Sunday, 5 October 2008

When the English Rose became the Common Ragwort

Before anyone writes to correct me, I do know that Deborah Kerr was born in Helensburgh, and is therefore actually Scottish, however, over almost two decades, from the late 1940's until the early 1960's, for much of the world she was one of a select group of women who represented the ideal of cool English beauty.

More than most, Kerr personified what was popularly referred to as an English Rose. Many of her contemporaries, such as the violet eyed Elizabeth Taylor, or the sultry Joan Collins, although born in Britain, seem firmly located in the mid-Atlantic, whilst the likes of the lovely Audrey Hepburn, actually born in Belgium, exuded a European chic which would break its kitten heel on a Yorkshire moor, yet even they aspired repeatedly to play English Roses. At that time an English Rose was what most British girls, and many woman across the world wanted to be.

Englishness such as that portrayed by Kerr had a currency, and her predecessors, like Phyllis Calvert or the exquisite Margaret Lockwood, who were great stars in Britain despite making less impact in Hollywood, were quintessentially and passionately English whilst those who did make it big in Hollywood, such as Greer Garson and Anna Neagle occasionally seemed to overplay their Englishness to the point of caricature.

Another great British movie star, the troubled Vivien Leigh, the first Lady Olivier, who's heyday preceded Deborah Kerr's by about a decade is now primarily remembered as the feisty Southern Belle, of Irish Origin, Scarlett O'Hara, in “Gone With the Wind” or as the tragic Blanche DuBois, a role, perhaps too close for comfort, in "A Streetcar named Desire". However, at the zenith of her fame, and to her bedazzled fans at the time, she was nothing less than an iconic English Rose.

As a Scott, Deborah Kerr was perhaps playing a role when she donned the mantle of Englishness, but, actors play roles which suit the culture of their age and as a true Brit, she seems to have instinctively known what the role required. A grace and refinement, which transcended class, a reserved sensuality that is is never slatternly and most vitally, a sense of honour, kindness and decency which radiated from any rose worthy of the name. Although Kerr personally had physical beauty in abundance, great beauty is not an essential requirement of an English Rose, rather the English Rose had an inner beauty, which has a far longer lifespan than transitory physical beauty and travels into old age with those English women who possess it.

Kerr carried that grace and refinement into all her celluloid roles, even managing to play Karen Holmes in the famous beach scene in From Here to Eternity with a dignity which never came close to the down and dirty blatantness favoured by the Susanna Yorks Glenda Jacksons and Charlotte Ramplings who were to follow her.

Indeed, those who have seen the film will remember that it was Burt Lancaster's body which was primarily on display amongst the surf and not Kerr's.

Of a different, but equally famous role. I have occasionally heard people wrongly describe Deborah Kerr's great venture into musicals, lip-synching to Marni Nixon's voice in Rogers and Hammerstein's The King and I, as an early venture into interracial romance. However, even a cursory analysis of themes of the movie reveals the error of such an assessment, whilst demonstrating a respect for other cultures, the story clearly exposes the chasm which exists between races, and with the King's death demonstrates how damaging and indeed fatal, attempts to impose one culture upon another will inevitably be.

Kerr was a class act, and for almost two decades, she embodied how much of the world viewed English women, despite attempts by Diana Dors or Yvonne Mitchell to present an alternative image.

However, it is not my aim to celebrate the career of Deborah Kerr, who sadly died last year, but to question why an ideal she represented and which had existed for centuries, up to a generation ago, has now almost completely vanished, to be replaced by something which is it's complete antithesis. Why is it that, when our mother's generation aspired to become an English Rose our daughters seem to favour the common ragwort.

The female celebrities of our age are the likes of the slatternly Cheryl Cole, the tattooed and substance dependant Amy Winehouse and the largely bionic Katie Price, women whom a generation earlier would have been lucky to appear in the red lighted windows of Amsterdam or the Reeperbahn, if in Europe at all, rather than the front pages of children's magazines.

Today, little girls play with dolls called Bratz, which appear to represent mixed race, botox enhanced, re-pubescent sluts in minuscule, buttocks exposing, skirts, and nobody views that as unhealthy. From an early age, the next generation of women are being taught to admire females who are one step up from being backstreet hookers, some less than a step, and informed that the ultimate female ambition is to be a pelmet skirted executive at work, and a slapped up gangsta's Ho at home.

I used to think that the type of girl who fell for the “spread your legs and show your power” school of feminism were victims of cynical male voyeurs, but I now suspect that the aims behind it are more sinister than that, can it be that those who seek our downfall believe that by turning the sort of people who our parents would have viewed as the lowest of the low in to social icons, they can undermine the values which built our society.

Furthermore, by enticing young white women to behave as whores they will inevitably become more receptive to the sort of, frequently non white, men who will treat them as such. Is this really what those who campaigned for women's rights fought for?

As far as the women's movement is concerned many believe the rot set in during the late 60's, when those who aspired to parity with men were replaced by radical lesbians or fanatics who viewed all sex between men and women as acts of rape and scorned contemporary attitudes to femininity as subjugation. However, I doubt that even the most man hating of bull dykes ever thought they would see a day when women believe they can gain respect by exposing their bare bottoms.

It is as if feminism lost its way, fell asleep and woke up in a Bangkok cathouse.

What seems to be a desire to be demeaned extends well beyond young girls, visit the city any day and you will see women, old enough to know better, travelling to work in suits which are too short and too small to qualify as smart, and who no doubt wonder why there is still a glass ceiling.

In politics, similarly embarrassing spectacles can be seen, does our Home Secretary, Jackie Smith really believe she can be taken seriously, reading some statement on terrorism or social upheaval, when her exposed cleavage fills most of a wide angle TV screen, or do ambitious ministers like Caroline Flint really expect to be viewed as anything other than a token women when she wears skirts split to areas best left to the contemplation of one's gynaecologist?

I am certainly not suggesting that western women embrace the burkah, but how can society, let alone male society, respect women who do not respect themselves. The English Rose of yesterday had self respect, yet one has to wonder if today's common ragwort, dressed in what amounts to little more than two band aids and a pocket handkerchief, even understands the concept.

This is a subject I have touched on before, the propaganda aimed at young women is so relentless one has to wonder if there is a deliberate aim to it. Does a nation fall when its women become whores? If that the game plan? For that certainly seems to be what is happening.

The male role model is also changing, but not to the same degree as the female, for every Ashley Cole or Pete Doherty, our celebrity culture still embraces a few remaining chiseled jawed men who would not took out of place in the company of Cary Grant and David Niven. But where are the Ann Todds, the Margaret Lockwoods the Joan Greenwoods or indeed the Deborah Kerrs? How often does one see a female celebrity under 50 who could be fairly called a lady?. There may be some but there are not many left and they do not appear in the magazines our children read or the TV shows they watch.

In an age when the queen's own granddaughter (allegedly) cavorts in the nude and ogles black men we must sadly accept that the the English Rose has become an endangered species whilst the common ragwort thrives in plague like proportions.


NB: This post should in no way be seen as a comment on the excellent English Rose blog which remains highly recommended


Finlandia said...

And isn't it sad how, almost without exception, beautiful and talented young women in music and film have been conned into believing that they can only sustain their careers by losing their natural innocence and transforming themselves into stage hookers.

Anonymous said...

Celtic Morning. So much common sense in a long post, which is what we have come to expect from Sarah but the two words which stand out, for me, are surely "self respect." Most of todays women are severely short changed in that department and without any self respect then what can you hope for? I sometimes wonder about our posts on the BNP site when we report on the "English Roses" who are groomed and used by young moslems. They are easy prey and the asians know it. They are treated like scum because that is how they see themselves and basically, that is often what they are. We must face the fact that what was once a fiercely proud working class has been brain washed for decades into a sub species and the old family unit, which nurtured pride and responsibility is but a shadow of its former self. A line from the old musical, Carousel. "You can have fun with a son but you gotta be a father to a girl." Too many of our "fathers" and too many of our "mothers" are too young and stupid to be parents. Too many of our girls have no father figure and too few fathers offer a good example and that may be why so many young females have turned into ragwort. Self respect. Without it a girl has nothing.

Fyrdist said...

Give me Ingrid Pitt or Diana Rigg anyday!

See Where Eagle's Dare for Ingrid Pitt (the "German" Girl working undercover for MI6 in the castle) and see The Avengers for Diana Rigg.


Anonymous said...

a people are not beaten until the hearts of their women are on the floor

Sarah Maid of Albion said...

Hi Fyrdist

I will certainly allow you Diana Rigg as an English Rose, albeit not one without thorns.

Ingrid Pitt, as I recall, escaped from East Germany, carrying two fresh bullet wounds, so she certainly has the qualities if not teh Nationality!


Anonymous said...

I think Cheryl Cole bears herself quite well. She's never been seen falling out a cab drunk and going commando, unlike the upper class witches tara palmer tompkinson or the ladies harvey or the daughters of fergie.

keenor said...

I think the adage "a feminist/womens libber" ie. someone who espouses sexual equality (whatever that means) is a women who lacks ambition!

Anonymous said...

Cheryl Cole is a gullible race-mixer.

Fyrdist said...

Cheers, Sarah. Another splendid article, if I may say so.

I didn't know Ingrid escaped the Stasi? I'll look into that one.
Thanks. X

English Rose said...

Because to the producers etc, sex sells and that's the way they see it.
I agree it's way over the top but while we live in a time of sleaze nothing will change.

Anonymous said...

Dont forget it was the Lefties who hijacked the necessary feminist movement started by the wonderful Suffragettes. Deborah Kerr was forever being swept off her feet by the protective male telling her "dont be a little fool". As I remember she quite liked that!
The English Rose survived the blitz, rationing and more recently the miners strike, she is still battling on behalf of the BNP with her Celtic sisters in Scotland, Wales and both sides of Ireland.
Its up to us to make young women politically savvy enough to mark their "X" in the right BNP box at the elections.
(To use the votes they would never have had without brave feisty women who didn't swoon like Deborah at the sight of a big brave copper wielding a force feeding tube.)
This is grass roots work in our families and communities to steer young men and women away from the debauched lifestyles encouraged by the Left and fed off by Islamists.
Every "drop in " centre run by the State to hand out its contraceptives and "coming out" advice should be countered by a youth club promoting wholesome outdoor activities,self and community respect.

Anonymous said...

The Nazis knew that it was through the women that control of the nation would come, being the child rearers, although they used it for Nationalistic ends and for their own perceived betterment of their race, wheras the Communist/Marxist/Lefting/devil worshiping/globalist white man haters who took the reigns of power in the latter half of the 20th century have consistently attacked our females through the media and schools. Although I have noticed a backlash in some of the womens magazines especially, where they are actively discouraging some of the sad middle aged Brit women form taking holiday romances with Turks and other ethnic men as the statistics for financial and physical abuse are quite staggering.

By stripping our women of any morality or self respect, it has left them open to race mixing, and coupling this with the constant be-littling of white men in every tv ad, film or play, we have so many young and not so young women who have found out the hard way that the grass wasnt greener.

On a more heartening note however, I have noticed of late a growing number of attractive women (perhaps not necesarily phyically so, but in their confidence and aura)who are starting to speak aloud in support of the BNP and other Nationalist parties throughout Europe, in contrast to the masculine and boorish examples of womanhood that seem to dominate the media.

Sarah Maid of Albion said...

To Anonymous 6:03, if you don't think Deborah Kerr ever did feisty, you obviously didn't see the Sundowners, King Solomon's Mines, or "Heaven Knows Mr Alison", when Kerr, admittedly dressed as a nun, together with Robert Mitcham as a US Marine defeated the Japanese, or "the Night of the Iguana" when she tied up Richard Burton on a Mexican veranda and saw him though a night of maddness and alcohol withdrawal!

She played some more delicate women as well, but a good actor can play a variety of roles, however, I don't believe she swooned more than most actresses of her generation were required to.

I am not suggesting that we should return to some of the attitudes towards women which existed in the 1950, but there must be some mid point between a "little fool" and a "big whore".

However, with respect to an earlier commentator, it shows how far our standards have fallen when someone can can say that Cheryl Cole "bears herself quite well".