I don’t know about anyone else, but I find myself reading articles in the papers nearly every day that make me sad, angry, ashamed of my own kind, but more than that, ashamed to be a middle aged woman as the ‘ladies’ who write or are featured in them, do not do themselves, or the rest of us, any favours.
More often than not, the target of their distain is someone in the public eye, who for some reason, cannot, or is not willing or able to speak up and defend themselves.
Case in point, today I want to talk about the Middleton sisters.
First Kate, who tends to get the lions share of this kind of vitriol from some pretty mean old cougars.
A whole plethora of people in the public eye have criticised her style, lifestyle, make up, thinness and, even for not recycling her clothes often enough, this particular allegation coming from Vivienne Westwood. So presumably she won’t mind too much when Kate doesn’t buy any of hers? And at least the Duchess no doubt remembers to put some knickers on when she goes to the palace, which is more than we can say for Viv, who’s nunny is never out of the papers of late…
Conversely, the less than regal Ms Kelly Osbourne very kindly indirectly informed the Duchess of Cambridge that whilst it might be politically correct in the UK to wear the same thing more than once, doing so in her country is considered a ‘faux pas’. I doubt that Kelly even knows the direct translation of ‘faux pas’ i.e. what it means, but it’s awfully nice of her to let Kate know what the done thing is in the USA, so that she can perhaps let her advisors have the afternoon off or something.
Whilst I quite like Viv and Ms O, neither of them live in what any of us mere mortals would call the real world, and they seem to forget that Kate is pretty new to this job, was herself a commoner not that long ago, and probably wore the same frocks once a month like the rest of us, and as these conflicting views indicate, you just can’t please everyone or indeed anyone all of the time.
Then, the author Hilary Mantel in a lecture at the British museum dubbed Kate ‘a plastic princess’, ‘a jointed doll on which rags are hung’, ‘bland’ and ‘born to breed’, just, coincidentally, around the time that she needed some cheap publicity for her Costa book award, niftily ensuring that the sales of her novels would soar, clearly reinforcing the theory that there really is no such thing as bad publicity, as thanks to her patronising, bitchy tirade, people in this country actually know who she is now. Not exactly a badge of honour though, is it?
Then, hot on the heels of this onslaught came broadcaster and TV’s Mrs Potato Head, Sandi Toksvig’s declaration that the Duchess ‘does not hold a single opinion’ and that she is ‘not enough for me’. Cue KM breathing a massive sigh of relief no doubt….
Ms Toksvig then compares Kate with Cheryl Cole who she likes and admires, remarking that Chezza, unlike a lot of famous women ‘says what she thinks’ and rather more sinisterly admits that she ‘does fancy her quite a bit’. Run, Cheryl, run!
These two seemingly intelligent older ladies are essentially shooting fish in a proverbial barrel, knowing full well that the Duchess’ job is quite a unique one, and that anyone joining the royal family is going to be somewhat limited with regard to what she can say or do in public.
So, unlike Cheryl Cole, Sandi, Kate cannot get into a cat fight/race row with a female toilet attendant, call Lily Allen ‘a chick with a dick’ on Twitter, or take Simon Cowell down a peg or two on TV.
See the difference, you pompous old battle-axe? X Factor judge/singer v wife to the future King of this country?
I think that we also forget that Diana didn’t have that much to say with regard to opinions until she split from Charles, and was only really able to speak freely after this.
Another British journalist who seems to delight in putting down her fellow females is the infamous Liz Jones.
I try very hard not to be a hater, but Ms Jones pulls my chain more than practically anyone else on this planet. Ex diarist and editor of Marie Claire, Daily Mail columnist Jones quite frankly makes me looks sane. She is in turn arrogant and self pitying, attacking men who are disrespectful to women, then attacking any woman that shows up on her radar, pleading poverty and practically begging for donations then sneering at those who can’t afford her designer lifestyle, decrying men then boasting about her anonymous ‘rock star’ boyfriend, and she still bangs on about her ex husband (who she split from about seven years ago) in practically everything she writes, even though she stopped writing her diary of their life years ago. Get over it biatch!
Liz also has rampant mid life crisis disorder and has over the past couple of years (after bitching about practically every woman over 35’s physical deterioration as if it were a criminal offence) had a face lift, has had various facial injectables and, to my infinite chagrin, a horse tattoo on her arm to make her look younger and more rock ‘n’ roll.
Just after I had mine.
If it wasn’t so painful I swear I’d get mine removed. 😦
She also has the uncanny knack of turning any article about any subject (Cameron, Obama, Mandela, the Moors Murderers, nuclear physics, bread making) into one about her good self complete with shots of her grinning, newly stretched, shiny moon face beaming up from the pages.
Liz did find recently herself somewhat out of her depth when she had a pop at feisty young Rihanna, dubbing her ‘Pops Poisonous Princess’ in the Daily Mail, berating her for being a bad influence on young girls, and shockingly claiming that her fashion sense ‘incites rape’, as Ri Ri promptly bitch slapped her within an inch of her life, and Instagrammed her using a very unflattering photo where her fans also gave Liz a roasting. She then took Jones’ criticisms apart, claiming that she never aspired to be a role model, said that Jones is a ‘sad, sloppy, menopausal mess’, that she Rihanna was happy to be who she was, and essentially told her to back off.
Today, Liz has clearly finished licking her wounds and recovered from that fight, and she is now having a go at Pippa Middleton, stating that she has terrible dress sense, proclaiming mockingly that she must ‘dress in the dark’ and has the sheer bloody audacity to criticise the lovely 29 year olds body, sneering at her ‘knobbly knees’ and ‘spaniels ears breasts’.
Whilst Pippa’s taste in clothes is clearly a matter of opinion, Jones’ relentless misogyny and attack dog behaviour, particularly towards young, pretty women makes me fume. I know reaction and attention is cat nip to someone like her, but I have in the past responded to her columns online, and vented big time. Shameful I know 😦
I also need to emphasise that I’m not a die hard royalist here, although I don’t mind most of them, and love young Harry.
I just don’t like bullies.
The thing is, (and I hate to admit this) she and I are near enough the same age, so I get how she feels deep down under that ‘look at how young I look’ airbrushed veneer. I haven’t always felt loved or accepted, I didn’t manage to find the right man to have children with…
(Oh, sorry, she hates kids, she much prefers animals. She’s a vegan, you know? Albeit a leather wearing one…)
…and I sometimes get a bit wistful when I see a young, beautiful girl out strutting her stuff, wishing I could go back in time and reclaim my much-derided-but-was-pretty-damn-hot-actually twenty year old body and live my life again without fear and taking more risks, but I’ve never ever felt or shown the kind of jealousy and hatred that Jones clearly feels towards the next generation. And I can safely say that I’ve never had a go at anyone who hasn’t attacked me first, especially if they weren’t able to defend themselves.
The fact is lovely-ladies-of-a-certain-age, we had our turn, we did what we did with it, and now it’s their turn, so move on with love and acceptance to the next part of your life, and don’t look back. I struggle with being older too, but there’s no point in being bitter and twisted about it.
And those vitriolic old bags who feel the need to attack or pick on young women, either in real life or in print, I suggest you take yourself off to somewhere nice and peaceful, do a little self searching and see if you can figure out what’s behind that impulse, as understanding yourself might just be the key to coping with the ageing process without hurting others.
As for you young ‘uns? Enjoy your youth, my beauties, no matter what your shape, size or style, live, laugh and love bravely without regrets because time is so very short and precious; far too precious to be obsessing about your appearance or anyone elses’ for that matter.
And to Jones, Mantel, Westwood, Toksvig et all, I say, bitches, pick on someone your own size, or failing that, take a good long hard look in the mirror and apply some of that lofty, arrogant, coruscating criticism to your good selves.
And let’s just hope it doesn’t crack before you finish.