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The novelist Doris Lessing yesterday claimed that men were the new silent victims in the sex war, "continually demeaned and insulted" by women without a whimper of protest.
Lessing, who became a feminist icon with the books The Grass is Singing and The Golden Notebook, said a "lazy and insidious" culture had taken hold within feminism that revelled in flailing men.
Young boys were being weighed down with guilt about the crimes of their sex, she told the Edinburgh book festival, while energy which could be used to get proper child care was being dissipated in the pointless humiliation of men.
"I find myself increasingly shocked at the unthinking and automatic rubbishing of men which is now so part of our culture that it is hardly even noticed," the 81-year-old Persian-born writer said yesterday.