Or, in praise of difficult women
In my never relenting quest for the stereotypes of modern culture, I’ve mentioned the “difficult man” and the “sexually frustrated woman”. Today, let’s have a look at another archetype: the “difficult woman.” But before we go on I would like mention that I want to include in my definition of “difficult” the connotation “complicated.” Many difficult people are difficult because they are complex personalities, often torn apart by conflicting inner desires.
The archetypical difficult women in world literature are Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina, who both had a quixotic lust for fiction and who both committed suicide. Many difficult women are also strong women and that is why we men love them and at the same time have a complicated relationship with them. We love them and hate them.
Many “difficult” people lead unhappy lives, and many commit suicide. Easy-going people don’t.
To say that Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) was a difficult rather than an easy-going woman is a platitude, she is only one of the talented but tortured people who left our planet voluntarily prematurely. She famously said that “Every woman adores a fascist,” in a poem dedicated to the memory of her father. I would like to add to her words that “every man adores a femme fatale, bad girl or difficult woman,” and would like to conclude with Sylvia Plath reading from her own poem “Daddy“. If you want to head straight to the “fascist” quote, scrub to 2:14.