Wednesday 18 September 2019

Katie Byrne: In the real world, women like Huma Abedin overcome break-up heartache through reinvention

Huma Abedin
Huma Abedin
Anthony Weiner Sexting
Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin. Photo: Getty Images
Anthony Weiner and his then wife Huma Abedin pictured together in 2013 when he was running for New York mayor. Photo: AP
Happier times: Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin on their wedding day in 2010
Huma Abedin, right, said she is separating from Anthony Weiner after sexting claims. Photo: Getty Images
Huma Abedin attends the CFDA Fashion Awards in Manhattan, New York, U.S., June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Katie Byrne

Katie Byrne

Nancy Dell'Olio - remember her? Put on her highest heels and famously declared that she felt "fantastico" when it emerged that her boyfriend, Sven-Goran Eriksson, had an affair with fellow Swede Ulrika Jonsson.

Huma Abedin, on the other hand, has declined to speak to the press after filing divorce proceedings against husband Anthony Weiner. She's letting her clothes do the talking instead.

The day after her husband was sentenced to 21 months in prison for sexting a 15-year-old girl, Abedin was photographed wearing a pair of techicolour flower-power flared jeans that could only be described as 'fantastico'.

The seventies-style Alice & Olivia floral embroidered jeans, previously seen on Amal Clooney, are not for the faint-hearted, or, it would seem, the broken-hearted.

Anthony Weiner Sexting
Anthony Weiner Sexting

Abedin, who is Hillary Clinton's right-hand woman, has never shied away from colour, but her look has always been more First Lady than rock chick, more structured shift dress than statement jeans.

It's interesting that she opted for a style that is noticeably, and perhaps intentionally, happy and carefree at a time when the world is expecting her to go to seed.

It's a well-worn myth that a woman's style stagnates in oversized tracksuit bottoms and two-day-old T-shirts when she is getting over a break-up.

That may be how it plays out in rom-coms and women's magazines, but in the real world, most women overcome their devastation through reinvention. They pick themselves up, dust themselves down and start the 5:2 diet.Katy Perry had her shoulder-length hair cut into a daring crop-style a few days after announcing her split from Orlando Bloom.

Gwen Stefani had her hair dip-dyed in purple and black when she left Gavin Rossdale. Vanessa Paradis wore a cut-to-the-naval 'Johnny Who?' dress to the Toronto International Film Festival when her long-term partner Johnny Depp took up with Amber Heard.

Elsewhere, Khloe Kardashian, who lost 35lbs after separating from Lamar Odom, is busy parlaying her own breakover strategy into a global movement. She's now fronting a TV show, Revenge Body, which helps participants get over their heartbreak by overhauling their figures.

Like the creators of the Vendetta Diet, Kardashian believes that "looking great is the best revenge", only she seems to have forgotten that revenge is a dish best served cold.

There is no doubt that breakovers are empowering, but women with fire in their belly have a tendency to take them a step too far.

They lose a little bit too much weight or they go a shade too blonde or they wear clothes that are just a touch too revealing.

Impulsivity and subtlety are not comfy bedfellows, so while a new platinum-blonde crop style might be designed to assert your post-break-up independence, it can leave other people wondering if perhaps the lady doth process too much?

Sometimes it's best to let the dust settle before you start rocking the floral embroidered jeans.

Why are we scared of the v-word?

Mika Simmons, the founder of Lady Garden, a campaign that leverages the power of celebrity to raise awareness of gynaecological cancer, recently wondered why women are "still reluctant to talk about the gynaecological area of their bodies?".

Huma Abedin attends the CFDA Fashion Awards in Manhattan, New York, U.S., June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Huma Abedin attends the CFDA Fashion Awards in Manhattan, New York, U.S., June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Hmmmm, could it be anything to do with the term "lady garden", which sounds like an 18th century euphemism from the same semantic school as 'French letter' and 'heavy petting'?

Granted, most women are reluctant to use the word 'vagina' because it sounds clinical and, like most words beginning with 'v', harsh, yet most women would prefer to drop the v-bomb than come across like Hyacinth Bucket's long-lost daughter.

The same goes for terms that make the vagina sound like the fifth Teletubby - a comic book sound effect or any type of flora or fauna.

It's also advisable to avoid all words beginning with the letter 'g' - the curse word that caused all sorts of commotion when it was used 14 times in Lady Chatterley's Lover and Oprah's very own linguistic invention: 'vajayjay', which sounds more like a cocktail you might order at a glitter-strewn hen party.

This leaves us with a total of zero options, which the founder of the Lady Garden campaign no doubt realised when she tried to find an inoffensive, yet marketable, alternative.

Maybe women would be more inclined to talk about the "gynaecological area of their bodies", as Simmons puts it, if we didn't shy away from using the exact term for it.

Irish Independent

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