MAE WEST made a brief appearance in an article about strong women even though the focus was on Bette Davis who was, Johann Hari wrote, "self-confident enough to demand to look bad on camera."
• • Johann Hari's column observed: Precisely a century ago, in a suburb of Boston, a child called Bette Davis erupted into the world. She was not only a woman; she was an electrical storm with skin. With nothing but raw talent and raw determination, she became the most famous woman in the world, taking on the Hollywood studio system, the FBI and the Catholic Church.
• • For a while, this not-especially-beautiful woman in her forties ruled Hollywood, playing tough women who chose their careers and their own desires over sacrificing for men or children or a picket fence. She never pretended to be dumb, or a little girl. She didn't do soft, or simpering. She had a voice like sour cream, and eyes like a raven. Humphrey Bogart said about her: "Unless you're very big she can knock you down." And she was one of the great events of her time.
• • She was popular with the mostly-female movie audience - women like my grandmother, who gave me my first glimpse of Bette Davis movies from her lap - in part because her characters will not accept 'their place.' They want more, more, more. It was not easy to be a strong woman then; she said, "When a man gives his opinion he's a man. When a woman gives her opinion she's a bitch." But she fought, and women responded to it. She was only the most shimmering example of a generation of tough Hollywood women whose characters saw the world as a place not to cower from or simper at, but to conquer: MAE WEST (who made her first film at 40), Lauren Bacall, Katherine Hepburn, Joan Crawford, Barbra Stanwyck, Rosalind Russell, Marlene Dietrich, and more. ...
— — Excerpt: — —
• • "Where have all the strong women gone?"
• • Byline: Johann Hari
• • Published in: The London Independent — — www.independent.co.uk/
• • Published on: 27 March 2008
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: Mae West • • none • •