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

(18 Posts)
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.

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

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?

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.

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.

motherinferior Sat 02-Feb-13 19:22:00
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 19:20:40

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

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.

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.

There was Martin Amis and the work he had done on his teeth, but I agree you don't see it as a general rule.

The interview I saw was more autobiographical in nature, as if it was something she wanted to talk about. Although it was round the time of Beyond Black and I think it may have been in response to how she had written the physical characteristics of one of the characters and the role that had played in the character's development.

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?

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.

She's discussed it before, in relation to her health and the changes it caused her body. I think her perception of it was very interesting.

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.

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.

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 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.

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