Under the wrong influence

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The result of the Google search said it all. Kate and Pippa Middleton are influential women. They’ve made TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people of the year list. I’m about to join the conspiracy theorists now and say that the internet is out to get us. We’re being lied to by the authorities. We’re all going to die.

The death theory might be a bit much but surely we’ve reached the point of no return as a society if we’re holding up middle class poster girls as ‘influential.’

The magazine’s European editor, Catherine Mayer, said: “In an age of bleating, tweeting, confessional celebrity, the middle-class Middletons show real class.”

So that’s what the world is missing, real class.

That is what young women are supposed to aspire to.

I’m advocating a mass burning of Hello! as soon as possible. It’s time for widescale protest, does everybody have a bra to burn?

I’m not saying I have anything against Pippa per se, but as a woman with a considerable understanding of feminist politics, I’m offended.

She’s an averagely intelligent, average looking very well off girl who earns a very decent living working two days a week for an online party magazine owned by her parents. It’s called ‘The Party Times,’ for anyone who wants to have a look.

The thing is, in all honesty, if I could earn enough to fund trips around Europe and a designer wardrobe just by working two days a week for my parents, I probably would. Very few of us would turn it down.

But the fact of the matter is that most women are working for meagre salaries and still a long way off being on a par with their male counterparts. There are still so many examples of women not being considered quite up the job and dinosaurs who think girls are only good for looking pretty and doing ‘women’s jobs.’

And then we have a reputable magazine coming out and and saying that the Middletons have to be admired for bringing a bit of class to proceedings. So as well as the fact that they’re pretty little things who consider attending functions a career choice, we’re supposed to welcome a rebirth of the class concept as well.

It’s a double whammy. A bit like a ‘two for the price of one’ on insulting your intelligence.

The sad fact is that holding the Middletons up as influential because they wear nice clothes and appear at carefully chosen events, it’s no different to little girls worshipping WAGS and wanting to marry a footballer.

We will never move forward as women if we only focus on what or who women are as opposed to what they do and what they achieve.

Looking up to women simply because they dress well and come from a nice country estate is essentially the same as discriminating against a single mother with three kids from a council estate.

If we tell our little girls they should aspire to grow up and marry a footballer, we’re fostering a generation of women who don’t see themselves as anything other than accessories - there to decorate a sometimes not very pretty world.

That reinforces the trophy concept and so we arrive at a point where trophy wives are held up as influences.

Among the men represented on the TIME list are US President Barack Obama, the Catholic Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan and China’s Vice President Xi Jinping. Love them or loathe them, those men are on the list because of what they do.

There are women on there - Angela Merkel among them - who are equally deserving of the title influential.

The Middletons however don’t deserve to be there. And even when they are there, they’re the only ones who don’t get a place each. I bet that annoyed them. They are in the magazine as they are in life - grouped together in a tidy little ribbon tied package of prettiness and conservatism. Their presence on the list is pointless except for the fact that it demeans hard working women the world over.

TIME’s Europe Editor Mayers says it all; “How do the sisters feel about their influence? They aren’t saying. Latter-day Mona Lisas, they smile mysteriously and keep their mouths closed.”

Fine influences they are.