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