Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Rebel, rebel: Mary Daly

We lost a warrior against the patriarchy when radical lesbian feminist theologian Mary Daly died a few days ago on Jan. 3, 2010, at age 81. In a time when public figures often make great efforts toward not seeming unreasonable, she embraced the labels that branded her an agitator: Radical. Lesbian. Feminist.
She referred to herself as a pirate and made it a priority early in life to be courageous in the face of oppressive patriarchal Roman Catholic traditions. According to the National Catholic Reporter, Daly once wrote: "There are and will be those who think I have gone overboard. Let them rest assured that this assessment is correct, probably beyond their wildest imagination, and that I will continue to do so."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Winterson, that rascal

The other day, I happened to be reading the Financial Times (the excellent, pink London newspaper to which my beloved subscribes) because an article on Brit psychotherapist/author Susie Orbach caught my eye. The teaser on Page One read: "Lunch with Susie Orbach: The feminist writer battles 'merchants of body hatred.'" How could I not read that? It was an interesting if snarky piece by the journalist William Leith (don't know who he is), who made a point of scrutinizing what Ms. Orbach ate and how her clothing fit on her slender 63-year-old body: "Her black silk top by Ghost hangs off her small frame." How clever, considering she is the author of the influential book, "Fat is a Feminist Issue."

Nonetheless, about two-thirds through the article was this nugget:

"She has two children – a son of 25, who lives in London, and a daughter of 20, who lives in New York. For years Orbach lived with their father, Joseph Schwartz, a writer and psychotherapist, but she has, according to newspaper reports, recently started a relationship with the writer Jeanette Winterson. I ask her if this is true. 'Yes,' she says, suddenly beaming with happiness."

Then the article goes back to the details of Orbach's lunch: "She won't have a pudding." But who cares about the pudding (which I normally care about a great deal – I would never pass up a pudding) when there is news of Winterson's love life? The Winterson/Orbach hook-up is news. When I was in London about six months ago, I'd read in the local press that Winterson was with theater director Deborah Warner. Warner is an attractive gamine blonde who last year in New York staged a well-received production of Beckett's "Happy Days," a play I like—and which seems to get more relevant with age. But I digress. The point is, Winterson, at 50, seems to be up to her typical randy ways, this time making a trip to cougarville.