Doris Lessing, we salute you

Doris Lessing, a talented authoress, died last month. She won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007. But that’s not why we’re saluting her. We’re saluting her for comments she made at a book festival in 2001, comments reported by Fiachra Gibbons in a short article printed in the Guardian on 14 August 2001.

The following is drawn from Swayne O’Pie’s important book Why Britain Hates Men: Exposing Feminism, available in a Kindle edition and a paperback edition outside the UK with the title Exposing Feminism: The Thirty Years’ War Against Men. Our thanks to the author for his kind permission to reproduce the Guardian piece here. It takes up the remainder of this post.


Doris Lessing, who became a feminist icon with her books The Grass is Singing and The Golden Notebook, said a ‘lazy and insidious’ culture had taken hold within feminism that revelled in flailing men.

Young boys were being weighed down with guilt about the crimes of their sex, she told the Edinburgh book festival.

‘I find myself increasingly shocked at the unthinking and automatic rubbishing of men which is now so part of our culture that it’s hardly even noticed’, the 81-year-old Zimbabwean-born writer said yesterday.

‘I was in a class of nine- and ten-year-olds, girls and boys, and this young woman was telling these kids that the reason for wars was the innately violent nature of men. You could see the little girls, fat with complacency and conceit, while the little boys sat there crumpled, apologising for their existence, thinking this was going to be the pattern of their lives’.

Lessing said that the teacher ‘tried to catch my eye, thinking that I would approve of this rubbish’.

She added, ‘This kind of thing is happening in schools all over the place, and no one says a thing. It is time we began to ask, who are these women who continually rubbish men? The most stupid, ill-educated and nasty woman can rubbish the nicest, kindest, and most intelligent man, and no one protests.

Men seem to be so cowed that they cannot fight back. And it is time they did.”

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