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On sex, beauty and self-care: brilliant Caitlin Moran quotes to live your life by

You can always rely on Caitlin Moran’s words of wisdom to guide you through all aspects of life.

Caitlin Moran is a woman who needs no introduction. Indeed, if you’re reading this you will no doubt already be aware that she is famed for her funny, feminist and brutally honest outlook on life. That she is something of a Twitter heroine. That she has penned countless essays on pretty much everything from make-up, to puberty, to fashion. That her critically-acclaimed novels, How To Be A Woman, How To Build A Girl, How To Be Famous, Moranthology and Moranifesto, are packed to bursting with anecdotes about menstruation, body hair, sex, boobs, abortions, masturbation, vaginal nicknames, relationships and more. That the aforementioned How To Build A Girl – which introduces us to teenage heroine Johanna Morrigan as she struggles to get to grips with the “incredible unfolding” that comes with puberty – is being transformed into a seriously star-studded movie (think Beanie Feldstein, Sarah Solemani, Emma Thompson, and Alfie Allen, to name just a few). 

That she is, in short, a wealth of wisdom.

Here, we recall some of Moran’s most brilliant quotes and life lessons, all of which have been carefully selected to help you navigate some of life’s trickier moments. You’re welcome.

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Caitlin Moran on…

Feminism:

“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? Or were you just DRUNK AT THE TIME OF THE SURVEY?”

How To Be A Woman

Self-care:

“Pretend you are your own baby. You would never cut that baby, or starve it, or overfeed it until it cried in pain, or tell it that it was worthless. Sometimes, girls have to be mothers to themselves. Your body wants to live – that’s all and everything it was born to do. Let it do that, in the safety you provide it. Protect it. That is your biggest job. To protect your skin, and heart.”

Caitlin Moran’s powerful open letter to teenage girls (Stylist)

Female sexuality:

“When I was 13 and I had a very rich imagination, one of the first books I read was a book called My Secret Garden, by Nancy Friday. She was a sex researcher who interviewed thousands of women about their sexual fantasies. They were incredible psychedelic, synesthesiastic, strobing, colorful, insane things—women talking about having sex with wolves or turning into gigantic robots or putting whole cities inside them and using them as a dildo. It was like, woah, this is telling me that female sexuality is very different from male sexuality. All we usually see is male sexuality, female sexuality tempered through the male gaze, or the kind of female sexuality that we feel comfortable admitting in a male-dominated world. Women have to go, ‘Yeah, I have lesbian fantasies!’ or ‘Yeah, I’d have anal sex!’ but you never hear them going, ‘I have a dream where halfway through, my lover turns into a river that’s flowing out through the top of my head and then I assume godlike status over the universe and rub clouds across my nipples,’ because they would feel foolish and weird, and also like they wanted too much. I mean, that’s the other thing: men come once and that’s it. Women can come for hours. And so I think women are very conscious of trying to limit their sexuality and make it seem like they don’t want too much.”

Caitlin Moran on the working class, masturbation and writing a novel (Longreads)

Abortion:

“I cannot understand anti-abortion arguments that centre on the sanctity of life. As a species we’ve fairly comprehensively demonstrated that we don’t believe in the sanctity of life. The shrugging acceptance of war, famine, epidemic, pain and life-long poverty shows us that, whatever we tell ourselves, we’ve made only the most feeble of efforts to really treat human life as sacred.”

How To Be A Woman

Make-up:

“It’s not just about looking glamorous or sexy. If that’s what you want then go for it, but for me it’s about something giving you joy. The truth is you very rarely need to be hot and sexy. Walking down the road for example, do you need to be hot and sexy? No, of course not, you’re on your way to M&S. You’re not going to bang someone now so why bother?”

Caitlin Moran explores her complicated relationship with make-up (Stylist)

Cynicism:

“Cynicism is, ultimately, fear. Cynicism makes contact with your skin, and a thick black carapace begins to grow—like insect armor. This armor will protect your heart, from disappointment—but it leaves you almost unable to walk. You cannot dance in this armor. Cynicism keeps you pinned to the spot, in the same posture, forever.” 

How To Build A Girl

Fashion:

“At its best fashion is a game. But for women it’s a compulsory game, like net ball, and you can’t get out of it by faking your period. I know I have tried. And so for a woman every outfit is a hopeful spell, cast to influence the outcome of the day. An act of trying to predict your fate, like looking at your horoscope. No wonder there are so many fashion magazines. No wonder the fashion industry is worth an estimated 900 billion dollars a year. No wonder every woman’s first thought is, for nearly every event in her life, be it work, snow or birth. The semi-despairing cry of ‘but what will I wear?’ Because when a woman says I have nothing to wear, what she really means is there is nothing here for who I am supposed to be today.” 

How To Be A Woman

Motherhood:

“If you want to know what’s in motherhood for you, as a woman, then - in truth - it’s nothing you couldn’t get from, say, reading the 100 greatest books in human history; learning a foreign language well enough to argue in it; climbing hills; loving recklessly; sitting quietly, alone, in the dawn; drinking whisky with revolutionaries; learning to do close-hand magic; swimming in a river in winter; growing foxgloves, peas and roses; calling your mum; singing while you walk; being polite; and always, always helping strangers. No one has ever claimed for a moment that childless men have missed out on a vital aspect of their existence, and were the poorer, and crippled by it.” 

How To Be A Woman

Sex:

“Here’s the amazing thing about sex: you get a whole person to yourself, for the first time since you were a baby. Someone who is looking at you—just you—and thinking about you, and wanting you, and you haven’t even had to lie at the bottom of the stairs and pretend you’re dead to get them to do it.”

How To Build A Girl

Sex (again):

“So much fear is put into female sexuality; ‘Bad things will happen to you, you’ll get attacked, you’ll have diseases, people will take advantage of you.’ Sex is the most human exchange you can have. You’ve got to go out there and get your anecdotes.”

There’s no such thing as oversharing (BBC News)

Reading:

“Every time that you read a book that is worth anything, the author has put everything they know into that book; so when you read that book, you eat their life. You kind of go up a level; so if you read 50 books, you’ve lived 50 lifetimes.”

How To Be A Woman

Social media:

“My rules for social media are exactly like my rules for feminism: women are equal to men, everyone is equal to everybody, and don’t be a dick. The tone of the internet has become very peevish and cynical. There’s an interesting study that said when you’re online, your inhibitions and self-consciousness is lowered to exactly the same point as if you’d had two pints. Basically, the entire internet is a bit pissed and looking for a fight. So the key thing is don’t be a dick and remember you’re slightly pissed.”

The world according to Queen Caitlin Moran (Stylist)

Household chores:

“I don’t possess an iron. When clothes are slightly damp, just hang them on a coat hanger. Also, when you’re in a shop, always grab clothes and squeeze them. If they crease, just walk away – don’t buy yourself that problem.”

The world according to Queen Caitlin Moran (Stylist)

Love:

“You can always tell when a woman is with the wrong man, because she has so much to say about the fact that nothing’s happening. When women find the right person, on the other hand, they just… disappear for six months, then resurface, eyes shiny, and usually about six pounds heavier.”

How To Be A Woman

Imperfection:

“We’re in such a sculpted body age. Look at Kim Kardashian West – her body is a feat of engineering and cash. Unless it’s your full-time job, you will never look like that. There’s no traction to it either. Twenty years ago nudity was a big deal, but now you see naked tits all the time. What’s going to catch your eye these days is an imperfect body. That seems rarer and more interesting to me. We’ve seen enough physical excellence now; the pendulum is starting to swing the other way. We want realness.”

Caitlin Moran explores her complicated relationship with make-up (Stylist)

Donald Trump:

“The dryness of his hair constantly distresses me. I want to get him some Moroccanoil. It’s such a fire hazard. What is happening in politics at the moment is the very last gasp of that straight white patriarchal thing and he’s the most extreme example of that.”

Alastair Campbell interviews Caitlin Moran (British GQ)

Sexism:

“I have a rule for working out if the root problem of something is, in fact, sexism. And it is this: asking ‘Are the boys doing it? Are the boys having to worry about this stuff? Are the boys the centre of a gigantic global debate on this subject?”

Moranthology

Comedy:

“If you go to a pub and there’s a group of men laughing and a group of women laughing, women will be laughing ten times harder, because they’re ten times funnier, because they’ve got ten times more bullshit to deal with. They’re the ones like, ‘You’re going to make me pee! Stop!’ Men will be going, ‘Nice. That was a good joke, Simon. Strong humour. My humour-o-meter is tipping over.’”

Alastair Campbell interviews Caitlin Moran (British GQ)

Periods and menstruation:

“Half the mums I know are feminists, and they don’t let their daughters watch MTV and those kind of images. I can see why they ban it, it’s out of love. But instead of banning it, in my house, the way I do it with my two daughters is we sit down and watch Rihanna and go, ‘OK, this is the 17th video in a row where she’s in her bra and pants in a field wanting to fuck someone — let’s look at the stats on that. Statistically, on at least five of these shoots she would have had her period or been suffering from a very heavy cold. The minute the cameras went off her they’d have put her in a massive puffa jacket and she’d have been freezing and crying and eating Nurofen. Just to get through the fucking day.’ I make sure that they know that.”

Caitlin Moran in Drunken Conversation with Sophie Heawood (Vice)

Anti-ageing beauty products:

“It’s not anti-feminist to say a product is anti-ageing, it’s just stupid. They might be able to plump you out for a bit, but they don’t stop you ageing. Whenever I see a 20-year-old trying to flog me one, I just turn the page. There’s a widening of the kind of women we see in the media but it’s still only a fraction of the true demographic. Until there is a female equivalent of Seth Rogen – and I say this with love as the kind of guy I would bang – who looks like a sofa with the stuffing coming out of it but gets million-dollar film deals regardless, we know we’re not anywhere near true equality.”

Caitlin Moran explores her complicated relationship with make-up (Stylist)

Getting older:

“Think of yourself as your own pet, and be gently fascinated and amused by the mad-ass crazy shit that’s happening to you as you march on down life’s long path.”

Moranifesto

Heartbreak:

“Every time your heart gets broken, breathe deep – it grows bigger as it mends. Imagine each line of red scar tissue on it with pride – the same pride you’ll one day have for stretch marks on your belly, after having a baby. Skin and hearts tear to make great things. Don’t be afraid. 8)”

Moranifesto 

Friendship:

“If you would feel comfortable going around to someone’s house at the end of a long day saying, ‘I’m just going to take my bra off,’ you know you are intimate friends.”

How To Be A Woman

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