Caitlin Moran: “Masturbating is a political act”

The writing by Caitlin Moran (Brighton, 47 years old) became a kind of Bible for many women around the world. In the last decade, thousands of them have reached out to tell her they didn’t know they were feminists until after they read her book. how to be a woman (Anagram). That work, and the one that came later in the trajectory of this British writer, became a kind of holy word for those who needed to understand gender challenges in the 21st century. “It made me sad that people didn’t like feminism and that they thought it was just about angry women who hated men,” the author, who visits Mexico as part of the Hay Festival Querétaro, tells this newspaper in a telephone interview. . “And sometimes they are angry women who hate men, but there is much more to it than that.” Moran, who has advocated abortion for more than 10 years and criticizes the precepts of beauty imposed on women, jokes about motherhood —”Children ruin everything”—, defends that asking for consent can “be sexy” and talks about the porn of the future

Ask. Why was or is feminism so stigmatized?

Response. Because people weren’t using it. It was not part of popular culture. It had become an academic word used by people who had read all the books on feminism. They made it sound like a science that only the smart could understand, that you could be wrong if you said a word wrong, wore the wrong clothes, or had sex with the wrong man. I wanted feminism to be part of pop culture again. That anyone could understand it and didn’t need any book. Realize that it’s not a set of rules that you can get right or wrong. But a set of tools to understand why you are sad, why your life is difficult and how you can improve it with those tools.

P. anticipated in some way the Me Too through his books, long before it happened. Do you think it was obvious that something like this would happen?

R. When social media took off, the first people to start using Twitter in England were women and they were feminists. It was the first time in history that women could talk to each other and spread news around the world without being journalists or celebrities. That was incredibly powerful. People were so shocked when they started telling their stories, all the men I know were so shocked at the idea that we would go to work and be sexually assaulted or harassed by our bosses. “Why didn’t you tell us?” they said. And the women realized that it was something they only talk about among themselves. We had never told men, we had never told the world. Now women are tired of keeping secrets. Not complaining hasn’t changed the world. And telling the truth and complaining is changing things.

P. When Me Too emerged, and to this day, many men say they do not understand the limit of what they can or cannot do. Is it real or pretend?

R. Some pretend. If you made a woman cry, then what you did was wrong. my next book is basic feminism for men. In the last 100 years, many women have tried to help other women and girls with advice, books, movies. Women take care of each other. But men don’t have that. The older ones don’t tell the younger ones not to sexually assault, not to rape, not to make women cry, they don’t tell them to treat them with respect. I waited 10 years thinking a man would write a book saying this to men and they didn’t. So I will. I’m going to tell you all the secrets, everything your wives, girlfriends, sisters, colleagues want you to know.

P. Consent is part of that debate. Many, including women, came out to say that asking for permission killed romanticism, eroticism

R. It is a skill that needs to be taught. And that’s where popular culture is so helpful. Many people, if they haven’t been taught to ask for consent and have to figure it out, will say it in a way that isn’t sexy and kills the mood. We need to see people in movies asking for consent in a really sexy and erotic way. We have to read it in books. Human beings like to copy other human beings and right now we can’t see in a movie, TV show or book how to ask for consent in a funny and sexy way.

P. Should it be included in porn in the future?

R. Yes. The movie that i am writing now its about porn. It’s a group of mothers horrified by the porn their children watch who decide to make a good porn movie, one in which it’s sexy to ask for consent. And they make a terribly bad movie. But they start the conversation about how to talk to our children about these issues.

P. What do young women need to learn from older women?

R. That it’s great to be an older woman. Many young women do not want to become adults. How many girls are there who suffer from anorexia, depression or anxiety, because they don’t want to grow up. They want to stay girls because they think it’s horrible to be a grown woman. We talk very often about how bad and scary it is to be a woman. The biggest job we have is to tell them that it’s going to be amazing, that it’s going to be great. Of course there will be problems. But being a woman is the best thing in the world. Come and join us it will be amazing.

P. But what are they so afraid of?

R. My brother once said something very wise: every time you see the word women in a newspaper it is a problem, that they have been murdered, that they have been raped, that they do not have the same salary as men, that they cannot have children. because they can’t afford it, they just banned abortion. If you read the newspapers, you will think that being a woman is horrible. And of course, women have these problems. That is what feminism is about. But we never see in the newspapers the good things that millions of women are doing.

P. You have written in depth about the precepts of beauty that are imposed on the female body. Has anything changed in recent years?

R. In many ways, because of social media. The most popular accounts now are positive body image accounts, where girls, teens, and women post photos that show big butts or that have spots and are normal. Those accounts are the ones women want to see right now. Something real, beautiful and happy. We didn’t have social media 20 years ago and the only women we saw were in movies and TV shows and were cast by men like Harvey Weinstein. Now we can choose who to see. We finally have choice and power. And it’s amazing. We have never had anything like this in history before.

P. In one of his books, how to be a woman, talk about what it meant to be a teenager in your time and now you have children that age. How has adolescence changed?

R. Now they grow faster. Adolescence begins much earlier, partly because of biology. 100 years ago women used to get their first period at 16, and the average age now in England is 10. Girls are becoming women much earlier, and that makes them very anxious because they have female bodies, but female minds. girls. But today’s young women have lived their whole lives with Beyonce, Rihanna, Lizzo. If I had had Lizzo when she was a depressed teenager, my whole life would have been different.

P. You write about girl masturbation at least 10 years ago, when it was not common to read about it. Why did you think it was important?

R. First of all, it is a great hobby, which will not make you fat. It does not cost money. You don’t have to leave home. Yes you start to masturbate Instead of smoking when you are a teenager, you will be fine. Second, there is this narrative that you are a young teenager who knows nothing about sex. And then you find an older lover who teaches you what sex is. And that’s not right and it doesn’t work. You end up having shitty sex. Women need to know what they like sexually before having sex. And the only way is if you have done it yourself. We need to change sex so that it is not something that men do to you as a woman, but something that you do. So you need to masturbate. It is a political act. The greatest act of feminism is being a teenage girl lying in your bed late at night and making you cum.

P. You’ve said that being a woman sometimes feels like a list of problems. What things are at the top of that list?

R. The usual. We are scared and we are tired. We all know what it’s like to walk down the street and think: what are those footsteps behind me, is he a rapist? is he a murderer? We are scared and we are tired because we have to make a lot of plans to stay safe if we want to go out with our friends. Think about how we get back home, how we stay safe. And that is the privilege of a man, that they don’t have to think about it. I don’t know how we will change that. But I’m sure that right now somewhere there is a smart woman who has found a solution and is working on it.

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