American Vogue recently published a cover story with Phoebe Waller-Bridge in which the playwright, actress and creator behind Killing Eve and Fleabag declared, “I always want to be dangerous.” Her words struck me as odd. Funny, poignant and entertaining as Fleabag and Killing Eve both are, they still sit squarely within the realm of respectability and good taste. Silly, yes. Occasionally provocative, certainly. But never dangerous.
If discussing anal sex within the sheltered world of London’s garden party circuit is what passes for dangerous now, what space do we have for tackling actually dangerous subjects? Liberal feminism has long been accused of diluting the cause. Compared with even the most tepid and mainstream “feminist” output of the previous decades, today’s feminists seem almost frivolous.
It’s with this in mind that I came to re-reading In The Cut by Susanna Moore. The recently reissued 1995 novel tells the story of Frannie, a mercurial and borderline depressed academic living in New York City. Frannie navigates a world of failed dates, unwanted advances, stolen glances and sly remarks from the police: she is as much forced into sexual liberation by an alienated existence as she is a willing participant. The book’s many plot twists take place against the backdrop of an ongoing murder investigation, for which Frannie becomes an unlikely key witness.
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