Claws out for Caitlin Moran

14 January 2013

The ladies of the London chatterati are at each other’s throats. Left-wing identity politics has been eating itself since the New Year, when the leading feminists of Fleet Street went into battle over who is the better feminist.

The  great titan-esses are actually secret subversives determined to surrender their cause to subconscious patriarchy. Well, that’s what you would think if you believe some of the words that have been thrown at the likes of the Times’ Caitlin Moran or the Observer’s Julie Burchill and Suzanne Moore in recent weeks.


The barbs are getting sharper. The promotional materials for Be Awesome: Modern Life for Modern Ladies, the latest offering from Hadley Freeman of Guardian and Vogue fame, have reached me. They proclaim that the book is: ‘Quirkier and funnier than Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman’.

Miaow! By all means question a lady’s commitment to political correctness or even her commitment to the rights of the sisterhood, but leave her sense of humour alone. Saucers of milk all round.

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  • Badly Done Emma

    Poor old Caitlin Moran – eaten alive by her own hype. Good riddance, I was getting very bored with her witterings anyway. Tanya Gold and Deborah Ross – now they can write but don’t do it so often we all get sick of them. And they’re smart and funny too. For what it’s worth the best male journalists are Rod Liddle and Jeremy (Low Life) Clarke, in my opinion anyway.

  • Andrew Roberts

    I mean, as insults go, ‘Quirkier than funnier than Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman’ is not exactly is hardly likely to sting… is it?

  • Hadley Freeman

    At the risk of being a massive buzz kill, it saddens me to inform you that there is no fight of any kind between me and Caitlin. I have had no involvement with the promotional materials for my book and, in fact, this blogpost was the first I heard about them.

    And for the record, I would never describe myself as funnier than Caitlin.

    Sorry to put a dampener on things.

    • mumble

      Nice try, but you know where it says, on fireworks, “Light the blue touchpaper and retire immediately”? I think your post happened after that stage.

  • MaxSceptic

    …. all this fuss over chicks with dicks….

  • Sarah

    “By all means question a lady’s commitment to political correctness or even her commitment to the rights of the sisterhood, but leave her sense of humour alone.”

    “Why fun feminism should be consigned to the rubbish bin”
    Julie Bindel

    • monty61

      What a miserable choice, to view existence through a permanent prism of victimhood.

  • laurence

    I really do not know if Ms Moran is a feminist or not but she has a most irksome prose style. It is ever-so-sweetly lacerated here:

    • yabeauty

      You’ve read her writing and don’t know whether Caitlin Moran is a feminist? I’m not sure how much clearer she could make it.

      • Sarah

        She’s at the cutting edge of faux feminism.

        • mumble

          Hi, Sarah! We agreed on something!

      • mumble

        Yes, it’s like Sue Perkins signalling her sexuality every 15 seconds since the 1990s.

    • mumble

      Oh, dear me. Ms. Moran is “Britain’s leading feminist”, or possibly just England’s. It says so on the Interwebs, so it must be true. Plus she has authentic working-class credentials (the only authentic credentials nowadays are working class), so she’s in an impregnable position.

      She even has a quick way of working out if you’re a feminist: put your hand in your pants.

      a) Do you have a vagina? and
      b) Do you want to be in charge of it?

      If you said ‘yes’ to both, then congratulations! You’re a feminist.”
      ― Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

  • judyk113

    Sorry, but what you’re putting up here is a gloating bit of sneering at women you identify as feminists, and narrating the mountain of abuse that’s been thrown at Suzanne Moore and Julie Burchill as if it was a cat-fight between these humourless women. If any miaows are deserved here, they should firmly be aimed at you. Your post is misogyny shovelled on with a trowel, and no doubt it’s helpful hiding behind a pseudonym for that purpose. All I can say is that the choice of “Steerpike” is clearly thoroughly merited.

    Both Moore and Burchill have been at the receiving end of torrents of abusive tweets for being labelled transphobic. These include no shortage of tweets wishing them dead. One of my facebook “friends” wrote a post hoping they choke on their own vomit. Actually the great majority of the most vicious abusers are male transexuals and their supporters. Similar storms of abuse are showered on people who fall to support the current groups of gay lobbyists pushing gay marriage.

    Here’s an example of how a feminist academic who’s been writing for years on transgender issues has been on the receiving end of similar abuse and attempts to silence her:

    Twitter is just reporting that the Observer has pulled Julie Burchill’s article. There’s plenty of venom about, and the most vicious of it is being directed at feminists who have dared to say what some feminists have been saying for decades. They sometimes say it in learned articles, and sometimes say it in over-the-top polemics. None of this justifies the vicious abuse, the censorship, the attempts to shut them up or the misogynistic sneering from anonymous columnists like yourself.

    • Nick Peters

      Judyk113 I agree with you. I was expecting some insight from Mr. Steerpike and all I got was a rather vicious and simultaneously trivial twist on some publisher’s PR blurb. Hardly adds to the debate, no?

      • Sarah

        Steerpike is the “comedy” prong of the Spectator anti-feminist pincer movement. Toby Young is the one with low self-esteem, Rod Liddle is the propaganda mouthpiece to draw in the crowds. But make no mistake, the Spectator is a Lads’ Mag with all that entails: chauvinism, sexism, misogyny, self-satisfied ignorance, entitlement, group-think, cheating, censorship, incitement.

        • John Lea

          I don’t think you understand the meaning of the terms you throw around. Chauvinism, for example. I suggest you have a look and see from where the term derives. I’ll give you a clue: it comes from the word ‘chauvin’ – more specifically, it derives from the name of a French soldier, Nicolas Chauvin, who was a patriot and nationalist. Chauvinism, strictly, refers to someone who expresses extreme nationalist views, not a sexist. Never mind, eh, what does critical intelligence and a precise understanding of language matter when you can simply trot out the usual boring unthinking feminist cliches.

          • Sarah

            I never throw feminist clichés around unthinkingly. I always use cliches in just the right circumstances.

            • mumble

              A chauvinist is a bellicose protagonist, of which you are the most extreme example in view.

          • mumble

            I know what the dictionary says “chauvinist” means but, if we are to be descriptive rather than proscriptive, the word is not most commonly used that way any more. It preceded “bigot” down the path of just being a term of abuse to be used by the intolerant.

        • Minekiller

          I know, great isn’t it?

    • retundario

      Feminists deserve all the abuse they get

      • Sarah

        So do men.

        • SirMortimerPosh

          Your response is just as stupid and moronic as his was. go on, tell us you were being ironic.

          • Sarah

            It made you think more than you realise.

            • SirMortimerPosh

              Don’t flatter yourself. Get in touch with reality. Stupid generalisations are worthless.

      • Louise McCudden


      • mumble

        No, they don’t. Some feminists damage feminism by behaving in an alienating and socially repellent manner, affecting surprise at the alienation and repulsion and adding that to their load of angst; it’s not about us, it’s about them.

        However, there are important and genuine women’s issues that do not deserve to have their credibility eroded by such behaviour, and it is up to all of us not to be diverted from them by the unintelligent, self-indulgent, whistling-tea-kettle school of feminism.

    • John Lea

      “a feminist academic who’s been writing for years on transgender issues…”
      God preserve us, no wonder universities are going down the drain.

      • Sarah

        Nothing more informative than a man who knows nothing of what he criticises.

        • mumble

          Settle down, dear, there’s a good girl.

      • mumble

        Quite. Ben Goldacre teaches us that the weakest form of argument is an appeal to authority.

    • mumble


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