Lisa sent this to me from her store, telling me it made her think of Bozo. Which is a reaction I completely understand, but don't share — this dress makes me think of a particular kind of woman who is all ruffles and sweetness on the outside, but inside is made of pure Kevlar, reinforced with carbon steel.
You know the type, I'm sure — they're a staple of soaps both day- and night-time — pretty, frail, completely ruthless. They (or their costume designers) like pastels, ruffles, bows, matching bags and shoes … and, occasionally, for a change of pace, red negligeés. The storylines write themselves.
Now, don't get me wrong; I'm not saying that you can't look pretty and have power. Quite the opposite. What I'm saying is that you shouldn't use looking pretty to pretend you DON'T have power … while wielding the equivalent of a ten-megaton bomb. If you can make or break multinational corporations and destabilize smaller republics while trying on marabou slides in the shoe lounge at Saks, fine. Just don't put on a "little ol' me? I don't have two brain cells to rub together!" act while doing it.
I see less and less of the "little ol' me?" act these days, and that's encouraging. Because it's only by acknowledging that, yes, in fact, you DO have power, that you can accomplish things directly, that you can say "Do this because I said so," that the game will change so that direct power, wielded by women, becomes an everyday occurrence. When people ask "How did she make that happen?" and are interested in the actual work, and not any purported relationships of the woman in question, the world will be safe for ruffles as ruffles, and not as camouflage netting over machine-gun emplacements.
And, as someone who likes both ruffles *and* running the show, and makes no secret of either, I'm hoping that day comes sooner, rather than later.