Dear Goddess Greer

Dear Goddess Greer,

I am writing to discuss with you your recent column, published in the Good Weekend section of The Age. I am one of your many unworthy minions, out there every day supporting and defending feminism against the crazy imbeciles who have next to no idea about what feminism actually is. In short, I am unworthy – but please take pity upon me for a moment, because we need to talk.

Specifically, we need to talk about your opinions on this other strong, independent woman:

Good ol’ J- Gillard. J-to-the-nizzle. Joo-lee-ah. Jooooles. Aka, our current Prime Minister.  One who is, albeit, struggling in a wee bit the polls, but who nonetheless deserves a bit of respect for simply obtaining the Prime Ministership in the first damn place. *insert feminist cheer and high-five here*

Germaine. Ms. Greer. Your Professorship. I am not here to tell you what to do (mostly because I am afraid you will destroy me with a single, withering glance). Rather, I am here to express my disappointment about the aforementioned article you wrote last Saturday.

Shall we begin?

“Few issues can be less important than what the Prime Minister wears. As long as prime ministers are male that is. Nobody knows how many suits a male prime minister might have, and nobody cares. An appearance before the public in a brown suit might cause a frisson, and blue isn’t seen all that often, but as long as the general impression is subfusc, he will pass muster. The issue of collar and tie has been resolved in even the torridest parts of Australia in favour of that combination.”

I cannot agree more. And yet, how hideous is it that this is the case – that a woman is still judged more on what she wears, rather than what she does? Why don’t we all stop this hoo-hah right now?

“For women heads of government the issue of what they wear is crucial. No matter how heavy her workload the female prime minister must appear ”groomed”, that is, with not a hair out of place, uncreased and uncrumpled. She must smile…..A female politician is expected to look serene and unruffled; if she looks as if she has any appreciation of the momentousness of what she may be called upon to say or do, she will be described as looking grim or worried. Julia Gillard wears her face like a china mask; even when she is sneering bitterly at an opponent, her face is smooth, her expression of the blandest. Her smile may not be dazzling but it is ready.”

Again, I agree that what women wear is crucial – and yet, I try to place as little emphasis on it as possible. I instead try to focus on what they do. Given, if Julia turned up to work in a bikini and board shorts (or, Lord forbid, some budgie smugglers) I might have a little trouble focusing on what she’s saying – but all this crying and pearl clutching over her jackets? No.

I am also in agreeance that Julia “wears her face like a china mask” – in that yes, she does sometimes appear to be a bit impassive. She’s probably wondering about what she’s going to have for dinner. If I had Julie Bishop and Tony Abbott bleating at me from across the floor in the House of Reps, I too, might tire of this after a while. And if I were her, my solution would be to get a bit more angry occasionally. But then again, I am not a political advisor, and nor am I Julia (because if I was, I would have marched across the House of Representatives to stick a well placed heel up Abbott’s arse. But I digress.)

My point here is this: by simply adding to the continuing commentary and criticism of Julia Gillard’s appearance and expressions, you are not doing anyone an ounce of good. Attack her politics, by all means. Attack her carbon tax, or her stance on gay marriage, or any other form of policy that has seriously pissed you and got on your goat in the last few years. But please, please, PLEASE do not attack her appearance. Because by doing this, you just add to the overloaded pile of shitty, snarky comments about What Women Wear and Why They Are Wearing It Wrong. And no one needs to hear that.

“Julia Gillard isn’t a clothes horse. She’s a hard-working professional politician, but she isn’t allowed to look like one. Hence the dreaded jackets. Underneath are her workclothes, the same black pants and black top she once would have worn under her gown for court appearances. The jackets are intended to brighten up her image, each one fresh out of the box. Instead she looks as if she’s wearing clothes that don’t belong to her, like an organ-grinder’s monkey.”

I am a little confused about this paragraph. Are you critiquing the system in which Julia is not allowed to look like a politician? Are you simply saying that she should dress more like a hard-working politician?

If it is the first one, by all means – carry on. If it’s the second, well, I am still confused. Because surely we can tell that she is a hard-working politician without consulting her wardrobe?

“There must be decent dressmakers left somewhere in Australia but Julia’s wardrobe-meisters haven’t found them. A jacket that rides up and creases between the shoulder blades is worse than no jacket at all. If Labour is not to be annihilated in the next election, something has to give. The Prime Minister’s stage-managed image is less interesting and engaging than the real person we used to know. I think Australians are big enough to cope with the sight of their female Prime Minister in shirt-sleeves.”

Okay. I see. In this part, you are critiquing the stage-managed image of Julia Gillard here.

If you were one of my university students (please, dear God, make this happen. But give me sufficient time to gird my loins beforehand), this would be the point at which I add a little comment saying, “You need to make this part clearer. Move this point up a few lines, and emphasise that you are critiquing the stage management of Julia Gillard, not the woman herself. Otherwise, it appears that you simply have a deep-seated hatred for Julia’s jackets.”

Make it clear, Goddess Greer. Make it clear. Because otherwise, you appear to simply be joining the uninformed masses in criticising a woman’s image, and not her actions.

Look, Germaine: you stand for a lot. You are everything I want to be when I grow up. You deal out snarky, cranky opinions on every single topic that pisses you off. You attract equal amounts of love and hate wherever you go, and you made a dent the size of an asteroid in the field of feminism. And for that, I adore you.

But it makes me immensely sad to see one woman critiquing another’s appearance. I understand that it happens, and that everyone does it to some extent. But your voice is so wonderful for feminism, and so loud, and so well-known that I can do nothing but beg you to please use it more wisely. Can we please not turn this into a Fashion 101 session for women, and instead focus on Julia’s politics?

Yours in true servitude and awe,

xxxxx

Fashion trends of 2012 – a guide for the uninitiated

In order to thoroughly research current ‘fashion’ for this blog post, I stupidly typed into Google ‘Fashion trends for 2012′. And fuck me if approximately “262,000,000” results didn’t immediately pop up. It appears that everyone on the entire planet has decided to get together and write about what they’ll be wearing for the next year.

Just to be upfront, I have no fashion sense (I hesitate to even call it a ‘sense’, as sense implies either something as vital as taste, touch or sight, or something along the lines of ‘common’ sense. And ‘fashion sense’ is neither of these things, people). My greatest ‘fashion moment’ came when I was three, and my Nan made me an Easter bonnet for kindergarten:

Those were the days, my friends. Those were the days.

So it was with some trepidation that I took on the challenge of commenting on 2012’s “fashion trends”. But, nonetheless, here we are. Please keep a firm hold of your respective   newsboy hats (or whatever the hell the latest trend is in head-wear these days).

Fashion Trend# 1: Colour Blocking

I’m pretty sure ‘colour blocking’ is just a fancy way of saying, ‘wearing different chunks of colour at the same time’. According to Glamour.com, it means “Bold, solid-color pieces—like a cardi and skirt, wrap dress or demure one-piece suit—make simple dressing look glam. Our style tip: Stick to three colors max to avoid the girly, Rainbow Brite look.”

Right. So wearing different colours is now somehow revolutionary? In that case, I’m set. Bitches, I was colour blocking by the time I was ten. AND I managed to do it in some primary colours, whilst posing with my basketball!

And as for dodging the Rainbow Brite look? Try telling that to the rave boys and rave girls of our generation. I think they took Rainbow Brite as personal inspiration for their entire wardrobes:

Fashion Trend# 2: Peplum skirts, shirts and dress

I actually had to Google peplum to understand what the hell Glamour.com was on about (is  it French for plum? Is it a disease whereby one turns a plummy shade of purple?). Apparently, it is some sort of garment worn by the women of ancient Greece, that’s folder across the midriff and accentuates one’s hips.

And, again, according to Glamour, you can “flirt without saying a word in this season’s peplum skirts, dresses and tops, defined by a short flared ruffle that sits at the natural waist (that’s the tiny part!). High heels and your steadiest eyeliner flick will seal the deal on your spring glam plan.”

I thought ‘flirting without saying a word’ was more like this, to be honest:

Or even like this: (By the way, to get the best visual you need to double click on that image. Trust me, it’s worth it).

But then again, that’s just me. Fashionistas are clearly more modest. You know, how they ‘tell a story through their clothes’. If my clothes told a story, it would probably something akin to ‘Silence of the Lambs’. Lots of mixing whites with colours, and wearing them for days at a time. Did I also mention I wash my ‘delicates’ with everything else? I belong in laundry hell, readers.

Fashion Trend# 3: Anoraks

Here’s how fashion ignorant I am- I had no idea what the hell an anorak is. Once I had Googled said anorak, I discovered it was some form of rain coat. And it will apparently “fit in with spring’s sporty vibe and promise to make your rainy days look chic”.

(Image courtesy of here)

A fancy rain coat is supposed to make my rainy days look chic?  Clearly, these people have not spent a winter in Melbourne. If they had, they would realise that it is next to impossible for the average person to look ‘chic’. Especially impoverished students. Personally, I spend half of winter feeling like a half-drowned cat. I start hissing whenever water falls from the sky,  I will do anything to avoid walking through puddles (I once made an ex boyfriend piggy back me around one), and I cannot abide anyone attempting to get me outside into the wet weather. My personal hate (besides being woken up at 3:00am by random men walking into my room. Yes, this has happened) is having wet feet. I carry a spare of socks with me all winter. I’m not sure if Glamour.com would call this ‘winter chic’, or simply ‘psychotic’, but either way, I shall not be purchasing a anorak to test the theory.

I’m now off to work out my ‘spring glam plan’. This will possibly involve me lying around wearing bike shorts and an oversized Resident Evil shirt whilst eating leftover Christmas chocolate balls that were on special from Coles. Glamourous? No. Realistic? Most certainly.