Jair Bolsonaro is one of the most controversial politicians in recent Brazilian history.
The far-right candidate, who has a wide lead in the polls ahead of the second round in Brazil’s presidential election, is a man who speaks his mind. And he has revealed his homophobic, sexist and racist viewpoints while doing so.
His supporters have brushed his comments off as bad but innocent jokes or have simply dismissed reports of his more controversial remarks as fake news.
The list of offensive statements he has made is long. He certainly likes to stir. He told a congresswoman she “did not deserve to be raped” because she was “too ugly”.
Interlitq: How central are themes of violence and gender issues to your work? Also tell us more about your preoccupation with the environment.
PP: I’d say these concerns are central. I hope that readers don’t just read my poems as personal and autobiographical, I would hope they reach beyond the ‘confessional’. Abuse of women and children is a worldwide problem and in certain societies is extreme.
My environmental concerns must originate from my childhood I think, when I lived with my grandmother in mid-Wales, and she had what seemed to me to be a huge garden. I worked in the garden for my keep, and loved it. Later, I spent summer holidays camping with my mother in an overgrown terraced vineyard she had bought in the south of France, and that place must have been my second childhood ‘Amazon’. Both places planted a deep love of nature and a feeling that the natural world in its wild state is an ally, a place of retreat and consolation. Gran had a lot of animals, and after my unhappy infancy in Paris, they must have made a deep impression: I adored them and bonded with them. As I grow older it horrifies me that many species are now endangered.
Julie Bindel writes:
“Sexual Politics was published at the time of an emerging women’s liberation movement, and an emerging politics that began to define male dominance as a political and institutional form of oppression. Millett’s work articulated this theory to the wider world, and in particular to the intellectual liberal establishment, thereby launching radical feminism as a significant new political theory and movement.
In her book, Millett explained women’s complicity in male domination by analysing the way in which females are socialised into accepting patriarchal values and norms, which challenged the notion that female subservience is somehow natural.”
Her bestselling 1970 book Sexual Politics was seen as groundbreaking for taking on gender roles and the patriarchy.
Her death, from a heart attack, was confirmed to the Associated Press by a close contact and her publishing house.
She was seen as an icon of feminism’s so-called “second wave”. Her most famous book had a huge academic and popular influence.
Millett is thought to have been in France celebrating the birthday of her wife, photojournalist Sophie Keir.
‘Bible of Women’s Liberation’
Sexual Politics was based on Millett’s 1969 PhD thesis from New York’s Columbia University and made waves soon after being picked up by a publisher.
In a 1970 review, the New York Times called it “the Bible of Women’s Liberation”.
In the same year, the title – alongside an artist’s portrait of the author – became a Time magazine cover.
The book is often filed with other classics of the era, including Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique (1963) and Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch (1970).
Millett was a renowned feminist activist. She also campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment in the US, for rights to abortions, and for women’s rights in Iran, among other things.
In 1981, she collaborated with Ms Keir to write Going to Iran, which told of their joint trip to the country in 1979, during the Iranian revolution.
The pair had been arrested during the visit after attending women’s protests in Tehran, and Millett later told People magazine of the fear she felt, especially as she overheard the authorities talking about her lesbianism, which she had written about openly.
However, she said she was most concerned for the Iranian women she left behind. “They can’t get on a plane. That’s why international sisterhood is so important,” she said.
Life on a Christmas tree farm
Her other titles included The Prostitution Papers (1971) and The Politics of Cruelty (1994), an investigation of the use of torture across the world.
She later wrote about her struggles with depression.
Her first marriage was to Japanese sculptor Fumio Yoshimura, and she dedicated Sexual Politics to him. They divorced in 1985.
She married Ms Keir recently, according to the New York Times.
In later life, she spoke to the Guardian about making a living selling Christmas trees from her farm in upstate New York.
In the same interview, she said of her life in activism: “I love making trouble. It’s a wonderful job. You don’t get paid but you have a lot of adventures.”