For me, no one quite personifies the fourth wave of feminism like Caitlin Moran. While it has its few flaws, her 2011 autobiographical How To Be A Woman catapulted non-academic feminism onto bookshelves around the world. However, what’s always stood out for me is Caitlin’s passionate admiration for the working classes, especially her life growing up as a working class homeschooled child in Wolverhampton. The episode of BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs that features Caitlin Moran is a year old this week and is still an endearing and enlightening episode with all the charm of Caitlin Moran talking about her girlhood.

Desert Island Discs, hosted by Kirsty Young for BBC Radio 4, is an iconic show in its own right. First broadcast on the BBC Forces Programme on 29 January 1942, there aren’t many famous faces that haven’t featured. For those unfamiliar, the premise of the show is to share with the presenter the eight songs, a book, and a luxury that the guest would want with them if they were to be stranded on a desert island. As well her feminist writing and adulation for the working classes, one thing Caitlin Moran also knows her stuff on is music. Caitlin Moran began her career as a music journalist for Melody Maker, now called NME, at the age of 16, and in How To Be A Woman she talks about the importance of borrowing music from her local library growing up. Her choices for the desert island include Twist & Shout by The Beatles, as she says in the episode that she “can’t trust anyone who wouldn’t have at least one Beatles track on their Desert Island Discs,” Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush, and Common People by Pulp.

Chloe Turner with Caitlin Moran – courtesy of Chloe Turner

As a long-time Caitlin fan, I’ve read all of her books, watched her semi-autobiographical sitcom Raised By Wolves and even seen her speak live a couple of times (meeting her was quite the experience, see the photo!), a common thread that links them all is the importance Caitlin places on her childhood growing up as a working class girl. Throughout her Desert Island Discs episode, she speaks about growing up as the eldest of her seven siblings, all raised on benefits. She also speaks about this commonly shared kind of childhood and yet it’s lack of representation in the media, saying “culture, art and the media are supposed to be a mirror to show us what we are, [and yet don’t].”

Caitlin Moran is an inspirational and influential voice for working class girls, in her books How To Be A Woman and How To Be A Girl, her sitcom Raised By Wolves, and recently her Radio 4 Desert Island Discs, Caitlin is a champion for working class girlhood. Caitlin Moran often speaks openly and candidly about her specific, but ultimately common, experience of girlhood Рparticularly in her Desert Island Discs episode. Caitlin is a voice for young girls who often aren’t represented in popular culture, and combining that with some great music choices, this is a podcast episode I would certainly recommend!

-Chloe Turner
Volunteer & Instagram Manager
Girl Museum Inc.

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