December 2009

Photo by captaincinema/Jennifer P. through a Creative Commons license

There was no doubting the sense of triumph in articles announcing that French Women DO get fat trumpeted the latest statistic that 15 per cent of French women are obese.
Many of the books and articles about French women focus on “the look” and reflect on what is “indefinably sexy about French women”.
But does the interest in French womanhood reflect a desire for a kind of mentoring, for inspiration about what it means to be a woman? In a culture where women are over-sexualised and magazines suggest shopping is all, studies of French women may still largely focus on the sex appeal but also offer a more cohesive view of womanhood based on tradition, philosophy and intellect. Could that be part of the appeal?


Photo courtesy of Todd Huffman through a Creative Commons License

Reading coverage of Halle Berry being honoured at the Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Breakfast I came across another article about a clothing business in Afghanistan called Kandahar Treasure.
In an article about Halle Berry’s charity work she explains how she was mentored by guidance counselor, Yvonne Sims. Reading about Rangina Hamidi who set up a business as a means of creating economic opportunity for Afghan women, reinforced the idea that mentoring can have a lasting impact on a person’s life.
Rangina Hamidi employs 200 women who make embroidered goods that are sold in Kandahar, to the Afghan government and at the Santa Fe Folk Art Market. An Afghan-American who left her home in the US to return to Kandahar, Rangina Hamidi worked initially with a nonprofit group but found that too much of her time was spent writing proposals and briefs to get grant money to run the charity.