Thunderbirds are GO!
This month's issue of GLOSS Magazine for the Little Black Dress Group features an article by Chris on the need for greater gender equality in the Australian workplace.
Looking for an appropriate start point from which to tackle the issue of gender equality in the workplace, I decided to refer back to my childhood and therein, my earliest recollections of women enjoying equal status in what my young mind associated with being realistic, professional situations. So, where better place to begin than Tracey Island and the world of International Rescue. That’s right, I’m talking about The Thunderbirds.
Fear not, we’re not about to head off on some self-indulgent tangential reminisces about whether Scott was cooler than Virgil or if Thunderbird 1 could out fly and outmaneuver Thunderbird 2 (which, of course, it could). No, we are concerning ourselves with that doyenne of pre-pubescent male influence, Lady Penelope.
It’s no secret that for many years, the utterly superb Lady P represented everything I aspired to in my ideal partner, so enduring was her impression. Let’s face it, she was exquisitely dressed and immaculately groomed with impeccable manners, enjoying only the best champagne while summarily dispatching bad guys with her fiercely loyal, jewel-thief-turned-chauffeur, Parker, at the wheel of a machine gun toting pink Rolls Royce.
There’s nothing like a Dame
Years later however, while philosophically pondering the most important of issues over the last Scotch of the evening – what’s the difference between a Lady and a Dame (within the context of the British honours system, of course) – the inequalities of Lady P’s back story begin to maddeningly present themselves. Think about it: a Lady may only be a Lady if she happens to be married to a chap upon whom the incumbent monarch had bestowed a Knighthood, therein said chap becoming Sir while the Mrs becomes a Lady.
However, if a woman was (and still is) to be recognised for accomplishment in a field of endeavor of her own selection and achievement, she is not bestowed with the title Lady. No, the title bestowed by the monarch in this situation is Dame. And as we all know, there’s nothing quite like a Dame. Aren’t we accustomed to associating the title with risqué, femme fatale type creatures of gangster or spy folklore? Even tracing it to the origins of the word we find ourselves at the word damsel, meaning young girl, maiden, one of gentle birth. It’s hardly the ideal moniker for women who excel in their field, and certainly not as deferential or appealing as the alternative.