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Margie Orford

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

What Do Women Want?

‘What do women want?’ That was the question that perplexed Freud as he formulated his notions of the subconscious. What women get, that might be a better question to start, because the gulf that lies between what we want and what we get is the reality of a woman’s life.

In crime fiction women all too often get short shrift. They are the default victims of the genre. Their lovely, mutilated and mute bodies trigger the gun-toting heroes – and the odd heroine, my own Clare Hart included – who avenge their gruesome deaths at the hands of serial misogynists.

Freud famously failed to answer his own question. It always amazes me when brilliant men miss the perfectly obvious, so I’ll spell it out. Being a woman myself, I can tell you that I’d rather be alive than be avenged. Living in South Africa one often feels as if one were living inside a crime novel where the author has lost the plot. And the effects of this plot-loss are seen in the astounding levels of sexual violence and the infrequency with which perpetrators are jailed.

But women know what they want, and unless you are a deaf mute, they say it round the world loud and clear. Women want what men want – political rights, economic parity and a safe, warm house where nobody hits them. Women are people, after all, just like men and we don’t like to be messed with.


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">moi</a>
    August 10th, 2011 @19:42 #

    "It always amazes me when brilliant men miss the perfectly obvious..."

    I'm more inclined to pass on amazement in favour of some reconsideration of the brilliance...

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Margie</a>
    August 10th, 2011 @22:00 #

    Irony remains a ladylike way of deflating over-estimations of brilliance...

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">moi</a>
    August 10th, 2011 @23:05 #

    that's what I like most about the F-worders - there's room for the un/ladylikes and for the tramp/lers


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