Don’t forget so many brilliant women | Letters

An article by Caitlin Moran fails to acknowledge the female writers, politicians and musicians who were involved in groundbreaking work, says Dr Kim Thomas

I was somewhat puzzled by Caitlin Moran’s article (29 August).

She says that when she wrote How to be a Woman in 2011, “Masturbation, pornography, pubic hair, abusive relationships, wonky tits, menstruation, eating disorders, abortion, the madness of expensive weddings, sexism in the workplace, the pressure to have children, binge-drinking, the pain of childbirth” were “pretty novel subjects”. Did I imagine Nancy Friday, Erica Jong, Shere Hite, Sheila Kitzinger, Marilyn French and Anne Koedt – among others – who wrote extensively about female sexual experiences in the 1970s? Or Margaret Drabble, who in the 1960s wrote about the difficulties of procuring a legal abortion? Or Andrea Dworkin, who published her book Pornography in 1981? Or Doris Lessing, who wrote about the pain of childbirth in the 1950s?

Moran says that in 1985 her choice of role models was either “Margaret Thatcher or Miss Piggy”. Yet I remember politicians such as Shirley Williams, Barbara Castle, Audrey Wise, Linda Bellos, Harriet Harman and Jo Richardson – not to mention the inspirational women of Greenham Common. I remember the musicians Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde, Poly Styrene, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Alison Moyet and The Slits, and journalists such as Jill Tweedie and Kate Adie. I feel dismayed that Moran is either unaware of, or unwilling to acknowledge, the brilliant and important work of so many women who went before her.
Dr Kim Thomas
Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire

Letters

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Female role models to inspire change in society | Letters
Letters: We need more books for both boys and girls that normalise girls as adventurous, confident and capable leaders, writes Jean Pollard. And why can no one remember the work of Eleanor Marx? asks John Airs

Letters

18, Jun, 2018 @4:30 PM

Article image
A lifeline for bored and lonely women | Letters
Letters: Shirley Neish and Janet Mansfield share their memories of the National Women’s Register

Letters

28, Feb, 2020 @5:48 PM

Article image
Birth, breastfeeding, and women’s choices | Letters
Letters: I salute women who wait to have children, writes Roz Treadway. Plus responses from Jan Dubé and Kirtana Chandrasekaran to Zoe Williams’ criticism breastfeeding campaigners

Letters

23, Apr, 2019 @5:23 PM

Article image
Don’t forget care workers making home visits | Brief letters
Brief letters: Care workers | Coronavirus | Food shopping | Lockdown | Tom Moore

Letters

01, May, 2020 @4:02 PM

Article image
Suffering of childbirth is made acceptable by its glorification | Letters
Letters: More elective caesarians should be carried out, says Hilary Farey, and Lizzy Gwilliam provides a network for disabled mothers

Letters

16, Oct, 2018 @4:40 PM

Article image
Nice has failed parents with its U-turn on induced labour | Letter
Letter: Catherine Roy, Susanna Haddon and Dr Ruth-Ann Harpur are deeply concerned by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s revised guidance

Letters

08, Nov, 2021 @5:59 PM

Article image
Names worthy of a standing ovation | Brief letters
Brief letters: European holidays | Antisemitism tsar | Gendered language | Asterix translator | Coffee shop names

Letters

09, Sep, 2019 @4:59 PM

Article image
Fighting to protect women at work | Letters
Letters: Signatories including Helen Pankhurst, Sadiq Khan and Harriet Harman say the International Labour Conference in Geneva presents an opportunity to end violence and harassment against women, and call on the UK government to use its influence wisely

Letters

09, Jun, 2019 @4:58 PM

Article image
Don’t lower the tone in the trolling debate | Letters
Letters: Advising women to lower the pitch of their voices when speaking in public is not a feminist issue, argues Tully Potter

Letters

15, Jun, 2018 @3:50 PM

Article image
When playing with the kids is hard work | Letters
Letters: Janet Kay on how to enjoy time on holidays with children, Jeanne Warren on a generation that just got on with it – and got no credit, and Annie Tunnicliffe on the struggles of women in a poverty trap

Letters

01, Sep, 2019 @4:56 PM