Disappointed to see Hilary Mantel discussing her body image in the Guardian

(18 Posts)
discotequewreck Sat 02-Feb-13 17:55:12

She is the only woman to win the Booker prize twice. An incredible talent. And in the Guardian today she writes about being fat and body image.

I would have preferred an insight into that incredible brain of hers.

FloraFox Sat 02-Feb-13 18:01:17

It seemed like she was trying to explain why she was fat. It made me feel quite sad.

discotequewreck Sat 02-Feb-13 18:18:11

Yes it was sad. I got the impression she is unhappy sad

I know she suffered from endometriosis (sorry if wrong spelling) and was unable to have children.

Her writing blows me away.

motherinferior Sat 02-Feb-13 18:22:39

Oh, I thought it was interesting. I am in no doubt about her brain and her ability to write, and I am a long-term card-carrying feminist of 1980s vintage; I also find her whole take on body image and perceptions of it really interesting. I find that whole issue of how one's body morphs (mine did when I was about nine) one that I struggle with too.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

discotequewreck Sat 02-Feb-13 18:44:56

Maybe I got it wrong then. It's just i've never seen a male writer asked about or discuss his body size and image.

motherinferior Sat 02-Feb-13 18:46:37

Well, no, surely that's the point? That occupying that space, as a public and acclaimed writer who is also a woman, your body is called into question in a way that a man's wouldn't be?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kim147 Sat 02-Feb-13 19:17:32

It's not just her.

Nadia Sawalha commenting on her appearance.

www.guardian.co.uk/fashion/2013/feb/02/what-see-mirror-nadia-sawalha

You just don't' get men doing this in the paper.

motherinferior Sat 02-Feb-13 19:19:41

You do, actually, that's a regular Saturday slot that's filled with as many men as women.

motherinferior Sat 02-Feb-13 19:20:40

'What I see in the mirror' is a regular in the mag.

kim147 Sat 02-Feb-13 19:21:36

I realised that after posting.

Would be interesting to read what they see.

motherinferior Sat 02-Feb-13 19:22:00
werewolvesdidit Sat 02-Feb-13 19:25:53

I've just read 'Every Day Is Mother's Day' by H.M. today and I felt that it was quite anti-mothers and children. It certainly read like someone who disliked mothers and babies. It's put me off her a bit.

I read 'Every Day Is Mother's Day' when it was first published nearly 30 years ago, and I never got that impression from the book. I think it has some interesting observations about women and mental health and the attitudes that were prevalent back then. I've read everything Mantel has ever written, but I never ever got the impression she was anti mothers and/or children.

She has written a great deal about her endometriosis, her misdiagnosis as a young woman, the resulting infertility and the continuing impact on her physical and mental health. And the impact of her experiences on her deveopment as an author.

I really don't understand why any of these issues should be "off limits" in interviews. They are very important to her as a woman writer.

AbigailAdams Mon 04-Feb-13 04:14:36

"You don't get men doing this in the paper"

I'm not sure I am understanding why this observation was made (whether true or not). And as LapsedPacifist also points out I don't understand why it is being insinuated that Mantel shouldn't talk about her reality?

captainmoll Mon 04-Feb-13 09:31:31

The article was actually an excerpt from her autobiography, rather than her being asked to write specially on the subject for the paper.
I thought it was a beautiful and intelligent consideration of how weight gain affects us. Speaking as both a fatty and a feminist, I found it very moving and insightful. Obesity is one of the last acceptable prejudices, and as someone who gets openly abused in public for my body I was really glad that someone as intelligent as mantel had written so brilliantly about it.

I do see your point - all too often brilliant women are asked first about their looks, but I think this particular instance was somehow exceptional.

Didn't clare balding recently say something excellent to a journo asking her about her looks? Can't remember what though.. blush

dotty2 Mon 04-Feb-13 09:38:57

Yes, it was an extract from an old memoir. So a more interesting question is - why did the Guardian choose that piece to mark her achievement? But captainmoll is right of course about fat being a legitimate feminist issue. And it's also interesting given that most high achieving women in the public eye/media spotlight seem to be thin (I'm not). Almost as if it was a necessary qualification to be deemed worthy of attention.

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