Bridget Jones’ creator Helen Fielding shocked by sexism in movie

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Bridget Jones’ creator Helen Fielding says she was shocked to see the sexism depicted on-screen when she rewatched her old movie.

Fielding, 62, penned the books and later co-wrote the screenplays for the blockbuster films.

She told Desert Island Discs: “I took my kids to see a screening of the movie. I hadn’t seen it for years and years, and I was staggered. You couldn’t write that now.

“The level of sexism that Bridget was dealing with, the hand on the bum in so many of the scenes. Richard Finch (Bridget’s boss) … ‘Let’s have a shot of the boobs”.

Lauren Laverne
Lauren Laverne (Dean Chalkley/BBC)

“But it was just part and parcel of her life and it was quite shocking for me to see how things have changed since then.”

She told the programme it “wouldn’t have been possible to write it in that way now”, adding: “Things have changed, happily.”

Asked about her books being criticised by feminists as a “defeatist view of womanhood,” she said the criticism “gets to me”.

“Having said that, I did deliberately put the line in Bridget Jones ‘There is nothing so unattractive to a man as strident feminism’, I think in the knowledge that it might annoy some people.

“I think, at the time, Bridget said being a feminist with a capital F was another thing that she felt she wasn’t very good at.

“What’s great now is that feminism has sort of lost its capital F,” she told Lauren Laverne.

“That Bridget ends with a happy and romantic ending … was a bit of a red herring because Bridget does not just straightforwardly just want a man.”

Fielding told the BBC Radio 4 show that she found it difficult to discuss feminism.

“It’s something you have to be very careful talking about. You have to be very careful what you say now….

“I’m a lone parent with two kids with all the privilege that I have. Those women with kids on their own, no money, that’s where the fight really is.”

She added: “It’s a bit of a red herring to get hung-up about Bridget. The way Bridget operates is the way your friends operate.

“When you see your friends at the end of the day … You do not go and say, ‘I’ve been such a marvellous feminist’.

“You say, ‘You’d never believe what happened to me today’ and then you support each other.”

Desert Island Discs is on BBC Sounds and BBC Radio 4 on Sunday at 11am.

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