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She is not grandmotherly (though she is a grandmother).
Nor is she ready to step aside, resigned to her own irrelevance in a world now run by the young.
Meanwhile, in England, a dozen members of Parliament were under investigation, and the defense secretary had stepped down. While feminists were busy celebrating a long-overdue day of reckoning, Jackson was more circumspect.
“What I find interesting is the underlying hypocrisy,” she said, “as if nobody knew this was going on, which is utterly absurd—everybody knows, and it goes on in every single area of life.
During her tenure in Parliament, she delivered a resounding (and posthumous) denunciation of Margaret Thatcher and her namesake era, when “everything I had been taught as a vice, under Thatcherism, was in fact a virtue.” Her speech has attracted more than 1.5 million hits on You Tube.
The week Jackson and I spoke had been a busy one in the news.
With age, she says, she has now arrived at what she calls “the happy position that this is the way I look.
If you don’t like it, don’t look at me.”Aging has never been a problem, Jackson claims, “because I never regarded myself as being employed for the way I look.” In fact, to hear her tell it, you would think she’d been employed the way she looked.
She lives in a house she shares with her son, a political columnist, and his family. She still harbors a backlog of indignation, much of it, it seems, on other people’s behalf.
“I’ve always loved radio, because you don’t have to wear makeup or learn your lines or worry about bumping into the furniture,” she says.
Then, after she went to Barcelona to see her friend the great Spanish actress Núria Espert as King Lear, Espert suggested that she take on the role herself.
Back in the early days of the sexual revolution, there was Glenda Jackson, seemingly fearless, leading the charge.
The two Oscars that the British actress was awarded, in 19—neither of which she showed up to collect—seemed to endorse the attitudes of the women she portrayed. You could argue that Jackson was an unlikely avatar for women’s independence, as the wife of the only man she had ever slept with because, she later explained, marriage seemed morally preferable to living in sin.