Anyhow, the piece which left me scratching my head can be found here. When I first glanced at it, I thought it was an interview with Gillian Anderson - something about the styling in the pictures. It isn't. It's an interview with journalist Kirsty Wark in which Jess Cartner-Morley and she collude that feminists can care about fashion. And that is, actually, okay.
|Kirsty Wark. Pic credit: Frank Wales|
I already know that. I do. I'd spend vast sums on Isabel Marant if I didn't have to buy food. There was a time I'd have pawned a kidney for a Vivienne Westwood skirt. And, as Wark points out, Simone De Beauvoir looked amazing. And the one thing that really bugged me about The Hours was that the costume department made Virginia Woolf look dowdy. I think that highly unlikely.
So why did the interview confuse me?
Because I don't think of fashion when I think of Kirsty Wark. No, it's not that. It's that I don't want to think of fashion when I think of Wark. It's not that I don't think she's fashionable, I just think it's not her area of expertise. She's not a designer, a model, or someone in the industry. And whilst I fully accept that she makes choices over what to wear - often stylish and sassy ones - if I'm going to read an inteview with her, I'd like to find out a zillion other things, things she has real insight into: what it's like for a woman her age working at the BBC post Moira Stewart? What does she think about various politicians? What's her take on confrontational inteviewing versus more discreet questioning? Where does she see the BBC going if Scotland gets independence? She interests me. She's intelligent, successful and has made it in a male-dominated field.
As it is, I got that she likes Prada.
I'm not belittling the point that clothing choices matter. I think they do. Some of the most fruity conversations I've had have been with directors mulling over what to wear so they can project authority in the rehearsal room. But the immediate association of a woman in the public eye and fashion is rather annoying and this article fed that beast. I don't see Jeremy Vine or Paxo being given a multi-page spread over their wardrobe choices. The whole thing made me think about Hillary Clinton's recent rebuff regarding her favourite designers - 'Would you ever ask a man that question?'
I like Wark, I really like Jess Cartner-Morley. But now when I see Wark, I'll think about how much effort she put into choosing her jacket, rather than what she's actually saying. And that's not helpful to feminism, it's distracting.
And really bloody annoying.