Of all the blonde bombshells in France, there is only one that is as tightly linked to their cultural heritage as the beloved croissant: Brigitte Bardot. Her liberated sexuality and subversive outspokenness outraged conservative Catholics and set the stage for the sexual liberation movement of the 1960s. She fearlessly flouted social conventions, refusing to settle for traditional female roles as a mother and housewife and rejected her bourgeois upbringing.
In many ways, she was her generation’s feminist (much to the horror of modern day feminists), living carefree in a patriarchal society and controlling men with her overt sexuality. Sure, she was far from an intellectual and wasn’t fighting for female equality, per se, but she did a lot in the way of humanizing female sexuality.
But there’s more to this former sex-kitten than perfectly tousled hair and an unwavering joie de vivre. After her retirement at age 39 (because, why not?), she focused her attention entirely on her love for animals and her growing political activism – both of which brought her a much different kind of attention.
Back in 2008, BB went on trial for her anti-Muslim slurs, the fifth time she faced charges of “inciting racial hatred”. Bardot appears impervious to judgment, having criticized racially mixed couples, homosexuality and known to bemoan what she calls the “Islamisaton of France”.
No, Mademoiselle Bardot doesn’t hide her support of the French political right-wing nor bat an eyelash at offending sensibilities in the name of animal rights. She went from dancing, to “acting” and making men drool to launching the Brigitte Bardot Foundation which fights for pet and wild animal protection all over the world. She is an extremist in every sense of the word and makes no apologies for her outrageous and often controversial views.
Okay, so she doesn’t live up to any legitimate idea of feminism (or a politically correct icon for that matter), but there are two things I can get behind: animals rights campaigns and anyone that dislikes Sarah Palin as much as I do.
Bardot’s foundation just launched a new campaign to bring attention to the number of animals that are abandoned each year, appropriately called “Abandonment Kills: 100,000 animals a year”. The poster above shows two children hugging a healthy, playful looking pup with the caption “love for him” and “death for him” to go with the image on the right of an emaciated, evidently abandoned, dog. As the sister of a veterinarian, the campaign spoke loud and clear to me. In one day alone, I saw the poster 6 times throughout the metro. It shocked, as was intended.
The foundation does more than throw paint on women wearing furs (they leave that to PETA), using these types of campaigns to create awareness of animal protection. I may not agree with her politics, but I’m all for saving animals.
Oh and her views on Palin? Bardot referred to Palin’s now-famous portrait as a “pitbull with lipstick” and called her “a disgrace to women… a true environmental catastrophe”. Now that’s my kind of girl.
Main image courtesy of The Vintager
Ad courtesy of The Brigitte Bardot Foundation