“What did I put up with, in the days of these diaries, without even knowing I had the right not to put up with it?” asks Bridget Jones, in a newly released diary extract.
In 1996, the world fell in love with Bridget Jones for the first time. Written in the form of a diary, Helen Fielding’s iconic novel chronicled a year in the life of her titular heroine, a self-described “thirty-something singleton” working in London’s publishing scene.
Now, some 22 years later, our beloved Bridge has returned with a new diary for 2018. And in it, the fictional London spinster (portrayed by Renee Zellweger in the Bridget Jones’ Diary film trilogy) has reflected on the unacceptable behaviour of her lecherous senior colleagues.
“What did I put up with, in the days of these diaries, without even knowing I had the right not to put up with it?” she muses in a new extract, which has been published in The Times.
“Talk about #MeToo.”
Bridget is referring, of course, to the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace, which began in October 2017 in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations towards Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Reflecting on how the world has changed since Ayssa Milano encouraged people to share their own #MeToo stories using the hashtag on Twitter, Bridget goes on to suggest that, although she tolerated the behaviour of Mr Fitzherbert (Tits Pervert) and Richard Finch at the time, they would lose their jobs if they did the same thing today.
“I just accepted that part and parcel of having a job was that my boss would stare freely at my breasts, not know my name, and ask me to put a tight dress on to make an idiotic speech,” she says.
“And Richard Finch who gave me my big break in TV still spent his entire time trying to get shots of my bum or my t*ts… none of that could happen now.
“[They] would lose their jobs, no question.”
When it comes to Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), though, Bridget confides that she may not always have been a victim of #MeToo but an occasional perpetrator.
“The sexual attraction at work s [sic] not simple and looking back I did sexually harass Daniel Cleaver,” she goes on. “But, thats [sic] different because I fancied him and, er, I was a woman and he was a man.”
As well as the #MeToo movement, the extract also sees Bridget look back on her reluctance to address herself as a feminist.
“Solemn feminists like Camille Paglia and Germaine Greer seemed to be always telling us off, for being less feminist than them,” she writes.
“I felt like ‘a feminist’ was another intimidating thing you were supposed to be: along with thin, in a relationship, a mother, running your own business and gliding from person to person at parties.”
Bridget adds that her attitude has now changed, insisting: “Feminism is once again… a Thing. It’s a different thing. It’s not appropriated by solemn, self-righteous intellectuals. It’s every-woman’s now.”
The new diary extract is featured in the upcoming book, Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and Other Lies), curated by Scarlett Curtis. It contains the work of 52 women, writing on the subject of feminism.