Caitlin Moran is a writer, columnist, novelist, dramatist and one of the most optimistic and funny writers on the planet. She’s published six books, writes two columns a week for the UK Times and she’s just written her second book in a teen trilogy, called How To Be Famous.
The hilarious novel dissects the concept of fame and serves an antidote to pop culture’s fraught approach to sex; from what’s good to what’s bad and why so many of us get it wrong.
The mother of two discussed all this and more with Mia Freedman on Mamamia’s No Filter podcast. Here is a snippet of their chat.
MIA: I was reading your book and I was trying to do the maths, and going ‘Hang on, when did she write this?’ Because it was before #metoo.
CAITLIN: It was crazy. So I’d had the idea of the book for ages. I wanted this book to mainly be about sex, because I realised that because I was home educated nearly everything I learnt was from reading books, and so much of the sex out there is written from a male perspective.
There are beautiful lines out there describing women and stuff, but to read them as woman makes you feel really bad. Like Raymond Chandler describes a dame being ‘so beautiful she’d make archbishops kick in a stained-glass window’. Now that’s beautiful, but if you read that description of a woman when you’re 14 you’re like, ‘Oh God, have I got to be a dame that makes archbishops kick in a stained-glass window? I’m a fat girl in leggings; I just want a hug.’
And similarly with the sex, it’s kind of like James Bond is always ravishing people or doing it because he wants to get secrets out of them.
Particularly now, the only sex that’s available for young people to see is either online pornography – which I keep having to remind everybody is not sex, it’s two people doing a job – or 50 Shades of Grey, which I think it’s awful sexual template for young girls to have and really scary. I don’t want to think when I’m 15 that in a couple of years time I’m going to be being whipped.