Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Day the Glamour Died

The world got a little less glamorous today.

I am sure you know already that Dame Elizabeth Taylor died today of congestive heart failure at the age of 79. A lot of digital ink has been spilled over memorializing her today and I won’t attempt to repeat it here, but I will tell you what she meant to me.

One of my peculiarities as a child was that I fell in love with old movies around the age of 9. As I grew up Elizabeth Taylor was the definition of glamour for me. She personified female sex appeal. She was fierce before that was a term. From Dame Elizabeth I learned that a woman could be strong without having to de-sexualize herself, or conversely that she could be sexy without having to be weak. I didn’t have to be powerless to be feminine. But she was more than just her extraordinary looks and she demonstrated that a woman’s value lasts far longer than her youth when she championed the cause for AIDS treatment. At an age when many women in her line of work as tossed aside, she began a second career as an advocate. To borrow a phrase she stood on the side of love and advocated for people whom others wanted to condemn.

Heather at nagoonberry has been encouraging me to write about fashion and self love, and I will, but I couldn’t even begin to write that without acknowledging the woman who epitomized beauty and glamour for me. Now I just have to figure out which of her films to watch this weekend – right now I’m leaning towards Butterfield 8.

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