Thursday, 9 February 2012

Yvette for Statsminister

After feasting my eyes and mind on BBC Four's Borgen these past weeks, I have been thinking long and hard about my lady-heroes. Who are they? Who exactly do I look up to in awe and wonder? Who do I admire? Who, if I was a teenage schoolgirl, would I like to be?
Obviously, if she was real, I would be putting up posters of the fictional Danish Statsminister Birgitte Nyborg all over my bedroom wall. The way she gave Troels the boot and forced Bent to resign whilst perched on the edge of a fountain just rocked.
Unfortunately, she's actually a rather attractive actress and not someone I would hold up as a fine example of feminist triumph. A lovely actress though she is.

(browses the internet briefly...)

Bugger, I've just realised Borgen is actually completely true to life. The real Danish Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, is also a rather attractive actress.
                    


Oh well, good luck to her. Absolutely nothing wrong with being a political success and a Viking goddess. Maybe everyone in Denmark is lovely.
Anyhow, back to my topic. Who are my lady-heroes?
My first thoughts turn to the prominent "media/comedy lesbians". The fabulous Sue Perkins, the wonderous Sandi Toksvig etc, have all achieved great things in the face of the patriarchy. Sue brings her sharp wit and student ents officer dress code to prime time TV. Sandi holds her own in the comedy sphere despite the vertical challenge. She even wrote an important play.
Clare Balding too, while not fitting the mould of telly totty, brings her own brand of calm old-skool BBC presenting to a modern audience. She has a reassuring air, whether she's presenting Crufts, cycling around the country, or bigging up Olympic athletes. With Clare, you know things are going to be all right.
She fights for the top prize for best tall posh woman in showbiz from the majestic Miranda Hart.
But who else, who else? Well, there are those  who have been mocked for their outspoken character and unwillingness to conform to the norm. Street-Porter, Widdecombe, fine examples of women who just don't give a flying spider crab.
Vanessa Feltz - my talk-radio hero - has been royally dragged through the gutter for being a bit fat. Then a bit thin. There are Facebook sites allowing people to express their "hate" of her. But her BBC Radio London phone-in show is a triumph. I simply don't understand the haters and all the antagonism makes me love her all the more.
But surely I have more lady-heroes than comedians and under-dogs? What about the world of politics?
While I admire Clinton, Merkel's ability to "deal" with that stunted self-seeking prune Sarkozy takes my breath away.
Back in the UK, I am in awe of any woman brave enough to enter that braying hive of masculine childishness - the House of Commons. But a special mention must go to Yvette Cooper.
Oh wonderful Yvette. Men love you. Women love you. You have to deal with three quite young children and a frightening husband and you still stand head and shoulders above the rest of the shadow cabinet.
You even went to a state comprehensive. I know it is pandering to the patriarchy mentioning her appearance, but I love her sensible, undistracting wardrobe and speaking style.
While transport secretary Justine Greening looks and sounds like a local government bureaucrat and Theresa May clatters around like a nervous puppet, Yvette looks like a devilishly competent headteacher.
Last month, I read about Yvette's alleged "plotting" for the Labour leadership with husband Ed Balls. Newspapers alleged they used lasagne to woo supporters, awaiting to unseat the troubled Ed Miliband.
The question is, though, could Ballsy ever step aside for his wife? Is she really the one wearing the trousers, as it were? Would he settle for being "husband" to the Statsminister? Really? Ed Balls? We shall see. But in the meantime, I'm enjoying watching her rise and rise. And I hope she's been watching Borgen.

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