Never again will I read the vitriolic outpourings of one delusional Ms Liz Jones. That I am admitting that I buy The Mail on Sunday is bad enough (I have always adored the interiors and cooking features in You magazine), but to work myself up into such a state about something I read inside it is downright ridiculous. You see while the rest of the world is up in arms about Russell Brand I have got my knickers in a right old twist about Liz Jones. Oh yes, to say I am angry is an understatement. She makes me want to spit, and if you know me well, you will know that this is a rare occasion indeed. I'm generally of a live and let live nature except when it comes to Mariah Carey.
For those of you not familiar with Liz Jones, she is the former editor of Marie Claire who turned her marriage to a man a good deal her junior into a four year long column that documented everything from her lies (she shaved a few years off her age) and his lies (He became ludicrously unfaithful) to her obsessive compulsive urge to control every last detail of their relationship and its inherent financial inequalities (He was a struggling unpublished writer, she a prominent fashion and beauty journalist), her housework craze, their brood of cats, his yoga and ultimately their shambolic, painful marital failure.
Gripping stuff if only because what she was willing to reveal was astonishingly neurotic, desperately human and surely occasionally a little embroidered, because no truly sane woman would have allowed her imbecilic young spouse to treat her like he did and still carry on behaving like his doting Mother.
But then who are we to judge somebody else's relationship? Nobody, that's right, so women across the country groaned every time she let him climb back into her bed after yet another infidelity and secretly rooted for the everywoman we believed her to be somewhere underneath the glossy, silly, paranoid surface.
But Liz Jones isn't everywoman at all. When the marriage finally stuttered to an end she moved into the country with her beloved menagerie and the subject of her column gradually shifted to document her loneliness and regret for the children she doesn't have, the marriage as it should have been and the men she hasn't got, alongside the turmoil of life in the country for a thoroughly pampered city woman. It remains amusing and sad, but is now a little too liberally sprinkled with the bitterness reflected in every word she writes elsewhere...
I first started to feel mildly offended by her when I read this:
" ...do we really want to buy into the idea that women should revert to pouring all their energy into raising children (who, if my nephews and nieces are anything to go by, will turn their noses up at something you spent all day making from scratch) and opting out of the jobs market as soon as child number two comes along?
Where does this vision of domestic bliss leave men, I wonder? I don't often see things from a male viewpoint but I can only think that men, when faced with the prospect of being with a woman who wanted to get to the top, who paid half the mortgage, was able to talk about something other than the huge pile of ironing they had just ploughed through, and gave him the opportunity of being the one to stay home and change the nappies, just might have given a huge sigh of relief to have the burden of responsibility shared for once.
Do thirty-something men have a choice in this new-found fervour for a ridiculously retro domestic set-up? I doubt it.
I have a very hard-working male friend whose wife decided to go part-time as soon as she became pregnant and had the cheek to say to him the other day: "Why am I the only mum out of my group of friends who still has to work?
"When are you going to be a man, and let me do my job, which is to raise our child?" (And before full-time mums write in to tell me how hard bringing up three small children under three actually is, much harder than sitting in an office, I don't care. You chose to have them.)
Women were suckered by feminism into wanting careers above all else. Now they all want to do an about-turn because, surprise surprise, they have discovered something men have known for years: that the workplace is monotonous and boring and hard.
And so along comes all this domestic nonsense, which women are grasping with both hands as a way to get off the treadmill..."
This from a woman who in the absence of children, has dedicated her life to horses so pampered she washes their manes in Frederik Fekkai! This from a woman who compromised her own very well documented "feminism" by allowing herself to become the doormat on which her spoilt ex-husband wiped the yoga shoes she no doubt paid for, on! This from a woman who's very dedication to her pets, (and by the same token the maternal dedication she bestowed upon her marriage), sadly tells the tale of a woman embittered by the lack of a significant other with whom to build the life of domestic contentment she so clearly craves.
So I was already cross with her.
And then, this weekend, in my eyes at least, she blew it all together. Speaking about Michele Obama in the main part of the Mail on Sunday, she said and I quote...
" Michelle Obama is the perfect embodiment of the American Dream.
From a deprived childhood on the south side of Chicago to Harvard and Princeton law schools and a high-earning career, she has suddenly been demoted to organising the Christmas decorations at the White House and the annual Easter egg roll, whatever that is.
While her husband is being likened in all seriousness to John F. Kennedy, Michelle is being held up as the next Jackie O, an empty-headed, expensively dressed ninny whose first instinct, when her husband was shot in the head, was to try to climb out of the back of that moving car.
I worry whether a woman so intelligent and feisty (her husband learned at a young age to smile and charm and disarm whites of the notion that he was a black militant, but Michelle was always much more confrontational) will be able to melt herself down to fit this new, super-restricting role.
The constant battle she has with her hair, ironing it and chemically ‘relaxing’ it so that it becomes ‘blow hair’, ie, hair that moves in the wind like a white woman’s, is likely to be played out every day with her fierce intellect.
She will have to suppress her views, her opinions and a loud mouth, which has meant, as one US political observer put it, she has already become ‘a target-rich environment’ in the manner of Cherie Blair.
Michelle Obama constantly has to reassure the American public that her prime concern is being a good mother to her two polite, well-dressed young daughters. ‘Even as First Lady, my No1 job is still to be Mom,’ she wrote recently.
‘My first priority will be to ensure [my daughters] stay grounded and healthy, with normal childhoods – including homework, chores, dance and soccer’.
While middle Americans can, now, accept that a black man is ready to rule the world, the idea that a woman might have interests beyond running a home is still, ludicrously, untenable.
The reason Michelle chides her husband for his bad domestic skills is obvious.
She is not emasculating him; rather, she wants to make him seem more down to earth, more ‘normal’.
But, let’s face it, even Osama Bin Laden must, at some point, shout down the stairs (do caves have stairs?) that he can’t find his turban to some poor, put-upon female.
Being inept at domesticity doesn’t make a leader appear more human; it merely means he is, de facto, oppressing someone else."
And as if this ridiculous, sexist, ill-judged borderline racist rant wasn't enough she then went on to say...
*Far more revolutionary than electing a man of colour to the White House (will it now be the Black House?) would have been to elect a female at almost the same moment as a woman was being stoned to death for adultery in Somalia (that actually happened on October 28, 2008)"
Will it now be the Black House?? Please tell me she didn't say that. Hell yeah, she said it alright, and whether she said it with a hefty dose of irony is irrelevant to the fact that she spilled out something that in this day and age we shouldn't even think.
I don't pretend to know anything about the politics of America. But I know this: Michele Obama is an intelligent woman in her own right, and that is a fact uncompromised by whether she chooses to put personal ambition aside while she supports her family during what will no doubt be challenging, exhausting, wonderful times for them all.
And more than that how Mrs Obama chooses to style her hair has got bugger all to do with anything and merely the typical, cringeworthy, unintelligent viewpoint of a fashion journalist full of her own importance and clearly hell-bent on courting controversy while diverting our attention away from the fact that because she has been all too willing to spill her guts about her personal life, we know how very bitter she is, and how very little she has achieved in terms of domestic fulfillment.
The saddest part of all of this is that this so called "feminist" clearly doesn't understand that modern feminism never for a moment asks us to choose between a high flying career and the instinct to do our utmost to protect our children, while enriching the lives of the family we created. Modern feminism says only do what you have to do now. Do what matters. You always have that choice.
Me , you, Michelle. We have that choice.
So somebody tell Liz Jones, because until she steps off her high, lonely pampered horse, never again will I, and surely the rest of the nation, be able to read anything she writes.