Thursday, January 15, 2009

Inspiring Women

There's a little jpeg flying around my bloggerhood - a picture of Marie Antoinette languidly reclining in fully resplendent couture, holding an open book. The very image of the well-turned out chic literary blogger. The Tabby has been humbled and a bit surprised to have been awarded the "Inspiration Award" that the Marie Antoinette logo represents, from women whose blogs the Tabby is not fit to wash the feet of.

Surprising because here on Schroedinger's Tabby we mostly just lounge around having a good time and half-reading books, sometimes just photographing a pile of the latest purchases rather than actually reviewing them, and that doesn't seem to be as useful a community resource as are the many excellent blogs that assiduously comment, faithfully document, and that are consistently enlightening and informative about matters literary and political as well as personal.

The Tabby's motto is "Eat. Play. Sleep." I do find that the blessed state of feline bliss is a goal worth striving for, but the secret of attaining it is in redefining all the necessary daily activities as "play". I haven't achieved that nirvana yet.

If there is one thing I'm proud of, it's probably the very attribute that gets me the most into trouble, and that's my tendency to take risks, to court failure, and to speak out when silence might be more comfortable for everyone.

I genuinely believe that if you don't take a risk you can never achieve great things. The fear of failure is also the fear of success.

So here I am speaking freely but hoping not to offend. I have my heroes who inspire me too, in history and in the blogosphere. But I have to be honest and say that Marie Antoinette is not one of them. (I know, I know, I'm a fusty old fuss pot!)

I have been reading up about Marie Antoinette just to make sure I wasn't labouring under archaic misperceptions about her. I do find that for many she has been 'rehabilitated'. Reclaim the night, and reclaim Marie Antoinette while you're at it.

Many of those who admire her do it because of her fashion sense, or her courage, or her reputed compassion, or because she was the dignified victim of so much slander and hostility.

She was a viciously maligned woman, who never did in fact say "Let them eat cake".

It seems she was badly done by, and most of what we know is lies, motivated by envy and sexual jealousy. Anyone who pokes their head above the parapet knows how it feels to be the target of character assassination. Nasty.

But on the other hand, if you're not part of the solution you are part of the problem, and she was right on the top of a stinking crap heap that was crying out for Revolution. Sorry, but I don't find the Barbie Queen of France inspiring, so I'd rather replace her with some other historical star who is less problematic for me.

Not that our heroes have to be without flaw or completely unambiguous. I admire Eva Peron very much, but apparently she doesn't stand up too well to close scrutiny. Too bad, she was human, and an early death often makes up for a multitude of sins.

The "Inspirational Blog" award is there so we can tell another female blogger that we are inspired by their blog, and as I think that it's always a good idea to affirm the people who inspire us, I too would like to give the award, but I'd like to replace the Marie Antoinette figurehead with some other historical characters I personally find more worthy (although not all of them live up to her sartorial elegance I'm afraid!).

So I'd like to give The Sound of Butterflies the Frida Kahlo award:

I'd like to give Overkill the Marie Curie award:
I'd like to give O Audacious Book the Emily Dickinson award:

I'd like to give Ice Lines the Margot Fonteyn award:

I'd like to give Art and My Life the Georgia O'Keefe award:

I'd like to give the women at the Hand Mirror the Rosa Luxemburg award:

Everybody else gets the Virginia Woolf award.


Vanda Symon said...

Ooh, a Marie Curie award - you know me too well.

I love that you are so beautifully outspoken in your blog PC, I could never be so brave. Good on you.

I love the Tabby's motto - Eat, play, sleep - if more humans took this to heart, the world would be a better place.

I shall embrace it and go eat breakfast.

PS I'll keep you posted on the ABBA night (-:

Mary McCallum said...

Lovely,thanks. Emily will do me fine. You're right, of course, PC, old MarieAntoinetee is not the most inspiring...

artandmylife said...

oooh thanks - I am honoured!! I am here in the South now too (Mosgiel) but not quite settled.

I quite liked the film of Marie Antoinette I must say