the workplace – she mentions how it is so ingrained in our system, that sometimes we don’t even realize it – how women are constantly judged, in ways that men are not, about the clothes they wear, about their career choices, personal life or almost literally everything. She talks about the question that only women are asked all the time, “When are you having kids?” To which she has an excellent response: “Batman doesn’t want a baby in order to feel he’s ‘done everything’. He’s just saved Gotham again! If this means that Batman must be a feminist role model above, say, Nicola Horlick, then so be it.” Caitlin has two children of her own. In this context, I have to add, I have been asked by several people why is it that I advocate that to have kids or not is a woman’s choice when I have a child of my own. I am also asked this illogical question, “Do you not want others to have what you have?” The answer to that is simple: How do you know what makes them happy? Who are you to decide and judge?

“Batman doesn’t have to put up with this shit-why should we?”

Yet another key issue she mentions is how clueless and ignorant (education, literacy, career status not withstanding) women (*cough* SarahJessicaParker *cough* KatyPerry *cough*) seem to be claiming they are not feminists; which is a question that has been plaguing me for a while. The only thing that I ever had in response to that was, “If it weren’t for feminism, you wouldn’t be offering your opinion right now, so go invest in a dictionary, you moron.” Of course, Caitlin puts my thoughts into much more funny, straightforward and eloquent words that sound somehow more polite than my brash ones:

“These days, however, I am much calmer – since I realised that it’s technically impossible for a woman to argue against feminism. Without feminism, you wouldn’t be allowed to have a debate on women’s place in society. You’d be too busy giving birth on the kitchen floor – biting down on a wooden spoon, so as not to disturb the men’s card game – before going back to quick-liming the dunny. This is why those female columnists in the Daily Mail – giving daily wail against feminism – amuse me. They paid you £1,600 for that, dear, I think. And I bet it’s going in your bank account, and not your husband’s. The more women argue loudly, against feminism, the more they both prove it exists and that they enjoy its hard-won privileges. We need to reclaim the word ‘feminism’. We need the word ‘feminism’ back real bad. When statistics come in saying that only 29% of American women would describe themselves as feminist – and only 42% of British women – I used to think, What do you think feminism IS, ladies? What part of ‘liberation for women’ is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? ‘Vogue’ by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good shit GET ON YOUR NERVES? What is feminism? Simply the belief that women should be as free as men, however nuts, dim, deluded, badly dressed, fat, receding, lazy and smug they might be. Are you a feminist? Hahaha. Of course you are.”

Really. It’s that simple. I wish I get to be “calmer” one day about all this like Caitlin says she now is. God knows I could use it! But until then, I can do two things: 1) Recommend this book to everyone – men and women – and tell them the would enjoy it – both the content and how funny it is 2) if anyone comes at me with ignorant and idiotic lectures against feminism, I will clobber them on the head with this very same book. I think Caitlin will not appreciate this second one, because she has repeatedly mentioned anger isn’t the answer – humour probably could be. Hence, I will leave you with one final quote from my new favourite book by my new favourite feminist role model, who sadly isn’t my new best friend:

“But as the years went on, I realised that what I really want to be, all told, is a human. Just a productive, honest, courteously treated human.”

Get it here: Amazon.

Immediately.

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Bossypants, by Tina Fey

tina-fey-bossypants-sreesha-divakaran-rain-and-a-bookEveryone should head over to a bookstore (or Amazon) and get a copy of this book, like, right now.

I approach celebrity memoirs the same way I approach celebrity perfumes – by staying as far away from them as possible. Perhaps I am snooty when it comes to my literature and my fragrances, I don’t know. But I read a few excerpts of Tina Fey’s Bossypants on GR, and I just knew I had to read the whole thing. While we’re on the subject, may I add that I also got a copy of Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Big changes in my life, who knows, I might step out and buy something from Lady Gaga’s range of perfumes. Holy hell, that’s adventurous!

This book will leave you in splits! I maintain a stoic expression when I read gore mysteries in public (I try really hard anyway). This is probably the only book I’ve read that’s from a genre on the other end of the line. I tried hard to maintain the same Master Shifu expression while reading Bossypants, but I have to say, it was really hard. People stared, I am not proud to say (ok, a little proud, on Tina Fey’s behalf) Here’s a bit from the first page:

If you’re a woman and you bought this book for practical tips on how to make it in a male-dominated workplace, here they are.

Perhaps you’re a parent and you bought this book to learn how to raise an achievement-oriented, drug-free, adult virgin. You’ll find that too.

Maybe you love Sarah Palin and you want to find reasons to hate me. We’ve got that!

Maybe it’s seventy years in the future and you found this book in a stack of junk being used to block the entrance of an abandoned Starbucks that is now a feeding station for the alien militia.

Here’s another bit that I really loved, but I must add it was mostly nervous laughter. Why, you ask? Because when I read it, I could picture my son in the scene and I just knew she was right.

Right now, my daughter’s not scared of my husband or me at all. I think it’s a problem. I was a freshman home from college the first time my dad said, “You’re going out at ten p.m.? I don’t think so,” and I just laughed and said, “It’s fine.” I feel like my daughter will be doing that to me by age six.

How can I give her what Don Fey gave me? The gift of anxiety.

This book covers the story of Tina Fey’s father (a formidable man, also, Don Fey in the above excerpt), her life at SNL, her husband’s fear of flying, her daughter, 30 rock, and a life filled with adventures and disasters. Her quirky, self-deprecatory humor makes this book one of the best I’ve read. There are jokes, there is feminism, there are parenting stories (along with a “prayer for my child” which was excellent (not in a serious and religious way))  there are stories of friendship; basically, I think Tina Fey is now one of my role models! I know I don’t go out of my way to read funny books, as you all probably know, but this is one book I would recommend to everyone.

Trivia: Bossypants won GR’s Readers’ Choice Award under the Humor category in the year it was released.

Get it here:

Amazon

(PS: If in Bangalore, you will find amazing discounts on this book at Blossoms Book House on Church Street. Just saying.

Ok, kinda pushing you really hard to go and buy it.

Just buy it, ok?)