It's impressive how a smart, acerbic and feminist-minded writer like Fay Weldon can disappoint on such an epic scale. The British author of "The Fat Woman's Joke" and more than 20 other novels has started clanging the bell of biological determinism as of late, and her most recent interview with the Daily Mail is no exception. Her rallying cry is loud and clear: Clean up after your man, meet his sexual needs, never ask about his feelings, and don't dare challenge his intellect — better yet, marry a man much smarter than you!
For the younger ladies, she has two important words: Teen pregnancy. Love it, gimme more of it, she enthuses, because if you wait to have kids, "you have no energy left for sex, and then men wander off to find someone else." I truly am not exaggerating, as evidenced by some of her choice commentary on...
Marriage: "As long as you have a sort of semi-good looking, able-bodied, intelligent man, you should have his baby."
Housework: "It's such a waste of time trying to tell your husband to pick up the socks or clean the loo. It's much easier just to do it yourself."
The workplace: "Women are right to refuse to make the coffee [at the office], but when you get home I'm afraid you have to make the coffee."
Romantic friendship: "Women want their boyfriends to be like their girlfriends, fun to go to the pictures with, but men are not like that."
What men are like: "They want sex and they grunt."
These sound bites are designed to scandalize, but more than anything else, they make me sad. Sad to see a brave and brilliant woman's exhausted surrender to the suffocating world so many of her fierce heroines struggled through.