Ms Toynbee's second distortion is in suggesting that the major focus of the book is on lesbians and that their inclusion is unwarranted. The book in fact focuses on the experiences and responses of dying women, bereaved women and women carers, who include mothers, daughters, widows and partnerless women from many different cultures and classes, whose sexuality may be heterosexual, bisexual, celibate or lesbian.
More critical is her penultimate sentence:
Nothing wrong with lesbians, it is just that they have no place in studies about women per se. The issues are utterly different.
Lesbians, like female heterosexuals, are women and therefore patently have a place in studies about women. Had Ms Toynbee written: "Nothing wrong with blacks ..." the evident racism would, one hopes, have prevented her review from appearing.
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