Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

We Won the War - Now We're Paying for It ; Life Has Got Tougher for Women after the Feminism Revolution, Fay Weldon Tells HANNAH STEPHENSON

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

We Won the War - Now We're Paying for It ; Life Has Got Tougher for Women after the Feminism Revolution, Fay Weldon Tells HANNAH STEPHENSON

Article excerpt

SHE may be 84, but Fay Weldon's work as a novelist, playwright, TV dramatist and scriptwriter still sparks debates in many a book club and beyond.

Fay's outspoken opinions on feminism have often courted controversy, but after a lifetime spent people-watching, three marriages, four children, four stepchildren and a clutch of grandchildren, she's come to the conclusion that men are now under the cosh.

"Feminism has made us all go out to work and made us earn a living, and the male wage is no longer, because of feminism, able to support a family, so women have to work, which is very tiring.

"Because we stuck up for freedom, freedom had its disadvantages. Because we won the revolution, it has a fall-out but on the whole, I think what was earned was a good thing.

"Feminism has certainly undermined men," she continues, "if only because women now want to have girl babies, not boy babies, because their lot in life is better."

But women can't have it all, she adds. "I think you can have two out of three - a family, a career and a love life - but very seldom three. Career women may have a family but aren't likely to have a love life because they are too busy."

Fay has been writing for five decades and only now has she decided to make a man the hero in her latest book, Before The War, a novel about love, death and aristocracy in interwar London.

Starting in 1922, it focuses initially on Vivien, a 24-year-old plain but intelligent singleton who travels to London to bribe charismatic editor Sherwyn Sexton, who works for her father, to marry her, as no one else will. Sherwyn desperately wants his own book published so he agrees, unaware that she is pregnant with another man's child.

Like so many of Fay's female characters, Vivien is a big square peg in a small round hole.

"I've always written about characters like that, because they make up the mass of the female population and tend to be overlooked by media cameras," Fay observes.

"The plain girl gets put in the back office, the pretty girl gets to reception; the plain girl isn't noticed in the street, the pretty girl is captured by the cameras. Pretty girls earn more than plain girls, although that has changed now as women value themselves for more than their looks. …

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