I’ve been reading a lot of stuff recently to do with women. You may have read my review For The Vagenda which slaughters the magazine industry and what it does for self-esteem, I’ve read Caitlin Moran’s semi-autobiographical novel recently which I can’t publish a review on as of yet- top secret and all that- and at the moment I’m reading the Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennett which is a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
So, I’ve been reading a lot about women and in conclusion I’ve come to summarise, women have it pretty damn hard actually.
The latest women orientated read was Sassy Sunday Times columnist and author, India Knight’s offering, Mutton.
It tells the story of two friends who have known each other for a long time and despite getting older, it never getting easier to be more comfortable in your own skin. This has everything from battles with wrinkles, whether it’s appropriate to wear fishnet tights, having work done and what constitutes having a good night out changing with your age. It makes for some grim reading at times actually. Not in the way it’s written or anything like that- in fact like most of Knights work, it’s biting honesty and ability to employ a pun makes it laugh out loud funny in parts (I particularly enjoy her speculations on what Bel, a guy who she is currently going to dinner with once or twice a month, is short for), but rather, it makes it clear how pretty shit being a woman is sometimes.
What with keeping up appearances, being on constant diets, battling your love for cheese/wine/chocolate/dishes that don’t include the word ‘salad’ (apart from fruit salad Chewits- delicious!) worrying about having kids, turning into someone who only wears beige and wrinkles, women seem to keep getting out trumped by younger models with ‘fake tits’.
It’s not all bad news though- what with the classic ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ woman in the novel being the seemingly the only completely happy woman, shovelling carbonara onto her plate and grating on extra cheese, the strengths of friendships and family relationships between the characters and consoling ourselves that men have started stressing as much as women about being ‘mutton’, maybe I will have pasta for my tea tonight. ‘Cos if you can’t love yourself, it’s pretty hard for others too as well.
Mutton– India Knight – published by Fig Tree, paperback £5.50.