Last update: 13-Dec-2013 3:20 am
Friday, December 13, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
You are here
Leave Reema (her clothes and shoes) alone!
Unkind, unkind. Those comments on Her Excellency’s wardrobe choices for the Independence Day ceremony and awards function were just merciless.
“Like she hurriedly wrapped herself in a flag,’’ one anonymous observer remarked. (Hey, if you’re going to be forthright, disclose your bonafides.)
“The white shoes were also strange’’ came another sniper.
My friend Jay, a gentle soul, suggested, “An intervention is needed.’’
Before we get all overwrought, when all that might be needed is a nice cup of tea and nibble of chocolate, consider the inequality of treatment here.
Did anyone utter a syllable on what Dr Jean Ramjohn Richards wore to any event? Was Mrs Zalayhar Hassanali ever assessed on her ensembles?
Is Mrs Reema Carmona to be held to a different standard because she is young and cute and has all that décolletage?
Oh, how well I know the burden of being beautiful.
Short of wearing a veil, I have had to turn down my own dimmer switch a notch or two just so I could get through the day and concentrate on necessary tasks without being bombarded by compliments, unsolicited advice and hate mail.
So I am not fretting over Mrs Carmona, whom I am sure is a nice woman, with better things to do than weep over what the newspapers say about her white shoes and unco-operative chignon.
It’s like Barbara Bush said when she was America’s First Lady and observers were carping about her white hair and grandmotherly appearance, compared to her husband’s more contemporary look.
“Don’t ask me about my clothes,’’ she said, charmingly. “Ask me about my beautiful mind.’’
Life just is not fair to women in the public eye.
Nobody said anything about Laura Bush’s schoolmarm choices (except me right now) but the whole world had an opinion on Hillary Clinton’s headband.
Anna Wintour, the sharp-tongued editor of US Vogue, once berated Hillary for declining to appear in the magazine in 2008 because she feared appearing too feminine. “This is America,’’ Wintour snapped. “Not Saudi Arabia.’’
Ouch. Few women manage to capture the public imagination the way Michelle Obama has, for her brains as well as her overall image.
Fashion arbiter Andre Leon Talley says he can’t remember what Michelle wore when he first met her but what sticks in his mind is how well informed she was on so many topics.
Michelle has become such an international fashion icon that Iranian news agency photoshopped a higher neckline and sleeves on the evening gown she wore to the Oscars this year, lest Iranian women get the idea that they, too, are independent creatures.
The rule seems to be that the better looking you are, the more is expected of your stylist. Modern women in public life have to be brilliant—from their brain cells right down to their designer shoes. Men just have to show up, preferably on time, and with their zippers up.
So I am not ready yet to chop up Mrs Carmona and feed her to Joan Rivers and the Fashion Police.
You think designers are flinging their garments at her for free to get the recognition? You think she has time, in between children’s homework, charitable projects and the gym, to worry about how we feel about her disobedient locks?
On the other hand, a woman with such status can do powerful things with the right image, and not just for the fashion industry.
Image is about psychology and a strong, optimistic outlook, which comes from more than what we put on our backs, can only help this beloved republic.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.