WHEN I read Jordan Christy’s ‘How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World’ I nodded vigorously in agreement. Across the continents, I was able to connect with her sentiments when she described a tribe of girls who toss “their hair by the water cooler at the office… sporting silky thongs with low rise pants in the grocery line … excessively use the word like and drape themselves all over the nearest male.” “They are obnoxious and for some reason, always the centre of attention.”
Why? Christy says it is because they are willing to sell their self respect for a little “free” publicity. The TV and the media need not go looking for news headlines. It is offered to them by these girls. They are neither role models nor accurate representations of women, but they are the most visible.
Despite this, however, guys still look for girls they can take home to introduce to the mother, the employers still like a decently turned up woman and colleagues respect a well mannered and clad women to the scantily clad and loud workers. So what does one do? This book gives a step by step to be women of class, style and charm.
The images she has chosen to represent the two shades of the women are Audrey Hepburn and Paris Hilton – comparable to Meena Kumari, Madhubala and Rakhi Sawant. The former are classy, stylish and leave a lasting impact and the latter are mid-riff revealing, hogging the light for a short while. “Sadly our society has placed girls like this on a reality-television pedestal and kicked classy and well-spoken ladies to the curb,” she says. How true!
Dress makes the first impact of the person. And it seems the lesser you wear the more the attention you get. Says Christy “clothing is so much more than just the threads we throw on our backs everyday – it directly expresses our values, persona and self-image. We all see girls at work, on the street and in the tabloids who have poor self image and clearly feel the need to compensate and strip down to the bare minimum, hoping and begging for attention.”
The book is not just talking about the dress. It of course comes in the top. But it discusses the entire concept of values, hard work, sincerity and self-respect. It does hurt to see girls after girls, year after year, participating in beauty contests, where they are striped bare before being decided by a handful of people, mostly men, on their beauty. Shedding of modesty – of all kinds — is the first requirement here and hundreds of girls are willing to do that. The book covers diet, speech, work ethic, friends, relationships, manners and make up. “Old-fashioned values and ideas are not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I think our modern girl world could use a lot more of them”, says Christy.
Famous song writer Suzanne Vega has said, “I think people are sexy when they have a sense of humour, when they are smart, when they have some sense of style, when they are kind, when they express their opinions, when they are creative, when they have character.” Christy is puzzled as to when we moved away from all these to the present day of “trashy counterparts.”
Jordan Christy, who has worked with many artists, celebrities and media outlets emphasizes the urgency in correcting the situation now. She feels that women who are classy and work hard in their chosen profession and get where they are through sheer hard work have allowed the reality show stars to overshadow them and steal the march. “Rather than sitting back and watching as our generation gets swallowed up by Juicy Couture and MTV, lets step up and take back our dignity. Our culture is in desperate need of real women with brains, beauty and self-respect – women who aren’t afraid to take risks, dream big, and order dessert. If we don’t do it, who will?” she asks.
An interesting book, more so because it has been written by an American, the fountainhead of all that she finds wrong with the women in limelight today. The neckline plunges are decided there so are the width of the midriff. It is heartening to know that some women are waking up and are attempting to stem the tide and change its direction.
(Center Street, Hachette Book Group, 237, Park Avenue, New York NY 10017)