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By Elizabeth Wilson

During this publication, probably the most finished and considerate cultural commentators of the day, considers the contradictory nature of cultural relatives. Elizabeth Wilson explores those topics via an exam of favor, feminism, client tradition, illustration and postmodernism. Debates inside feminism at the nature and results of pornography are used to demonstrate a specific type of cultural contradiction. Wilson acknowledges that postmodernism authorized the reappropriation of topics that weren't formerly thought of important of recognition, or against the assumption of emancipation, leader between those was once model. She exhibits that the organization of an curiosity during this culturally major topic with a revisionist undertaking increases doubt

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Yet the voices of the feminists who were already writing in the 1970s do not seem quite right for the millennium either. , published in 1987 and The Rights and Wrongs of Women a decade before that. The articles in their most recent volume are scholarly and serious and quite devoid of the studiedly bright tone of Walter and Wilkinson. M o s t address specific issues of relevance to women that have arisen in recent years; nevertheless, to organise a whole b o o k r o u n d the assertation that there has been a 'backlash' against feminism, which these editors do, seriously oversimplifies the ways in which women's lives have changed during the last three decades, and does scant justice to the extraordinarily contradictory experience it has been, or to the ambivalence I have identified as crucial to our understanding of women's contemporary situation.

The Left', she pontificated, can't cope with beauty, is terrified of feelings, and guilty of 'sneering, elitist condescension'. Between the death of Princess D i a n a and Dodi Al Fayed and the funeral of the Princess, I felt desperate to write something, to try to m o u n t a serious challenge to the apparent general consensus. Then, gradually, several journalists wrote thoughtful articles that went against the general grain. In particular, Nikki Gerrard in the Observer wrote 'let's hear it for stoicism', and questioned whether the unfettered outpouring of vicarious grief was as wholly virtuous as everyone seemed to have assumed.

I suspect that many people in Britain do now regard those eighteen years as being years of missed opportunity and a decline in public values; but, as opinion polls show, the British seem to want the goodness and 'caring' without h a r d choices: the N H S , but low - or preferably no - taxes; better working conditions, but no trade unions; fair shares and better times for all, but n o redistribution of wealth; a society stripped of deference, but wall-to-wall Hello! magazine. Grief for D i a n a expressed that perfectly.

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