Saturday, May 28, 2011

What is it with the cult of the SWAGS?

SWAG seems to be a Daily Express coined term for Sophisticated Wives And Girlfriends - as opposed presumably to the common orange variety of WAG.

Michelle Obama?

We seem to be in the throes of a movement that is leading otherwise thoughtful and feminist women into lauding Michelle and others of her ilk as role models for girls.

Surely I can’t be the only mother of girls who thinks this trend is a claustrophobic, insidious revisionism of the aspirations we have had for our daughters and for all women in our society?

We see again this week nauseating news stories lauding “The First Lady” for speaking to girls about raising their aspirations. But the question is not being asked, aspire to what? Isn't this the grooming exemplified in the film GIGI all over again – but a century on?

But with a new twist.

Work hard at school, get into a good university and you too can what?

Get a good career and become successful in your own right?

Or qualify yourself for marriage to or concubinage with a man whose potential is greater than yours?

And then if you channel all of your energy into his career rather than yours you might hang on to his coat tails long enough for some deluded Headmistress to think that you might be a decent speaker at her inner city girls school to get her pupils to raise their game.

Surely the sights of girls should be diverted from WAG as a career not encouraged?

Catherine Middleton?

Bless her, same same. I’m fond of the family as our kids went to school together but we are talking same deal as Michelle but with less cred.

Carla Bruni?

Carla seems to acknowledge and embrace the role rather better, presumably because French mores allow the whiff of La Pompadour to surround her. And she understands that’s what she is.

Basically these women are not good (let alone appropriate) role models for girls.

Let’s call a spade a spade, they are consorts and concubines, living in a gilded cage and of no value other than as appendages to their men. WAGS in our parlance. They are high maintenance arm candy to people who (rightly or wrongly) hold power, influence and celebrity.

For a generation of women, like me, who hoped for more for our daughters this is a deeply retrograde step.

All the same, I have some hope from the words of humourists like the rather witty Hugo Rifkind in today’s Times in his My week: Michelle Obama:

““Did you meet Princess Kate Middleton?” asks Sasha. “Honey,” I say, firmly. “She was a lovely girl, but she should not be your role model. She’s only famous because of her husband.”

“Like you,” says Malia.

“Oh,” I say. “Wow.”

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Royal Wedding

Photoshopped or not - shamelessly stolen from internet - credit unknown.