A woman’s work is never done, and in 2015, the next shift might just be looming. Faster feminism (thrill, thrill …) is in its widest spread, and also at its ugliest zenith, all because it’s now entered generations Y’s vocabulary. And the new martyrs for their fast “feminism” cause feel it’s their sole purpose to unleash their meddling phalanges upon their qwerty keyboards to make their voice heard.
But who really cares to listen to a broken record? In many ways, as some have only recently commented, feminism is old news and they may not be all that wrong. Oppression is now re-appearing as a “pied piper” social construct, and while that’s the truth, unfortunately, it isn’t to say that there isn’t ground to cover. Cast your mind back to the great chanteuses of yesteryear – the Marlene Dietrich’s of the 1930s, the Diana Ross’ of the 70s, and you’ll understand why this writer finds it so alarming that time and time again a woman can’t carry a tune by herself anymore; is it really necessary for every chart-topping hit to “feat.” a man?
And on a broader scale, it’s worrying that in 2015 we are slipping into dangerous territory. However, playground bickering that to-and-fros between archaically gendered factors such as “male privilege” and “female disadvantage” quite frankly makes a bout of tinnitus seem like a dulcet alternative.
This is exactly why when Glass happened to cross paths with Swedish fashion writer and author Anna Madsen who recently penned the critical 21st century feminist’s handbook: Glamour Puss – A Tongue-in-Cheek Guide to Being a Powerful Woman: Manipulative, Chic and Sexy, her first book, we were all ears. Online discourse, which veers dangerously into ill-informed feminist territory, has a tendency to be needlessly polarising and often skirts around one thing that should never be forgotten – the emphasis on the power women possess.
Anna, a fabulous mind who privileges power over oppression, has embarked on a one woman revolution to make sure that women across the world remain enlightened evermore when it comes to their many attributes, asserting a chromosome-smart upper hand.
It’s rather invigorating to meet a woman like Anna, who is both in touch with her femininity and intellectualism in equal parts, and certainly, much to our delight, has a lot to say for herself. So we knew we had to have a chat with Anna herself about her vixen vying how-to guide. Subject matter wise, we were spoilt for choice during one sitting but we were sure that by basing our conversation loosely on the Proustian questionnaire, we could find out more about what Anna wants Glamour Puss to do for you.
We’ll go ahead and start with a good opener, what’s your chief characteristic Anna?
Being versatile while also being direct, a game changer. I’m such an Aquarius, you know, always trying to break paths, to be the first to do something.
There’s no other way. And now, without any further accord, let’s hit the nail on the head right away: your favourite qualities in a woman?
A woman who’s not jealous of other women, and I couldn’t possibly underline that enough. Yet, I’m often quite naïve when I encounter that kind of woman. I have a hard time processing the classic quip, “oh she’s just jealous”, because I don’t see why a woman should act on jealously with malevolence.
Interesting. Now let’s go for your favourite qualities in a man?
I think the best way for me to answer that question is for you to refer to: Finding A Trophy Husband in Glamour Puss. It applies to every woman who’s trying to smoke out those special qualities within her “ideal” man. But for now, I think personal ambition and devotion sums it up.
At this point, I think that rounds everything off quite well, so we’ll soften the blows in hopes of finding out a little bit more about the life you have built around you. What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
Support, unconditionally. Believing in me, indubitably. A friend of mine actually saw the potential for Glamour Puss within in me before I had the foresight to write a book myself and she’s a hard customer to please so I took every word of encouragement to heart.
That’s all well and good, but let’s make sure we stick to the case in point: you. Your favourite occupation being?
Writing, in order to record my opinions and reading, in order to take care of my soul.
I like your buoyancy, and on that note, what is your idea of happiness?
Achieving everything you dream about and it’s possible, believe me.
Your idea of misery?
Being imprisoned, suspended within in a cage.
So if not yourself who would you be?
Sharon Stone. Whom I have based a whole chapter of my book around.
Stone is quite a woman, although I am glad you are Anna, so where would Anna like to live?
Where my love is.
I see. If I may be so bold, what’s your love’s stance when it comes to your book?
He came up with the title …
So I’m sure he’s very important to you. Who are your heroes Anna?
My parents, absolutely, and thus, my book is dedicated to them. I am very grateful to my father, who taught me about men, and my mother, who taught me how to be a woman. I had a healthy masculine/feminine construct straight from home which taught me about the perfect kind of power play in a relationship.
And your favourite motto?
There are no ugly women, just lazy ones.
That’s a very bold motto, is that part of what inspired you to write Glamour Puss?
I wanted to address women in 2015, women who still let the supposed “patriarchal” society victimise themselves. If we want to see each other succeed in major industries we have to stop victimising ourselves.
It’s great that you are still raising this topic!
Thank you, it’s important for me that women still actually want to take on these kind of roles in various sectors and not let any compromising factors allow them to back down. My book is all about getting this message out there. I think it has a very current, strong message and I put a lot of love into it. It needed that passion so I could take the bull by the horns and question why, for one, a woman can’t use her sexuality in order to get what she wants. Erotic capital shouldn’t be a taboo.
Wise words indeed. Ultimately what do you hope to achieve with Glamour Puss?
To empower women enough to stay true to themselves. You should never need to “tone yourself down”. My cause may be misunderstood, but every woman has something they should emphasise and use to their advantage; you will truly gain so much from it, so go ahead and blind the boardroom with that blazing hot pink dress.
Fashion is very significant to you I imagine, but could you describe what it means to you exactly?
Being confident about yourself and what you are wearing. People are scared that it’s too superficial but you can’t wear a Versace dress successfully without having a sense of self-esteem and that’s what’s great about fashion. Think about what Coco Chanel once said, “If you see a woman walking into a room and you just say, oh she’s wearing a beautiful dress you don’t really see the woman behind it.” It’s more important to see what carries the dress. The attitude.
You formulate the ideal “female deluxe” in your book which much like a journal drafts what you hope to become and what you would like other women to aspire to be. Are you the female deluxe yet, a women who, in your opinion, knows how to deal with a man hook line and sinker?
Not yet. My mother is there but naturally she has a few years on me.
How would you define the female deluxe?
She’s independent, emotionally intelligent, and insightful. A kind, coherent, feminine woman, who is proud of herself, whether she’s chosen to devote herself to a maternal calling or takes pride in being the CEO of a Wall Street steamroller corporation. She hasn’t compromised her female integrity, the smart woman simply plays the beta woman, whilst inside she may identify more with the alpha woman. If you look beyond the soft-cubism carvings of Art-Deco-glam artiste Tamara De Lempicka you’ll see just that kind of woman; she’s a great influence to me on a personal ‘female logic’ level.
In your book you put together a set of rules for the female deluxe, what are these?
Never complain about being a woman; never assume it’s a secondary gender and you’ll see that being a female is a preferable.
Do I need to ask you if you love being a woman?
Yes you do, and yes I do. Men love women who love to be women. I’m traditional in that sense, which is not to say that I am not modern; I just don’t ever put myself in a subordinate position.
It’s important to acknowledge that your tongue is always firmly planted in your cheek which is a great merit. Are you a funny person Anna?
Yes I think so; I think people laugh a lot when they are with me. I like the wry irony of being a woman, so really humour is a great way to facilitate the message in my book.
Finally, should your book be taken with a pinch of salt Anna, or maybe that should be sugar?
Perhaps, as a whole, yes, but the message should be taken very seriously. My book may “scare” a lot of readers, but if anyone brushes off my book, they probably haven’t understood the message and maybe I have failed in that respect but I’ll leave it up to my readers to incorporate my logic into their own lives.
So go ahead and take a leaf out of Anna’s book, incorporate her message into your life however you will, slip into gender roles that are comfortable for you. If you need a guiding hand try Glamour Puss. Aside from all the saccharine taunts, Madsen’s Glamourpuss ought to be distinguished as an important source for womanhood in this often disorienting climate, and most welcomingly, it’s pleasure reading by Anna herself, and that pleasure is all hers, and obviously, ours too.
photography and text by Liam Feltham