Susan Sontag ‘On Women’

Becca Rothfeld at the Washington Post:

The great French writer Colette once speculated that “certain highly complex human beings” are marked by their “mental hermaphroditism.” The fabled essayist Susan Sontag was among them. She was a woman, but she dressed in the glamorously genderless garb of an intellectual celebrity and wrote on the weighty topics usually reserved for her male peers. In her journals, she mused that “to be an intellectual is to be attached to the inherent value of plurality.”

At her best, Sontag refused to truncate herself in the interest of legibility or to simplify her thinking in the service of easy answers. At her worst, she was dodgy and noncommittal. For the duration of her romance with the photographer Annie Leibovitz, which lasted from 1989 until Sontag’s death in 2004, she never publicly identified as a lesbian. An acquaintance, the formidable critic Terry Castle, recalls that Sontag’s “usual line (indignant and aggrieved) was that she didn’t believe in ‘labels.’”

more here.