Why do intelligent women who believe in the equality of the sexes, who would be enraged at the notion that they are somehow less than men, hesitate to term themselves feminists? Hilary Mantel talks about this phenomenon in this Guardian interview:
[Mantel] is appalled by those who have forgotten what her generation, and her mother’s generation, encountered. “very annoyingly, you get women nowadays who are educated and have got on in their professions, saying, ‘Oh, but I’m not a feminist.'” Anger suffuses her face, an intensity almost indecent. “The only reason they can say that is that they’re standing on the shoulders of their mothers, who fought these battles, I think for a woman to say ‘I’m not a feminist’ is [like] a lamb joining the slaughterer’s guild. It’s just empty-headed and stupid.”
Perhaps they’re trying to distance themselves from a particular caricature of feminism?
“Yeah. Well, they need to inform themselves. Women now take a great deal for granted…”
I’m totally rooting for Mantel to win this year’s Booker.
Update: And she did!!
See a video of her win here
And here’s an oldish review of Mantel’s wonderful, eerie, and altogether masterly Beyond Black