A Conversation between Mary Gordon and Glenda Jackson

Image by Sean Donna for the New York Times

This is a fantastic Conversation between writer Mary Gordon and Actor Glenda Jackson, I’ve started with the end of the Conversation where they get onto #Metoo movement but hit the link and read the whole thing it is wonderful….oh to have been a fly on the wall for this one….

GJ: Well, the Weinstein thing is really not about the women’s movement. In my country two women die every week at the hands of their partner, usually male, and that is not a front-page story.

MG: I don’t want to be critical because they’ll make their own way and God bless them, but the focus on date rape and gender identity, at a time when women can’t get access to abortion — I find it a kind of privatistic focus. I had this talk with my students. I was teaching this story by Mary McCarthy called “The Man in the Brooks Brothers Shirt.” And I said, “Look, I’m 150 years old, but my generation, we didn’t want to be looked at as sex objects. You all go out wearing shirts cut down to your navels and skirts up to your nose. Why does that feel good to you?” They said, “It’s fun, we get to do it and it’s men’s problem.” And I said, “O.K., just make sure you don’t drink.”

GJ: It’s a somewhat careless attitude. Sometimes they choose the wrong battles. You have to choose the battles that are actually going to — win, lose or draw — make some kind of step forward.

MG: I do think that maybe a new generation of men has to learn it’s not O.K. But to go back to Alex’s line in “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” which I went around saying as much as I possibly could in 1971: “I’ve had this business: Anything is better than nothing. There are times when nothing has to be better than anything.” Women need to risk being unlovable. I think that’s a great fear for women, that if they don’t have the approval, protection and love of a man, there’s nothing. I’m a widow now, and I don’t think I’m going to end up in a cardboard box eating dog food out of a can, but I think many women are terrified of being alone, particularly as they age.

Now you live, if I may get personal, downstairs from your children?

GJ: Yes, and I think it’s convenient for all of us. I go on grandma patrol.

MG: So why can’t we be thinking more imaginatively about how to live more communally? I think something that we could do as artists is to create a new romance. And you know you were a romance for me —

GJ: Don’t lay it all on me, lady!

MG: No, but I wanted to be that kind of woman. You were sexy, you were smart, you were tough but you had warmth, and that was a romantic new way of being a woman for me. I think we need a new romance for older women.

GJ: Well, that will come.


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