Caitlin Moran: ‘Girls are awakening their sexuality’

Author talks to Roisin Ingle about fame, fortune, feminism and fantasies

Cheese sambos as her death row meal, and on pretending to work while tweeting.Ten tough questions for Caitlin Moran. Video: Darragh Bambrick


Caitlin Moran has described how the teenage protagonist of her new book How to Build a Girl is based on fellow writer Julie Burchill and is someone who “does” sex rather than experiencing it passively.

“I just hate that narrative of a man coming along and awakening the sexuality of a virgin, it just boils my piss so badly. [TEENAGE]girls are awakening their sexuality on their own and I really wanted to make that very very clear.”

In a podcast interview with Roisin Ingle, the best-selling author also argued that popular culture can effect social change more readily than academia or politics, highlighting the recent inclusion of a bisexual character in Dr Who.

“Now kids (in the playground) are fighting over who gets to play Captain Jack Harkness, a bisexual character. With the best will in the world there’s no equalities minister in the world who ever could have come up with any policy to have made that happen.”

The 39-year-old has been working in journalism since the age of 16. Originally from a working class family of eight, she achieved international success with the book How to be a Woman in 2012.

In the podcast, she says she is delighted with her new found wealth and fame and doesn’t believe it affects her working class status. Middle class people, she thinks, are more preoccupied with consolidation.

“You can always tell the working class person made good because if they take someone to a restaurant they will always pay the bill because they remember what it’s like to be poor. You become Falstaff, whereas the middle classes say ‘no I’m going to invest it, I’ve simply put it into a high yield bond for twenty years’.”

She also warned against cynicism, saying it betrays “a fear of optimism”.

Her new book How to Build a Girl is about growing up and feeling uncertain, and Moran hopes young girls will “attend those feelings inside them”. Two sequels are to come.

The author’s work has been hailed as game changing by some, and middlebrow and “feminist lite” by others. Moran says she has little time for factions within feminism, suggesting it’s a misappropriation of the “Queen Bee syndrome” - that only one woman can predominate at any time.

“Feminism is not something where we’re waiting for one super god woman to come along and solve everything,” she says.

Masturbation features prominently within her new book. Moran is keen to dismiss the idea that it is a male only subject. In her experience fantasies are a constant theme discussed among female friends.

“Actually I want to masturbate until my fingers go down to the bone.”

Caitlin Moran plays Vicar Street tonight at 7.30pm.

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