She was a woman still controlled by the traumas of her girlhood. It made more sense to put her three-year-old self in the dock. As Dr Byford explained, she was really the victim of a vicious, peculiarly female psycological disorder: she felt one thing and did another. She was a stranger to herself.

And were they still like that, she wondered - these new girls, this new generation? Did they still feel one thing and do another? Did they still only want to be wanted? Were they still objects of desire instead of - as Howard might put it - desiring subjects? No, she could see no serious change. Still starving themselves, still reading women’s magazines that explicitly hate women, still cutting themselves with little knives in places they think can’t be seen, still faking their orgasms with men they dislike, still lying to everybody about everything.

excerpt from On Beauty by Zadie Smith
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