Monday, January 25, 2010

Five living heroines

Step aside Lady Sovereign. For all your calculated in-yer-face hand gestures, you couldn't hold a candle to these ladies even if you tried.

We always hear about and criticise the Jordans and the Paris Hiltons of this world and the role they play in society. So here is to some of my favourite female talents:

5- Clare Short
Yes, she didn't resign before the vote on Iraq and she'll always bear that cross, but this blog's own MP is in a different league from New Labour automata a-la Hazel Blears or Geoff Hoon. Independent, blunt and outspoken on anything from foreign policy and the environment to page 3 and the electoral system, Ladywood will dearly miss her when she stands down from Parliament.

4- Isabelle Huppert
My all-time favourite actress. Extraordinary in her portrayal of the most fucked up, maladjusted characters, this French legend has managed alone to turn good films into masterpieces: from La Cérémonie to Madame Bovary or Michael Haneke's Piano Teacher. Stunning.

3- Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
I was a touch disappointed when I found out that the former Orwell Prize-winner and current Independent columnist is also an occasional Daily Mail writer. But I still respect her immensely for having the guts to go against the grain - whether it's speaking out for oppressed Muslim women or for the rights of ethnic minorities in Britain to live free of prejudice.

2- Bonnie Greer
The daughter of a Mississippi sharecropper, she became one of the most distingushed playwright of her generation. I admire her for her plain speaking and choice of subject matters and her unique knack for digging up stories and angles that were forgotten for decades.

1- Chrissie Hynde
Such was her love of music and her determination to start a band that, aged 22, she moved to London all the way from Ohio, beginning a quest to find like-minded musicians that would not be out of place in a film script. And then she formed The Pretenders, one of the most formidable bands to stem from the so-called 'new wave' scene.
But what makes Chrissie Hynde a rare breed is her tireless work as an animal rights activist. She was arrested several times while carrying out acts of civil disobedience in defence of the defenceless, displaying a pair of jaffas most men could only dream of.


Anita said...

I understand you only have limited space and you could only mentioned FIVE females. But there are so many that you left out!!! Like Western Sahara activist Aminatou Haidar or Nemo Hlaing from Burma, fighting for her people's freedom.

Either way, I applaude your angle. These days we only seem to sneer (and with good reason...!) at or perv on all the pre-packed lovelies and we seem to have forgotten about the grey stuff.

Madam Miaow said...

Bonnie Greer is also very warm and witty.

Also Aung San Suu Kyi. Imagine having your sentence extended because some halfwit American swims across to where you are incarcerated. Such a tourist thing to do!

BTW, you might want to link to Monbiot's new website. More about it here:

asquith said...

Malalai Joya as well.