Friday, 29 July 2011

In which women are pretty damned awesome

I find it reassuring that there are people in life who remind us of exactly what would be possible if we’d only put Twitter down for five minutes and apply a little more concentration.

In the time it takes to make a cup of tea (and just the one, as opposed to the five or six that I always seem to end up making when I head towards the office kitchen), it’s pretty easy to think of a few cracking women in particular, who have either left, or are busy making, their mark on the world.

In no particular order, there’s Christina Hendricks: she’s single-handedly reminded us that it’s not necessary to be tiny to be considered sexy. Much as I count myself as a hot-blooded heterosexual woman, Hendricks’ boobs, bum and irrepressible wiggle are more than enough to make me seriously ponder whether I don’t fancy Joan more than I do Don.

Gratuitous pic of my all-time top-one girl crush

Mrs T: whatever you think of her politics, you can’t deny she changed the face of politics in this country. Which, for the daughter of a greengrocer in 70s Britain, is no mean feat.

Caitlin Moran: I’m going to make a confession here – and one that will probably get me chucked off the internet. I don’t like her. I find her irritating, and try-too-hard, and actually not that gripping as a writer. But, a lot of people don’t think that way about her, and if she can do the seemingly impossible by making young women start to think about what it means to be feminist in 2011, then that’s A Good Thing.

Mrs O: an amazing woman who, by knuckling down and working hard, as well as being – I imagine – unutterably supportive of her husband, has found herself half of the hottest First Couple ever (you just know those two are at it like bunnies when he puts down the Nat Sec briefing for the night).

Rosalind Franklin: given she broke the ground for the discovery of DNA, the fact that she’s not mentioned in the same breath as Watson and Crick is preposterous, nay, criminal.

And there’s a whole host of others - the Queen (dignified, composed, still going – and looking like she does – at 85. Amazing); Emily Davison (the fact some women don’t vote in elections makes me truly angry); Dame Stephanie Shirley (look her up – the woman’s incredible); the Duchess of Devonshire; Bronwen Maddox; Christine Lagarde; Kate Adie…

But, as remarkable as those people are – and, don’t be mistaken, they really are – they’re not the first people that really spring to mind when I think of women I look up to. Because, godawful and trite as it sounds, the people I find most inspiring are the women who are part of my everyday life.

The Mother is incredible, and very possibly the nicest person on the planet. Nothing is ever too much trouble, no matter what it is, or whom it’s for. If we’re destined to turn into our mothers, that’s ok by me.

Best Mate starts her day at 5.30am to look after her horse before putting in lawyerly hours at work and then still managing to be thoroughly excellent company during after-work boozing sessions.

The Redhead is just a joy to be around, every time I see her. Warm and witty and brilliant, and can be relied upon come rain or more rain.

A spokesperson for one of my clients has an exhausting job which sees her fly all over the globe for whistle-stop visits, yet is thoroughly gracious when we badger her for PR purposes that aren’t really the most crucial part of her day. Oh, and she still manages to get to her children’s sports days.

PolitiGal is a serious politics type, whose new job (and its impressive title) strikes awe into me. If we don’t see her at the very front of a front bench sooner rather than later, I shall eat the elaborate large hair flower things I bought in lieu of a hat for this summer’s wedding.

There are the women who have helped husbands through cancer and then depression and are still improbably cheery about life; those who’ve turned hobbies into phenomenally successful careers; those who have jacked in jobs to travel the world; those with incredible jobs caring for people and saving lives that I can’t even countenance being able to do…

All of whom serve as people to look up to and attempt to emulate, which can only be a good thing if you’ve started your day by dropping your toothbrush in the loo and tripping over the cat.


Anonymous said...

May I suggest Nadia Rosenthal? She's not only a phenomenally successful scientist, discovering the first DNA enhancer that turns genes on and off, she's brilliant at art, writes papers that are engaging rather than dense and hideous. She also is very interested in fashion, buys shoes as art and can discuss the merits of Armani suit tailoring.
She's the absolute role model for being a hard scientist but still interested in subjects widely (and wrongly) regarded as 'fluffy'.

Blonde said...

Sylvia: Consider her added to the list. I shall look her up forthwith - she sounds awesome.

Aled said...

I'm trying to think of something intelligent to say. I am, by the way, completely in agreement about the list. But my mind is just about able to come up with 'Mmmmm, Christina......'.

Sorry about that. But if you will post pictures...

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Concur with Caitlin Moran, which means I'll probably also get lynched. Trying too hard seems to be the curse of the comedienne.

And as a side note, I genuinely believe me and the Queen would get on like a house on fire (or a castle! Arf arf, topical joke). She likes horses. I like horses. She likes dogs, I LIKE DOGS. She's well into politeness, I'm well into politeness. That woman would write an epic blog.

nuttycow said...

I too, am with you on Caitlin Moran. But then that's because I have a general issue with scary feminists.

Women I look up to? Any of the women who did spy work during the war (Violette Szabo is a fav: It makes me shudder to think of all they'd achieved by the age of 25 - all of which, thankfully, I couldn't hope of replicating.

A scary feminist said...

Nuttycow - I assume you're happy to have the right to own your own property; not be raped or beaten by your husband; get paid equally: all of this was the work of 'scary feminists'. Now grow the fuck up and count your blessings.

Anonymous said...

Dear A Scary Feminist,
Stop it. Stop making a woman feel bad for not' counting her blessings'. Scary feminists, as opposed to women who respect equal rights, are more prescriptive about what woman should or shouldn't do, wear, say etc. than the men that they complain about.
That is what is meant by scary.


Brennig said...

Some of my best friends are women. They are, without exception awesome. Some intimidate with their awesomeness, some remain approachable despite being ful of awes. I look forward to meeting more. I could not put my hand on my heart and say 'she is more awesome than her', because awesomeness is a cross-life thing and it appears in different sizes, in different categories, in different places, in different women at different times. That is all.

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