Still Flying High

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photoThirty years ago, writer Erica Jong turned the literary world and the nation on its backside with her first novel "Fear of Flying." The uninhibited adventures of 29-year-old Isadora Wing and her desire to fly in the face of 1970s "nice women don't say that" conventions became a blockbuster best-seller and cultural phenomenon. "Growing up female in America, what a liability," observed Isadora. "Fear of Flying" became a manifesto for a generation of repressed "good girls," ready to push for what they wanted in the workplace. In relationships. In bed.

Fast forward 30 years. At the checkout counter, you'll scarcely find a find a magazine cover without a scantily clad woman and captions like "Finding the X Spot." On the tube, those fun-loving Sex and the City gals are looking for love in five inch stilettos. There's even a remake in the works of the "Stepford Wives." The Betty Friedan generation of the '70s has been transformed into the botox generation. In a recent, NY Times editorial, Maureen Dowd observes, "There's even a retro trend among women toward deserting the fast track for a pleasant life of sitting around Starbucks, gabbing with their girlfriends, baby strollers beside them, logging time at the gym to firm up for the he-man CEO at home."

What would Isadora Wing make of all this? We ask the woman who started it all. Tonight, On Point: Erica Jong and the shape of sex and feminism today.


Erica Jong, best-selling author of "Fear of Flying," celebrating its 30th anniversary. Her new novel is "Sappho's Leap";Randall Kennedy, On Point news analyst, professor at Harvard Law School

This program aired on June 17, 2003.


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