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am 6. Juli 1998
I began Bridget Jones' Diary expecting to be amused, entertained, and equipped with a quick beach read. Rather than wait, however, I consumed this novel within two days, neither of which was spent at the beach -- although it was a light, quick read. Those in search of deep meaning and revelation need look elsewhere for satisfaction -- Diary is the literary equivalent of a (good) quickie -- short, sweet, and to the point, but with a long-lasting impact.
The one unpleasant reaction I had was not to the book itself, but to the backlash against it. i didn't set out reding this book looking for a feminist hero -- the jacket clearly presents Bridget as a neurotic, self-conscious woman. In none of the feminist rebuttals of Fielding's book is there any mention of Bridget's friends' reactions to her final achievement of her ideal weight -- 119 lbs. Their response is hardly enthusiastic -- they tell her she looks ill, "deflated," and so on. And again, when Bridget finally gets the right man, she weighs (a staggering -- good lord, the poundage!) 129 lbs. Rather than remain in a dead-end job at her publishing company (where she unwisely becomes involved with her boss), Bridget branches out in the world and becomes a television reporter for a trachy channel. She gets a job she nejoys and works with people who begin to respect her rather than chide her for her laziness (but let's admit -- who wouldn't rather sunbathe than go to work?).
Nor is there any mention in this feminist backlash of how supportive Bridget is of both her parents throughout their separation, nomention of the men she rejects (yes, even the neurotics have their standards), no word about her best friends Tom,Jude, and Shazzer, all of whom have valubale and sensible input.
Perhaps these examples hardly justify Bridget's neuroses as a fair representation of women -- perhaps she is still damaging to the collective female psyche -- but I would disagree. Bridget does not undermine Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem's hard work ! -- she simply represents the result of it. And if they don't like it, then they should do something about it rather than sit back and complain. Which is something, I suspect, they might accuse Ms. Jones of engaging in.
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