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Brigitte Bardot and The Lolita Syndrome

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Blonde bombshell Brigitte Bardot was more than just a participant; she triggered change and for a short period became its icon. Always controversial and hotly debated, national obsession and blonde bombshell Bardot led France to a new vision of femininity both on and off screen.


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Blonde bombshell Brigitte Bardot was more than just a participant; she triggered change and for a short period became its icon. Always controversial and hotly debated, national obsession and blonde bombshell Bardot led France to a new vision of femininity both on and off screen.

30 review for Brigitte Bardot and The Lolita Syndrome

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣

    I've always been fascinated with the golden age stars such as Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe. I find them the epitome of beauty and femininity. And they are so much more than their beautiful bodies. What I don't like is how public opinion of the time looked down on BB in spite the fact that she had been their creation. It's silly (well, not that silly if you read something like The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature) how men desire a nymphet. As it is illegal to get one, they se I've always been fascinated with the golden age stars such as Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe. I find them the epitome of beauty and femininity. And they are so much more than their beautiful bodies. What I don't like is how public opinion of the time looked down on BB in spite the fact that she had been their creation. It's silly (well, not that silly if you read something like The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature) how men desire a nymphet. As it is illegal to get one, they settle for a woman who looks like a girl and (most times) acts as such. And now I'm going to watch a BB movie.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    It is the early 1960s and Beauvoir is worried that eroticism has been removed from the movies. Along comes vixen Bardot and everyone in France, it seems, cannot help but notice her - but with a snicker. For a time the movies were exciting because they were designed to have men respond to feminine curves in an obvious, if crude way. But where is the mystery anymore? It is hard to imagine this but Beauvoir lived in a time when men and women were appearing on beaches practically nude for the first It is the early 1960s and Beauvoir is worried that eroticism has been removed from the movies. Along comes vixen Bardot and everyone in France, it seems, cannot help but notice her - but with a snicker. For a time the movies were exciting because they were designed to have men respond to feminine curves in an obvious, if crude way. But where is the mystery anymore? It is hard to imagine this but Beauvoir lived in a time when men and women were appearing on beaches practically nude for the first time. (To my mind the bikini is the 20th century's greatest innovation, even better than the automobile. If I had to choose one over the other for humanity's sake I would gladly take a horse to the beach.) It was not much more than fifteen years ago when Nazis were marching through Paris. And now we have sexed up waifs like Bardot to have to deal with? Was the Resistance really worth it? The essay is a short one, but to me it represents Beauvoir at her best. Only someone equally adept at writing philosophy, social criticism, novels and memoir could have written this. She is actually arguing for poetry, turning the idol Bardot into the kind of mythic figure that once pulsated through the minds of poets from Dante to Baudelaire. Female worship in poetry looks a little ridiculous now, or so the theory goes, but how different is it from admiring the female imagery we see up on the screen? In a book or in a movie, we are not actually in contact with these women, so why the swoon? Or are we not in contact with them, morally: this is the question Beauvoir raises. Bardot was once of our time. Where is she now? In brilliant writing like this. On film. I say this as a convert to Bardot's attraction. I did not get her prior to reading Beauvoir's essay. Jeanne Moreau, Monica Vitti, Anna Karina, Marilyn Monroe, my god, those ones I got, even though their sexual peak was not of my time. Like Audrey Hepburn, Bardot was in the process of inventing "the erotic hoyden, the boisterous, bold, carefree girl" for the first time since the atomic bomb. Shortly after the Nazis left France Beauvoir wrote The Second Sex. That Beauvoir does not interest me. This one does, able to cast her male gaze on Bardot's features, going into explicit detail about her dancer's body, her pout and kissable lips, her delightful bosom. Well shit Simone, if you say so! But she does not stop there. She goes on to praise this "ambiguous nymph", comparing her to the effect she has on conventional morality with Ava Gardner's threat as seen in Barefoot Contessa. Beauvoir is all guns. Now she's onto philosophy. "To dwell in eternity," she raptures, "is another way of rejecting time." Badiou needs high-level mathematics to achieve that, Bardot mere impetuousness. "She offers herself directly to each spectator." Be like Truffaut or Godard, direct these girls and you too will become immortal. "The debunking of love and eroticism is an undertaking that has wider implications than one might think. As soon as a single myth is touched, all myths are in danger." No, never! And not on my watch either!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Angela Natividad

    This tiny tome doesn't take long to read. And while the examples it casts—of Bardot and her films—are no longer contemporaneous to us, the key points, it seems, remain true: There's something in the Lolita that's both infuriating and compelling because she is a blooming woman that men don't (yet) have rightful access to. Bardot, whose sexuality was artless and frank, retains the quality of a young girl untouched by experience; she isn't answerable to a male gaze even if she was springboarded into This tiny tome doesn't take long to read. And while the examples it casts—of Bardot and her films—are no longer contemporaneous to us, the key points, it seems, remain true: There's something in the Lolita that's both infuriating and compelling because she is a blooming woman that men don't (yet) have rightful access to. Bardot, whose sexuality was artless and frank, retains the quality of a young girl untouched by experience; she isn't answerable to a male gaze even if she was springboarded into fame for it. Her body is hers, her decisions to make love or engage men are hers; for her, then, a man is as much an object as a woman typically is. Her body undressed is not a tool of submissive seduction; it is her body, she who remains the actor, she who decides whether to offer it or dance away. This conflict is what Beauvoir claims contributed to so much moral reproach when BB's star was born: Latin countries couldn't deal with the notion of a woman without artifice (which, while implying intelligence, also implies a subjugated conniving which is weirdly easier for the patriarchy to swallow), while Americans accept her wholeheartedly because they accept the guileless woman in theory if not always in fact. I haven't decided to what degree I agree with all this or find it applicable to now. But it does add nuance to the way things have gone since. The patriarchy has bigger problems than the sexy gamine; it's now being asked to deal with the fact of its artifice-peddling women angrily tearing away their many corsets. Bardot in her roles never struck one as motivated to either play by or flout the rules; she simply existed despite them with complete peace of mind (even if only to be tamed by a good strong man, per narrative demands). Maybe there's something here that can be learned—barring that parenthesis.

  4. 5 out of 5

    d

    Interesante ensayo, aunque hoy peca de una ingenuidad notable. Claro, escrito en 1962, Simone no podía preever que la industria cinematográfica y de la moda iban a destruir totalmente a Bardot (léase: darle papeles superfluos hasta que se vuelva vieja, y a partir de ahí ignorarla para siempre). Lo que tiene de interesante es que fue escrito en un momento en que nadie se tomaba en serio a Bardot, sobre todo en Francia, donde su figura era consumida por jóvenes y por viejos demasiado esnobs como p Interesante ensayo, aunque hoy peca de una ingenuidad notable. Claro, escrito en 1962, Simone no podía preever que la industria cinematográfica y de la moda iban a destruir totalmente a Bardot (léase: darle papeles superfluos hasta que se vuelva vieja, y a partir de ahí ignorarla para siempre). Lo que tiene de interesante es que fue escrito en un momento en que nadie se tomaba en serio a Bardot, sobre todo en Francia, donde su figura era consumida por jóvenes y por viejos demasiado esnobs como para admitir que les calienta la figura de nenita fatal, honesta, etc. Simone banca a BB, primero, porque pone el cuerpo y es lo único que salva a las películas de Roger Vadim. Segundo, porque en tanto bomba sexual, ofende la dignidad burguesa. Tercero, porque en sus películas maneja a los hombres como objetos, y porque "hace lo que quiere y no se arrepiente". Habría que ver si Beauvoir hubiera escrito algo así 10 o 20 años después, cuando la figura de mujer liberada que sale en bolas fue totalmente absorbida por la industria de la moda, la publicidad y la pornografía. Esto se lee como un ensayo de un momento en que la revolución sexual todavía no venía y cuando un cuerpo desnudo de mujer (sexualidad autoasumida) sí era revolucionario. Hoy sabemos que no es tan así, y que la mayoría de las veces la desnudez femenina en una película o una fotografía no es equivalente a libertad.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paola

    This was an interesting short read. A full analysis of the reasons for the contempt against Brigitte Bardot, especially in her country, and its meaning to the idea or visualization of what the woman in or should be. Written by one of the pioneers of feminism herself, the anger the author feels against what the people say about Brigitte is palpable and makes a good point of view, due to recent events in the fight for equal rights.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lovisa Snickars

    Var tvungen att ge upp på denna bok efter ca 80 sidor. Alldeles för många litterära referenser och liknande för att jag skulle orka fortsätta läsa. Visst hade vart lite härligt att ha läst en "bok" av de Beauvoir, men jag sparar just denna inför framtiden faktiskt.

  7. 4 out of 5

    vi macdonald

    Simone de Beauvoir is freaking brilliant. She's completely dead on in everything she says here and this short sampling of her genius has reminded me that my copy of The Second Sex is sitting on my bedside table, quietly judging me for not getting around to properly digging into it yet...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jody

    An interesting read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Morticia

    Ojämn.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    An extremely interesting take on Brigitte Bardot as articulated by the incredible Simone de Beauvoir. Of course it's going to get a 5.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sophie Engstrom

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amelia

  13. 5 out of 5

    the white goddess.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Danushka Devinda

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tinamarie Valentine

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sage

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aysenur Yashar

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marcel Moritz

  19. 5 out of 5

    Asma

  20. 4 out of 5

    Maria Mae

  21. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Godfrey

  22. 5 out of 5

    Maria Ramiro

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vivian Ton

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sanna

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nathalie Åhrlin

  26. 4 out of 5

    gigi

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jasmin Kocaer

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rusnė Usinavičiūtė

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tiara Larasati

  30. 5 out of 5

    ❤ Kaye ❤

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