Our language for describing good women is now impoverished

In a generally competent review of the Whit Stillman film “Metropolitan”, the leading lady is described like this:

“Audrey is a smart, half-saucy, half-moralistic Jane Austen girl if there ever was one”

I have dutifully added this review to my bibliography of my long post on the short career of the actress who played Audrey. With this comment:

“Our language is so impoverished these days in describing virtuous women, because of the false dichotomy between “strong” and “feminine”, that the reviewer must stumble for words. It is pleasing to see him reach for “saucy”, a word now relegated largely to the jocular. However, I think Audrey is simply “female” in the best sense: with a feminine moral strength that does not preclude pertness.”

“What’s wrong with a novel having a virtuous heroine?!”

In his understated way, the director, Whit Stillman is trying to present women who are attractive and feminine with good minds and moral sense. Most especially with Audrey in his first film Metropolitan, but also to some extent in his most recent movie Damsels in Distress. I have discussed this further in the pages of the Oriens journal.

2 responses to this post.

  1. […] language for describing strong, loyal but obedient women is hopelessly inadequate. I have said a lot about this in the past on my blog and […]


  2. […] have much idea about how to create genuine, real, likeable, strong but feminine characters. I have written about this before, in respect of the character of Audrey Rouget. Forney […]


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