The New StatesmanThe New Statesman

Why literary snobs don’t get Bridget Jones

By Pravina Rudra

11 Jul 2023 · 4 min read

informed Summary

  1. The New York recently criticised the character of Bridget Jones, arguing that society deserves a better heroine. The criticism focused on Bridget's obsession with her weight, her pursuit of men and her lack of concern for job benefits.

It's 27 years (25 in the US) since the publication of Bridget Jones’s Diary – the novel by Helen Fielding that spawned Richard Curtis movies starring Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, two further books, and phrases such as “f_*_wit” and “Smug Marrieds”. A comic hit at the time, the book’s jacket was even adorned with the praise of Salman Rushdie. But since, it has often come under fire – most recently on 30 June when the New York Times published a piece for the U.S. anniversary arguing that we deserved a better heroine than Bridget Jones. Her crimes? Chasing after men, caring too much about her weight and general ditziness.

The NYT critic seemed particularly aggrieved that Bridget moves to a new job after an “offer letter” that “consists of one line: ‘OK, my darling. You’re on.’ No mention of salary, health insurance, vacation time or sick days.” The sneer betrays an American mindset unable to conceive that Bridget has no need for medical insurance thanks to the NHS or that “sick days” that come as standard.

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