To be a woman in the public eye (especially in the political world) is akin to walking a tight rope. You must appear to be feminine and live within the confines of what is acceptably “female”. But, if you are emotional, critics will make the accusation that your emotions are taking over. On the other hand, if you are are so called “bossy”, you are labelled as aggressive and a b*tch.
Hillary premiered on Hulu earlier this year. This four part documentary series followed the lives and career of former First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State, and Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Telling Mrs. Clinton’s story, the creative team wove in interviews, news clips and images to give the viewer a perspective on it’s subject that few have had up this point.
I enjoyed the documentary. In pulling back the curtain, the viewer is introduced the whole person, not just the image presented in the media. If there is one thing I admire about Mrs. Clinton is that she keeps going. Given the number of times that she has been knocked down, it would have been easier to stay down. Rising like a phoenix from the ashes, she has become an icon, a hero, and a role model for women for generations to come.
In our culture, it is not uncommon or unacceptable to see an older man in a romantic relationship with a partner young enough to be their child. But, if an older woman is in a similar romantic relationship, the response is not the same.
According to Bronte lore, Lydia Robinson was responsible for the downfall and premature death of Branwell Bronte at the age of 31. Hired as a tutor for Lydia’s son, their rumored relationship is still scandalous after more than a century and a half.
Debut author Finola Austin’s novel, Bronte’s Mistress was released earlier this week. The story starts in 1843. Having recently lost her mother and still grieving from the death of her youngest child, Lydia returns home to silence. Her husband and surviving children are nowhere to be found. The only emotional support she receives is from her maid.
Upon meeting Branwell, she is intrigued by the younger man. He is twenty-five to her forty-three. While Branwell’s sister, Anne (also working in the home as the governess) remains emotionally distant, Branwell opens up to Lydia.
When gossip starts to circulate about their so-called affair, the sh*t starts to hit the fan and Lydia must deal with the backlash.
I loved the book. Lydia is a new kind of heroine for the genre. She is middle-aged and a mother made bitter by her circumstances. She has done everything that society tells her to do but feels unfulfilled and unappreciated. Lydia is also complicated. Though she has moments in which the reader empathizes with her, there are also moments in which she is thoroughly cold and cruel.