Riot Girls: How to Be a Woman | Episode 1

Need a laugh with generous a side of reflection for your lunch break this week? From Monday to Friday, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds will be posting short episodes of a brand new dramatisation of Caitlin Moran’s bestselling memoir How To Be a Woman, as part of their Riot Girls season. The stories from How To Be a Woman are framed by Caitlin’s own narration, with the new addition of a variety of voices to really bring them to life. There’s no better way to get to know the book, or revisit your favourite parts in a whole new way. I’ll be listening along with you, and sharing my thoughts every morning. So get ready for a good dose of feminism and awkward teenage (and not so teenage) memories!


I don’t want my diary to pity me…. This diary is for glory!

It feels only right to start at the beginning of the story in this first episode. We’re dropped straight into Wolverhamption, where 13-year-old Caitlin is being is chased by a group of boys throwing rocks at her. Who can’t relate to some early teen bullying?

I first listened to How To Be a Woman as an audiobook and found it a really immersive experience. The new dramatisation gives an even more heightened feeling of being right there in the room with Caitlin (and her whole gang of brothers and sisters). Young Caitlin is played by Louise Brealey and Jeanette Percival gives a voice to her sister Caz. You’re with Caitlin while she comes up with some of the best vagina nicknames and has the shocking realisation that she’ll have to have her period every month, without the ability to opt out. How rude of Mother Nature!

I just can’t get over the optimism of 13-year-old Caitlin, who lovingly writes about her not so standard birthday cake (a baguette with cream cheese) in her diary and decides to face the challenges of a changing body head on.

Can you remember what is was like trying to figure out how to ‘turn into a woman’? Feeling uncomfortable and confused by countless things that weren’t properly explained to you. The secrets that you wanted to tell your mum, friends, or in Caitlin’s case, your dog. I’m so glad that these embarrassing stories that most of us have hidden away in a dark compartment of our memory are brought out in the open by Caitlin to be belly-laughed at. It’s guaranteed to make you feel a bit better about the whole thing.


If you haven’t yet, listen to today’s episode here. Strap yourself in for an adventure this week!

Did any embarrassing teenage stories suddenly pop in your head while reading this? Share them and your thoughts on today’s episode in a comment or online with #howtobeawoman.


Sanne Vliegenthart @booksandquills.

Freelance Digital Producer and creator at


Listen to the audiobook here.

Buy How to Be a Woman here.



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