Saturday, August 17, 2013

French Femme Mystique Debunked!


This week I picked up a copy of Madame Figaro and had my socks knocked off...way off. A major debunk of the Americam obsession with the French woman as the be-all and end-all of chicness, elegance, and ye old JE NE SAIT QUOI. You know what I'm talking about. At last PBers.
A PB drawing just so you don't yell at me for not including some art...
So not ALL French women are Ines de la Fressange or CharlotteGainsbourg!? Who knew? 
Grand Merci to writer Peggy Frey.
Not all French women are Fab cooks. 
Many of them are at Picard to pick up dinner for their microwaves
 (and meet the cute single guys doing the same).
Not if you read any of their magazines?
They are just as confused and tortured by romantic relationships as the rest of us. They are human after all!
The weight thing is completely debunked and nothing to do with eating cabbage soup the live-long day, which by the way I've yet to see on any menu or the ready-to-eat prepped food area at Monop. They smoke. A lot. That's minus 7 pounds for you.
Many American authors are mentioned in the article who have spread the myth of the perfect French woman including Pamela Druckerman for suggesting French kiddies are little angels and not vrai monstres. In my opinion they come pretty close but that's just my observations and what do I know?
Here's the irony. The French are quite obsessed with American style. In the same issue of MF the 'Palm Beach' look is given 4 pages.
Jennifer Garner gets a big write up. Last week's Elle had Jennifer Annison as the first story?! They are completement fou with her.
Last page of MF features US TV star of 'Bones'. Go figure?
The obsession with American fast food drives me completement fou/crazy. Did I mention wearing Franklin and Marshall T-shirts are IN and the The Preppy look is hot for ados (adolescents)
So I guess it's a fair exchange of idiocies non?
What do you think PBers?

34 comments:

  1. Reading magazines is a fun glimpse into a culture- but I think Hollywood is inescapable most places in the world these days.

    ReplyDelete
  2. From my very first visit to France -St Tropez 1967!-
    I have been overwhelmed by my inferiority to French women
    my total un-chic-ness and utter sartorial ineptitude.
    However, I admire them totally.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. St Tropez is not a good place to go to EVER unless yr a starlet or 21, even then...

      Delete
  3. Anyone can have great style..no matter were you live..
    I find accents.. give a charm..If you put 2 French women side by side ..one with a lovely parisian accent..the other not..silly me I find the accented one more attractive..
    the same goes for a man with a British accent..(Michael Kitchen ..say..) same man..no accent..I find the accented one more..
    And in life..these days as I approach 60..I pretty much find everyone attractive:)
    Love the style of Ines.. I had never even eard of her before you.

    Less is more.. for sure..but I still like lots of necklaces together..or bracelets.
    Flowers..just more...never less.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michael Kitchen? J'adore Michael Kitchen. Roger Moore, aussi. French men, non! Jamais! I don't know any chic French women over the age of 30---although our landlady at 80+ had a certain "je ne sais quoi."

      Delete
  4. Haaa--grass is always greener, eh? Makes sense--I remember when I was in Paris, seeing a few really stand-out elegant French women, but most were "meh." The stand-outs stay in my memory, though, and I guess hence the mystique. doesn't surprise me they watch what we do since we do that with them.

    ReplyDelete
  5. oh, and yes--I do remember they all smoked! I'm sorry to hear you report that's still true.

    ReplyDelete
  6. cyndi from SD11:54 AM

    I love the article.So, those women ARE human.But,when in Paris one of my favorite pastimes is still to sit in a café and watch them strolling,biking,and scootering by.
    People watching is just not the same in the US.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've been around Frenchies my whole life, there & here. I'd say that of course it's overdone, yes. BUT there is something they have/do that is different & quite appealing. Not all, not all the time but it is there. If there weren't something to it, it wouldn't have become a *thing*...I tire of the over-adoration, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DITTO!
      So far there are no books out there like,
      What Every French Man Knows etc.
      How come men get off so easy and are not pushed to feel deep disatisfaction with themselves the way women are?
      It's a conspiracy IMHO.

      Delete
    2. Absolutely. It's that way in every culture (that I know of anyway)...It's another way to make women feel inadequate. Blergh.

      Delete
  8. Lucy O.1:50 PM

    Oh, Guilia, how I tire of the over-adoration, too! I call it gushing; so do my French friends. So silly. And now we await what's her name's new book (the one who told us French women don't get fat)- "French Women Don't Get Facelifts." Oy.... She needs to meet a few French women I know (and love). J'adore France always though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true Lucy O
      Too much sun and too many ciggies does not do wonders for the skin.

      Delete
    2. Lucy & Carol...yes! (And while my French friends are unusual in that they don't smoke or sunbathe....that is unusual & I was surprised. The Frenchies I knew when I was little & in my mid20s/30s ALL smoked & sunbathed. Love them dearly but their skin looks like old luggage now. :(

      Delete
    3. Vuitton luggage if you please dahlink

      Delete
  9. I think it's the French language that makes them seem so sexy. How can anyone resist that accent?

    ReplyDelete
  10. My daughter, who has lived in France would agree with you. She has told me that the French love to criticize everything American and yet are obsessed with us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They seem obsessed with our style of all things. Though I can't figure out what the enormous attraction to Jennifer Annison is? I must be missing something..

      Delete
  11. This is your opportunity! Start selling translated French magazines to Americans and translated American magazines to the French! Remember me when you are rich and famous. But you're already famous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The French already have an enormous number of magazines and they are not going down the drain any time soon like in the US. They even have big and little sizes of the same magazine like Elle or Grazia.
      I haven't figured that one out yet.

      Delete
  12. I think we are more alike than people like to admit. The fantasy is more fun, I guess.

    ReplyDelete
  13. A fair amount is true (smoking) but no entirely. You don't see a French woman wearing flannel pj bottoms and flip flops in the grocery store (or in Picard's for that matter). You won't see a table not set beautifully in a French women's house no matter what she is serving. You won't get a bouquet of flowers, a plant or even a key chain not wrapped up when you buy them (c'est pour offrir? ). La presentation counts whether in a store, in a purchase on or a person. They are simply not "negligée" in putting themselves together.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No one is questioning those excellent qualities of French women Jacqui.
      This is about the slightly insane adoration and wannabeness that is sold to US women.
      We can never be good enough unless we become more French or more something else after this wears out, breeding a constant dissatisfaction with ourselves.
      Plus most of it is complete BS IMHO.

      Delete
  14. Anonymous2:50 AM

    Finally, you get around to mentioning the smoking here. It does take pounds off but it also kills. The real problem is that while one is free to kill oneself, killing other people with second hand smoke is simply unacceptable in any civilized society. I won't even go so far as to say that this is a civilized society since there is so much second hand smoke and so much denial of the horrific effects of disseminating toxins into the air.
    Tutoring07

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous2:52 AM

    The grass is always greener . . . Mystery of the unknown, etc. Wish I could write this in French.
    Barb

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous12:15 PM

      That translates to "L'herbe est plus verte chez le voisin."

      Delete
  16. Anonymous2:55 AM

    This is the best piece you have ever done in my estimation b/c it includes some extremely cogent and definitive truths about women, pro and con.
    Thank you.
    Nan

    ReplyDelete
  17. The girl in the diaphanous dress in the gallery - I wonder how that would go over here in RI :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I Was fascinated by the story on the 'reality' about French women...upshot they smoke they fake it...don' t buy as many fancy undies as we do..and the rest was too slangy to understand.
    It's also true that French women admire American stereotypes and copy then..it is all a weird cultural fantasy..like the extreme French addiction To cowboys and the mythical old movie created West, to be continued,
    Happy days,
    DIANE

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous2:53 PM

    ..it's a game we play, we covet what the other has....
    ...,,if you ask me, just be true to your own self...
    The mystery is that there is no mystery....lol
    Brunie

    ReplyDelete
  20. Sounds like a fabulous read. Thanks for passing on the encouragement! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  21. What do I think? i know that nearly ALL editors of women's magazines are women!!!! That's the shocking part. Models being size zero etc.

    The French, like the Italians have an allure, a style and it is mesmerising. However, I can tell you that most of these women are not very intersting, not very individual or authentic or very happy for that matter. Their lives revolves around maintaining to be that person they think they need to be. How crazy is that?

    Women's magazines feed us an unrealistic image. I never read them coz I find them rather boring! Jennifer Aniston, do I need to say anymore?

    Nice post Carol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course they are interesting.
      No one has a problem with their intelligence
      The nonsense is coming from the myth we've created not the other way around.

      Delete

Love hearing from you