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...a sweatshop of moxie

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Heroine Chic

Women have finally reached the highest pinnacles of power and influence our world has to offer.

We women are everywhere now: in the boardrooms, in the newsrooms, in the operating theatres, before the bench, on the bench, and quite often, appointing the bench. And not just in the West, either. Women are holding positions of worth everywhere these days.

Yes, women have come a long way, baby. Pass the Virginia Slims, please. *cough*

But I don't know what it is about women -- we can never pass up a moment to critique and carp about what we wear and how we look.

I call it the Harem Syndrome, where enforced confinement with other women vying for the affections of one man led to an ultra-cattiness, the better to compare favourably when he came a-smooching.

(Not too sure there were harems in Accrington, but there you are)


Take Luiza Erundina...

Madame Presidente


This would-be first female President of Brazil, PT (Labour Party) icon, Lula-crony and ex-mayor of and current congresswoman from São Paulo, looks spiffy here, with the requisite debate makeover and possible Ivo Pitanguy interventions.

This is Luiza today, chillin'.

Ivo? Help!!

I have it on good authority from Renato that half of Southern Italy looks like this -- including some women.

So you see, this is what I propose to do in this blogpiece. I'm not Trinny Woodall or Susanah Constantine. Neither Joan nor heaven forbid, Melissa Rivers. My mission is to not slim down nor even to tear down, but rather to investigate if Paul Begala's oft-quoted remark is true, especially about women who presently hold some kind of office:

Politics is showbiz for ugly people


It's always important to comfort the politically correct first, since you know, they're weenies.

Listen, none of these women need to look beautiful or even comely to hold office, okay? It doesn't mean they're not capable, strong or intelligent individuals with great self-worth. They're all heroines, even the really crappy politicians. You know who you are, Megawati Sukarnoputri.

What it does mean, is that these women below scrub up nicely. And if some cleavage peeps out, hey, that's just gravy.

Luizianne Lins, Mayor of Fortaleza (Ceará)

What I like about "Petista" Luizianne Lins is that her cultural heritage is written all over her. Brazil is more racially mixed than most South American countries because of the African infusion, creating a collage of hair colours, textures, and features -- and by the looks of her, Luizianne could well be of African, and Dutch origin, since that area of Brazil was dominated by Holland for over 30 years. She's not afraid to look feminine either, like recently unseated Mayor of São Paulo, Marta Suplicy -- who merits a wee mention here.

And since São Paulo is a megalopolis of 20 million people, Marta must have been the lady mayor with the biggest population in the world, ever. With a 49% approval rating the day she stepped down, I daresay she'll be back.

Mary McAleese, 8th President of Ireland

It's difficult to wear beige sofa plush fabric, big black bangles, and lady-killer red lipstick with that Cruella DeVille complexion, and come off as demure, but this Belfast-born, twice elected President of Ireland somehow pulls it off.

And here is Madame Prez reviewing brawny hurlers before a match, having raided Hillary Clinton's wardrobe and shoerack moments before.

You didn't expect me to be nice all the time, did you? Alrighty then.

Adrienne Clarkson, Governor-General of Canada

What polish. What style. What class. What an airbrushed photo.

But it's important to show the idealised version of women since we all know how wrinkly Cybill Shepherd would've looked in Moonlighting without the soft-focus.

Here's the Lady Gov of Canaduh looking pert in more dashing colours. Remember these hues when you get to Luisa Diogo of Mozambique further on.

THIS is how you wear bright orange and yet never look like the dragon float on Chinese New Year's.

H.M. Margrethe II of Denmark

There are two knocks on the 6'2" Queen of Denmark: she decided to go to Girton College in that OTHER University. And she has Shrek-green teeth, due to being a two-pack-a-dayer...Karelia filterless yet. Ick. But being a monarch she has a personal lackey who follows her around with an ashtray. Come on, how cool is that?

Other than the cancer sticks, she's perfect.

She loves to dance, sing, and is a great conversationalist. She translated Simone de Beauvoir into Danish. She paints in oils and watercolours. She personally decorated all the moth-worn royal palaces under budget, and has not only designed ballet costumes for the Royal Danish Theatre, but her recent "Lord of the Rings" illustrations might bring her millions of fans from Geek World.

And what a snappy dresser! Here she is, towering over Prime Minister Koizumi of Japan (yeah, like that's so hard).

I need a fag. Where's my lackey?

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, 14th President of The Phillipines

She's purty.

It must be something in the water in the Phillipines, because they are known for having above-average looking women -- the Venezuelans of Asia, if you will. In my grandmother's generation, before the shoe-scandals and sons called Bong-Bong, there was beauty pageant queen, Imelda Marcos; plus that Hola! magazine favourite, ex-Mrs. Julio Iglesias, Isabel Preysler.

And like a lot of the women portrayed here, President Arroyo comes from a powerfully political family. Her father was also a Filipino President, Diosdado Macapagal. Hmm, "God-Given"? Eh. A little megalomania never hurt anyone.

Below we have the Presidenta looking relaxed, greeting the military, in informal Gap attire. Can't beat those Phillipine sweatshops.

Condoleeza Rice, U.S. Secretary of State

Finally, we have my Top Heroine of Today, a lady I'm all over like Condi on Rice.

I LOVE her. She's just smashing. Imagine playing the piano, being able to tell Jacques Chirac to sod off in Russian, go shopping for Prada and know if you get a knockoff you can send in the Marines, and still have time for a little fantasy football at night. Wow. No wonder she's not married.

This is the Condi Rice we know and love (or know and loathe, depending which way you lean out of the Gulag), radiant in Versace black, next to Yo-Yo Ma.

But Dr. Rice, it is true, has had some fashion missteps, or should I say goosesteps.

Her recent inspection of US troops wearing Darth Vadery togs and hobnailed boots struck an otherwise discordant note, in who surely has been the most elegant dresser Washington has seen since Jackie Kennedy gossipped with Oleg Cassini on her chaise-longue.

You'll just have to wait for tomorrow's installment, and the day after that, to see them. Stay tuned!

Friday - THE BAD



  • Adrienne Clarkson had better be on the good list with the her spending habits. She is the highest spending GG in Canadian history to the point that even schoolkids know it.

    The GG is now trying to pull a Lord Stanley and have her name on a mug for the women's game. I'm not sure what the Lady Bing thinks of it.

    By Blogger Renato, at Thu Mar 24, 10:19:00 am GMT-5  

  • Wow, what a meddling old lady -- no offence, and I certainly wouldn't say that within earshot (what a silly boy).

    Still, GG Clarkson trying to sort out the NHL crisis? *LOL* Come on.

    As for Lady Bing, let's put it this way -- if the consort of a GG is good enough for a mug, then the GG herself should be, though you can tell Adrienne would get even more high-falutin' than she already appears to be.

    It's also interesting Adrienne Clarkson is the high-spending GG in Canadian history, since she has some high-powered predecesors, including members of the Royal Family.

    The Duke of Argyll was married to Princess Louise, Queen Victoria's 4th daughter.

    The Duke of Connaught was Queen Victoria's 3rd and favourite son. (His daughter, the affable Princess Patsy of Connaught, is of course immortalised in a Canadian regiment -- and in a totally happy coincidence, Princess Patsy's sister was Princess Margaret, who later married Queen Margrethe's grandfather, King Gustav VI of Sweden).

    And finally, the redoubtable Queen Mary's brother was GG of Canada too, Lord Athlone. He was married to one of Queen Victoria's granddaughter's, Princess Alice.

    What a tangled web of high-spending we weave, Adrienne.


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Mar 24, 04:10:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Now this is what I call heart full blogging. Nice post.

    But have you heard of an article titled "The Opt-Out Revolution" written by LISA BELKIN, on why many high-powered women are choosing to leave workplace for motherhood, and the discussion that followed the publication.

    What do you say; are the high powered women leaving power? I am very keen to know what you have to say on this.

    By Blogger S A J Shirazi, at Fri Mar 25, 12:20:00 am GMT-5  

  • Well, Shirazi, speaking as a very high-powered woman, I can say, sure they are!

    I mean, it's like Betty Friedan finally admitted the other day. When she wrote that ridiculously dated book, "The Feminine Mystique", she didn't realise how many women want a husband and child primarily, over a career necessarily.

    It's a tough subject for many women. To some, it's like if we admitted that the feminist revolution was for naught, and if we acknowledged women like families as much as a career for themselves, men will say, aha! And roll back the clock.

    (And understandably, I say this as a late-twentieth century woman, born well after the bra-burnings, feeling that's all a bit passé. For many women, they haven't become emancipated enough to scoff and snigger)

    Me. I'm concentrating on my career by studying for it first. But if that would mean I can say goodbye to the rat-race and concentrate on my family later, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

    Thanks for the reference, Shirazi. I will look that up!


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Mar 25, 03:33:00 am GMT-5  

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