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Women To Watch: Trend Tracker® Tara Gilani With Erica Jong

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Originally published in 1973, "Fear of Flying" by Erica Jong is the internationally bestselling blockbuster story of Isadora Wing and her forward and free thinking sexual escapades.

The book launched a new way of thinking about gender, sexuality and liberty in our society. To celebrate its 40th anniversary, Holt, the original publisher, has re-issued "Fear of Flying".

The special edition has a new introduction by Jennifer Weiner, author of ten books, including "In Her Shoes" and "The Next Best Thing".

Trend Tracker® Tara Gilani tracked down Erica Jong during a special Miami Book Fair event. The two sat down at Mandarin Oriental for a frank chat about women and sex…then and now.

Tara got right to it. "It's mind-boggling how ahead of its time 'Fear of Flying' was."

'Fear of Flying' was the book that said, "you can be anything you want to be," said Erica.

Deemed scandalous by some and empowering by others, the book was groundbreaking in its gender bending truth. All the while, Jong was either admired or vilified.

"On any given day, I would get people telling me I was fabulous or I was an immoral slut," Jong said. "The reviews and the reactions were so paradoxical."

"Well," said Gilani, "here it is 40 years later and personally, I don't think we've come a long way. But what do I know? Erica?"

"We have not come a long way," said Erica. We thought in the 70's that we were going to revolutionize society and what happened was a huge backlash."

Forty years and 20 million copies later, Jong is considered a pioneer, a trailblazer, a champion of women's personal liberation, and a thought provoker.

"We now have many states passing laws against abortion and birth control. They really don't want women to have birth control."

If a woman cannot control her own body, she has no freedom at all.

"Erica's fearlessness is empowering," said Tara. "And her honesty is positively inspiring."

The book has been compared to a 70's version of '50 Shades of Gray.' Erica doesn't agree with that at all.

"The girl in Grey gets gifts and rewards in return for performing sexual favors. How "modern" is that?  The heroine in 'Fear of Flying' did what she wanted for her own pleasure. She did if for herself. Now, THAT's modern."

Erica's wit is infectious. "What I love most about the book," said Tara, "is that it's funny as Hell, and honest. Like a reality-show-book, art imitating life, indeed."

"Most of the episodes in bed end in comic disaster. They don't end in whole body orgasms or things like that. It's a sexual comedy of errors," said Erica.

All I know, said Tara: "A whole new generation is sure to laugh a lot and learn a lot from "Fear of Flying." I'm still laughing (and learning) 40 years later."

For more on Erica Jong including upcoming books, personal appearances and new projects, follow her on Twitter: @EricaJong

For all things "Women To Watch," trendy, thought-provoking and inspiring, follow Tara Gilani here: @TrendTracker


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