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By Lisa Alther

A provocative and wide-ranging dialog among precise women—one American and one French—on the dilemmas, rewards, and calls for of womanhood.

Lisa Alther and Françoise Gilot were acquaintances for greater than twenty-five years. even if from various backgrounds (Gilot from cosmopolitan Paris, Alther from small-town Tennessee) and assorted generations, they discovered they've got very much in universal as ladies who controlled to help themselves with careers within the arts whereas at the same time balancing the responsibilities of labor and parenthood. 

About Women 
is their prolonged dialog during which they speak about every little thing very important to them: their childhoods, the effect of battle on their lives and their paintings, and their perspectives on love, kind, self-invention, feminism, and baby rearing. additionally they talk about the inventive impulse and the significance of paintings as they think of what it ability to be a girl.

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Many folks earn a section much less funds than within the usa for comparable jobs, they usually spend their cash in a distinct way—on solid outfits or a pleasant residence. In France, you wouldn't brain having a foolish little automobile with the intention to have a extra attractive residence. It’s occasionally within the working-class districts of Paris that you just locate the main appetizing meals simply because humans there spend more cash on nutrients than within the parts which are well-to-do. Conversely, those that dwell close to road Victor Hugo, the place attractive type outlets are in abundance, will spend more cash on their wardrobes. within the early Nineteen Sixties, in the course of my divorce from Luc Simon, I had a chum who were lately widowed who was once additionally experiencing tricky instances. So we might name one another and ask, “How are you feeling? ” “Not too strong. ” “Not too strong? How undesirable? ” “Maybe undesirable adequate for a headband at Hermès. ” So we’d cross purchase scarves for every different and are available domestic feeling really happy, with our moods greater. If we felt particularly poor, one in all us may perhaps say, “Well, let’s visit Cardin and notice what they've got. ” it can be an get together for a hat, or for a few gown jewellery, or for a gown. The superficial a part of your self takes over, and also you feed your mutual narcissism by way of announcing, “Oh, this colour matches you rather well. ” you are feeling greater, at the very least for a time. los angeles: buying treatment. whilst certainly one of my relationships ended, I went to the mall much and purchased outfits. often i used to be by myself, however it did cheer me up. FG: yet it’s 3 times as powerful with a pal. It turns into a type of rite. Then we’d move have tea someplace and praise one another on our purchases. los angeles: In France, such a lot of humans smoke, and if you quit smoking, you achieve, at the general, ten kilos, simply because your metabolism slows down. one in all your French associates informed me that after his sister bought to be approximately 13, she wear weight, as pubescent women frequently do, and that his mom insisted she commence smoking to aim to get the load off. FG: That doesn’t astonish me. My father didn’t smoke in any respect, and my mom smoked little or no. but if i used to be approximately 13, i used to be informed i'll smoke up to i wished, simply because they inspiration that in the event that they forbade me to smoke, i might smoke all my existence. So in fact i used to be more than happy, and from age 13 to eighteen i used to be smoking packs an afternoon. in reality, I wasn’t breathing in, so it was once as a rule for express. eventually, being very pleased with the truth that I swam good and quickly, and on the grounds that it wasn’t so solid for my respiring, i made a decision to prevent. time and again in Europe, mom and dad and youngsters are extra oblique within the means they relate to each other. once they wish anything, they pursue it in a extra indirect demeanour. they are saying, “You can smoke all you want,” pondering that once the surplus satiety will persist with. l. a.: I used to forbid my daughter to chunk gum, partially simply because I hated chewing gum but in addition simply because i assumed then she’d sneak round chewing gum rather than capturing heroin or whatever. So possibly issues aren’t all that various within the usa. Or at the least now not between southerners, who're recognized for infrequently asserting what they truly suggest.

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