|Brenda Fricker in "The Field" Vs. ...|
Having first arrived in Ireland, one of the most peculiar things that struck me was that the expression "girl" virtually applies to every female between the ages of zero and way beyond ninety here.
Some of you might understand my confusion over people talking about so-called "girls", when in fact they've been referring to a group of pensioners that they've just met. I guess it is sweet in a way, but also confusing to someone straight talking like me. Even back home in Germany I always find it strange and slightly patronizing when I see someone adressing an elderly lady as "junge Frau".
Whereas all Irish women may pass as girls regardless their age and looks, the following stereotypes however, portray two completely different breeds of females.
Remember Oscar-winning Brenda Fricker in "My Left Foot" playing Christie Brown's mother and ever since getting typecast as the "proud Irish mother" (despite not having children of her own)? The "proud Irish mother" is typically described as the backbone of a country family, which she usually dedicates and sacrifices her whole life to. The Irish mother is a down to earth woman with seemingly little needs, who is superior to her usually bullish husband in a quiet and knowing way.
And now take the likes of Rosanna Davison or Georgia Salpa as the "Glamour Girls" counterpart to our "proud Irish mothers".
You usually meet them at big social gatherings, such as horse races and, well, horse races, and unlike our plain Irish mothers, they are hard to miss in a crowd of people. I will never forget when I first went to the traditional Stephen's Day (Boxing Day in the UK) race at Leopardstown. Despite temperatures barely above freezing point, I have never again seen as many women wearing high heels without tights and dresses so short, they barely covered their vital organs. Not to mention thick layers of make-up and fake tan obviously.
Where do you think does it all start? And are our fame-hungry glamour girls really a different breed to our Irish mothers? Or is it a process of transformation and every glamour girl will eventually turn into a proud Irish mother?