Alert Janeite slw sent us a link to an article in the Guardian about a new book (we actually blogged about it before) that purports that women should not wait for Mr. Right, but snatch up Mr. Good Enough before
she becomes an ape-leader in hell she turns into Miss Bates. Quotage:
It is not just feminism that has betrayed women by telling them they could have it all, said Gottlieb: every book, film and television show that perpetuates the myth of combining romantic love with a happy-ever-after ending – from Jane Austen to Friends – has done women a great and dangerous disservice.
Thing is, women these days have options. We can have jobs and make (almost) as much money as the boys. We can own property. We can travel without a male relative tagging along. We can even become mothers, with or without the assistance of science or government, without having a husband. Certainly most women will prefer to be married, but we are not overfond of sweeping generalizations, and certainly neither was Jane Austen.
In Jane Austen’s time, marriage “was the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want.” That probably was not Jane Austen’s opinion, but no doubt was the opinion of most of the people of her society; yet Austen’s heroines never, ever settled for Mr. Good Enough, though they almost all had the opportunity, and there was no guarantee that Mr. Right would come up to scratch. That’s a pretty strong message, and it does not deserve to be belittled by Ms. Midlife Crisis. As for Miss Bates, the lesson there is perhaps learn to be satisfied with what you have, because wanting what you don’t have is rarely productive.