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Wednesday, 4 April, 2001, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Men, women and Bridget Jones
Colin Firth and Hugh Grant
It is raining men in Bridget Jones's Diary
BBC News Online's Darren Waters gives the male perspective on the Bridget Jones phenomenon.

Two and a half pages into Helen Fielding's extraordinarily successful book Bridget Jones's Diary it becomes abundantly clear that this book is about men.

The author may be a woman, the book may be written from a woman's perspective but the diary is a thinly disguised self-help manual for women in search of men.

Renee Zellweger
Bridget contemplates the "big issue" in life: to diet or not to diet
It has always surprised me that so many women have fallen over themselves in the rush to identify themselves with the protagonist when she is such an insipid and unappealing character.

But perhaps because she is such a mass of contradictions and insecurities it is no wonder that we all - men and women - find something familiar in Miss Jones.

But where Bridget is the broadest archetype for single women in pursuit of happiness, the two male leads, Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver, are the narrowest stereotypes of men.

Even their names are a fluorescent post-it note label of the two men's temperaments and characters.

Where Cleaver is sharp, witty and dangerous, Darcy is brooding, traditional and honourable.

Hugh Grant and Renee Zellweger
"Someday my prince will come"
I don't need to tell you which one Bridget first beds and which one she stays with.

But Bridget Jones is no ordinary character - she is a phenomenon, the female adult corollary to the Harry Potter novels.

Clearly I am missing the point, because I always thought Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones columns in the Independent were a parody, or a satire on ridiculous women and men in the media world.

Bridget Jones, I assumed, was a grotesque caricature and her fixation with weight, food, alcohol, cigarettes, work, parents, friends and lovers was a grown up version of Adrian Mole.

Depressing

But at some point Bridget Jones went from parody to paragon.

Actually, that point was when the columns became a book, the book became a best seller, and the bestseller became a film.

In the movie, Miss Jones is just another love struck heroine - a British Meg Ryan.

And every love struck heroine needs a knight on a white steed. But first two knights must joust for the right to win Miss Jones' heart.

What is utterly so depressing about the book is that while we all suffer from the same insecurities they do not define all that we are and do.

Colin Firth
Is this every woman's knight in shining armour?
But Bridget Jones is just an amalgam of her anxieties, of everyone's anxieties.

As a man it is utterly depressing even to entertain the idea that Bridget Jones is an accurate representation of women.

On the film's official website you can do a quiz to find out "how Bridget are you" with the ultimate aim of winning the accolade of "Very, very Bridget".

And if you are very, very Bridget "you're the mirror of our own heartfelt inadequacies - obsessing over missed opportunities, squandering present ones with sloth and timidity".

Perhaps there is something of Bridget in all women - but I hope it is just a small part.

See also:

24 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Renée wins Bridget role
04 Apr 01 | New Media
Bridget Jones fans set to txt
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