Erica Jong is a woman of few inhibitions. While someone who devotes a whole section of her website to her bad reviews is unlikely to host any regular self-pity festivities, her pity toward others abounds.
In an interview with the Believer, Jong listed a few women for whom she feels sorry. Lena Dunham, of course, that poor maiden artist.
Here, sometimes I look at Lena Dunham and I think, poor girl. She must be going through hell. People in America — if you are a woman and you talk about sex, well, women line up at your door and want to move in with you and leave their husbands, and men all want to fuck you. And they think you’re available. And it never occurs to them that this is writing. America has such hatred of the artist. And it’s not true in other places … I really feel great empathy for her, going through this instant fame thing, because it’s tough. It is not easy. And then she got a book deal, a multi-million dollar book deal, and everybody dumped on her on the Internet. That’s not fun to go through.
Also Naomi Wolf, that little lamb.
I saw it happen to Naomi Wolf. I took her under my wing because I felt so bad for her. We were on a panel once — Katie Roiphe, Naomi and I. And Katie and Naomi went at each other. This was in London. Katie was attacking Naomi, and I just felt so bad for Naomi that we invited her out for dinner afterwards. I tried to help her because I could see she was coming apart. It’s so cruel.
She told the Cut that she feels bad for Miley Cyrus. Jong has previously felt sorry for the Obamas and Hillary Clinton. She did not feel bad for Martha Stewart, until she did.
She feels sorry about the constraints of genre. Her sympathy went to James Frey for his kerfuffle with the “memoir,” as well as to women relegated to the chick lit section.
She feels bad for men, explaining that “we feel sorry for them because they are led around by their dicks and their brains go soft.” But her sympathy does not extend to those “little boy writers who couldn’t stand the competition of women writing.” And of course! Jong has felt sympathy for the modern woman on numerous occasions. She’s sorry that 1968 didn’t do much, and she’s sorry the word vajayjay exists. In her Believer interview she says:
BLVR: And there’s so much you feel like you have to do as a woman, all the SoulCycling and juice cleansing.
EJ: You have to enjoy being a woman. Why should being a woman be such a negative thing where you always have to improve yourself?
Probably you should ask yourself, “What am I doing right now to induce Erica Jong’s pity?”