Showing posts with label women. Show all posts
Showing posts with label women. Show all posts

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Images of women

Tomorrow is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, referred to as White Ribbon Day in some English-speaking countries.


The Nouvel Observateur weekly in France has been carrying out a big operation aimed at highlighting the evil of rape, still rampant in French society. A manifesto entitled I declare that I've been raped has been signed by 343 women.


Certain males (all too many) continue to act like prehistoric cavemen when aroused sexually by the vision of enticing females. The phenomenon of rape persists because the caveman simply clobbers his desired female object on the head (in a psychological sense) with his massive prick. He doesn't bother to examine the reality of the authentic human individual behind the seductive image screen.

Often, I've been fascinated by the huge discrepancy that can exist between our primary impression of such-and-such a woman and her real identity. Once upon a time, I liked to imagine that, behind the image of every mundane wife of a village baker, there's an angel.


In our perception of the image of a woman, an underlying problem is the existence and persistence of stereotypes. We are tempted constantly to judge the book by its cover, and to place it immediately in a convenient librarian's category. I'm aware, alas, that I myself tend to do this constantly...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Heroines

I've just been looking back over recent articles on famous females:

Christine Lagarde
Powerful French woman [display]

Hillary Clinton
US presidential campaign [display]

Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet
Same name as Australian mountain [display]

Anne Lauvergeon
Nice TV spot [display]

Ségolène Royal
Simple direct talk [display]

Jelena Jankovic
Tennistic Amazons [display]

Laure Manaudou
Beauty and the beast [display]

Tzipi Livni
Time for Tzipi? [display]

A psychoanalyst, observing the way in which I've selected and talked about these women, might be tempted to come up with interesting ideas (?) concerning my general attitude towards the female sex. It's a fact that the eight above-mentioned women appear to share common attributes. They're all powerful individuals in their chosen domain. Nothing to do with the wishy-washy notion of females as passive creatures prepared to be dominated by males. Maybe our psychoanalyst might believe in the paraphrase of a familiar dictum: Show me the women who fascinate you, and I'll tell you who you are.

Be that as it may, I must point out that, with one exception, these are not in fact the kind of ladies whom I would be tempted to invite along to Gamone for an extended weekend. [I can hear Bill Clinton heaving a sigh of relief... not to mention Hillary herself.] The fact is that I've always admired women who are capable of acting like men, but this admiration doesn't mean that such females attract me in a more global sense. I remember precisely the moment in my existence when this admiration first manifested itself. I had just married Christine, in 1965, and I was working as a technical translator with a big company named CSF, located near the Place de la Porte de Saint-Cloud in the chic quarters of Paris. There, my boss was an elegant lady with a training in technology. I had never before encountered such a phenomenon. Normally, in places where I had worked previously (mainly at IBM, in Sydney, Paris and London), creatures of that soft and superficially fragile kind were employed as secretaries, prepared at all times to obey their male superiors. But here was a lovely lady with a mind of her own. Besides, she was theoretically my boss... except that she didn't know enough English to intervene in any way in my work.

My work? Among other things, I used to write the English-language speeches of the CEO [chief executive officer] of that multinational company. In doing so, I had my first experience of getting paid to be a lapdog... not with respect to the lovely lady, unfortunately, but for the CEO. I would slip tiny excuses into his speeches, such as: "Excuse me for speaking English in such an atrocious fashion. Please understand that my management activities leave me with little time to improve my knowledge of Shakespeare's language." The guy got a great ego-thrill out of reciting such words, in perfect English, at the start of his speech. So, I was already a kind of gigolo. For the wrong boss.