Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bardot a feminist icon?

Agnès Poirier has been lavishing Brigitte Bardot with praise in the pages of the Guardian, which is billed on the front page as "And God created Bardot; The unlikely feminist". Unlikely? Bloody impossible more like!

There was a lot of it to wade through but evidence for this bizarre assertion did not rely on anything she'd ever said or spoken out on but the fact that there was a movement against racy films and she was quite good in them. Therefore she (not the films) was a danger to the entire bourgeois establishment. Really.

For example, at one point we are told she surpassed her contemporaries because "The beautiful thing about her is that, although she had marvellous breasts, she wouldn't flaunt them like Sophia Loren or Gina Lollobrigida did with plunging décolletages". To the right we have a picture of Bardot not in anyway flaunting her breasts.

Incidentally, when going looking for a picture of her in a tight top I did happen to notice that she did not exactly shun "plunging décolletages" so I'd take that with a pinch of salt as well (you can try your own google search if you like, although why you'd want to heaven knows).

The most outrageous element of the piece though is just that Bardot is held up to be some sort of feminist. AC Grayling that well known feminist philosopher (ummm)says "I think Bardot represents one trend of feminism," Oh, do tell us which trend AC! "She represents the power of women. What's iconic about her is her shape, the way she occupies space." What? She's a feminist because she's got T and A? This would be new feminism would it?

Actually the game is given away when she is praised as "a thing of mobile contours". I mean that was what feminism has always been about hasn't it? The struggle to be seen as a thing with curves. Until men see women as simple objects of sexuality feminism's objects just will not have been achieved, will they?

Look, obviously, I don't object to G2 having lightweight, readable articles on subjects that don't actually matter, like Bardot, but I do not accept that those articles have to be such outrageous bollocks.

In order to paint Bardot as this laudable and progressive figure the author has had to paint over some bloody enormous cracks. For instance we're told that she did "make some ill-advised comments about immigration" which is certainly one way to describe the fact that she has five convictions for inciting racial hatred.

I think five convictions stretching over a number of years is an ideological commitment not a thoughtless, offhand comment frankly. We're told from the start that it would be ludicrous to even suggest she has ever been a sympathiser of the far right Front Nationale (FN), which must have made being married to one of their leading figures and attending their functions a touch awkward (right, pictured serenading fascist in chief Jean Marie Le Pen).

Did her husband have to lean over to her and say "Now don't cause a scene dear, just stick to uncontroversial subjects like your love of race hate. For god's sake don't start on your differences on potato quotas."

Actually she could have also chatted away about gay people because in her book A cry in the silence she bemoaned how modern gay people would "jiggle their bottoms, put their little fingers in the air and with their little castrato voices moan about what those ghastly heteros put them through". Yes, if she just stuck to those subjects she'd be able to get through a fund raising dinner without getting into a row with all those terrible FN people she disagreed with so much.

Come on, does the word feminism mean so little now that a racist who used to wear tight tops in films gets to be lauded as a ground breaking icon of liberation? Has something been lost in translation here? I understand feminism is a broad church and I've no time for gate keepers but Bardot? A feminist? No.


Anonymous said...

Gawd blimey! I have heard it all now...Bardot a feminist. She is a vile racist who can feck off! Sorry to be blunt but that's how it is....

Benjamin Solah said...

The main problem I have with the whole scope of the debate is that it's all around how Bardot looks, not what she says.

Society always judges women by how they look.

A feminist could dress "raunchy" or "prudish" but it wouldn't matter as long as she said the right things.

I don't think how she dresses if evidence of how she's not a feminist as much as it's not evidence of how she is.

Jim Jay said...

That's precisely my argument - that the article deliberately skims over her actual beliefs in order to say that her looks inherently meant something profound about who she was.

It's the exact opposite of what feminism's about.

Strategist said...

Post and all comments above: agreed.

But what a smashing pair.