The character of Ainsley Tewce in The Edible Woman has numerous internal conflicts. She greatly values the idea of independence, as befitting her feminist politics, but she also wants to be a mother. Ainsley decides that her choice of a male partner should initially be based on the genetic potential and likelihood of impregnating her. However, Ainsley does not actually want to raise a child alone. She also demonstrates homophobic tendencies: her primary stated reason for wanting to have a husband and father for her child is that boys without strong father figures allegedly turn out gay, which she does not see as acceptable.
Ainsley’s success can be evaluated in several ways. She does become pregnant, which was her goal. She does not marry in order to conceive a child, which was another part of her larger objective. However, she gives in to numerous social pressures, including her own biases regarding sexuality, indulging in behavior that seems inconsistent with her feminist principles. She is hostile toward Clara because she has numerous children yet decides that her own desire for motherhood is qualitatively different from Clara’s because she has career goals. Furthermore, she condemns Marian for hypocrisy even as she seems to demonstrate a lack of ethical conviction.