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Sunday
Mar272011

Shakira: Brainiac Smart Sensuality Activist with Curves

Shakira photographed for November 2009 i-D

Note from Anne: This article on Shakira has zoomed back into the top 5 today after a hiatus. The sensual muses of the universe want my points clear to new friends, coming to AOC from my first ‘Parisian’ post on Benjamin Kanarak Blog.

Shakira is one of our most important AOC muses, a spectacular example of the Smart Sensuality woman in action. This article was originally written in November 2009, in the midst of the furor over Ralph Lauren’s dismissal of Filippa Hamilton for being too fat, and Karl Lagerfeld’s comments about fat, potato-chip-eating mommies.

This controversy led to my creation of the Body|Beauty|Culture channel at AOC, and later in the year adding my Sensually Yours column. The Ralph Lauren photo-shopping of Filippa Hamilton led to major new content directions on this website, especially with women’s rights also under assault in America. I see these events as part of the same continuum to control women’s bodies.

A bit of clarification of terms in this article for new readers. Cultural Creatives are the emerging new values group, gaining strength since the 1960s again the Modern values, which are very American and defined by winning, whatever it takes.

Cultural Creatives are concerned about issues like environment and other activism topics. They are disproportionately female but not universal followers of style and fashion.

The Smart Sensuality woman is my term, created to address the woman who embraces both style and activism. Like Shakira, this often luxury consumer also embraces sensuality and believes that libido is a powerful force in the universe, especially in women. This is why I describe her as smart and sexy with heart.

Loving Her Curves and Working Hard to Keep Them

Only women running wild can try to keep up with Shakira in November 2009.

Continuing her interview tour promoting “She Wolf”, our Anne of Carversville ‘real woman’ muse (Saint) Shakira has a ‘curvaceous’, Smart Sensuality sexy layout in i-D magazine. via Popaholic

Rest assured that Shakira will never be in a Ralph Lauren ad, or one for Chanel. Neither designer can handle Smart Sensuality women, who must be trimmed down to size before they are acceptable for prime time viewing.

I doubt that Shakira’s too concerned about what either Ralph Lauren or Karl Lagerfeld thinks about her curvaceous, sexy, powerful body. She may be small, but I sense that Shakira could take down Karl Lagerfeld in a heartbeat.

In reality, Shakira has much of the world eating out of her palm — men far richer than either Lagerfeld or Lauren.

Shakira | Permanently Committed to A Better World

Like their sexy gal pal, the Smarty Pants guys are concerned about the real issues of our times. Only powerful thinking and strong alliances will save the planet from the devastating effects of global poverty, women’s subjugation, lack of childhood education and environmental catastrophe.

With Howard Buffett and Carlos Slim Helu on her side, Shakira is cruising in her determined crusade to change the world.

Shakira in November 2009 i-D

Shakira: Connected to Womanly Sensuality

Shakira inspires — not women who can never be too rich or too thin — but sexy, talented, confident women who want to make a difference to the planet and her people. I love her as a role model for women.

Music reviewers of Shakira’s new She Wolf video tend to miss the point of its overt sexuality, processing Shakira’s cagey-moves only through the lens of good-time sexy and not sexual politics.  I see a strong, womanly message in ‘She Wolf’, but then tracking women’s sexuality is my business.

Embracing our sensual womanhood and rejecting air-brushed minis of our real selves is each woman’s challenge, and not one left to dictatorial designers, deciding and defining what is an aspirational beautiful woman to us.

Even Shakira has her moments of self-doubt, singing lyrics that address her “humble breasts” and an admonishment to “lose those pounds”. Weight and body image are never far from women’s lives.

When it comes to the Ralph Lauren-Karl Lagerfeld ad conversation about weight, the question is when does ‘thin enough’ dictate anorexia and debilitating health versus a glowing, confident, healthy and energetic body?

Neither designer embraces women who look sensually powerful. Now that I’ve looked at a range of photos of Filippa Hamilton and Valentina Zelyaeva, what I see is the need to cut away their sexuality, not only pounds.

The answers to self-defined beauty lie within ourselves and not the ads of fashion designers.

French women rejected this oppressive mantle ages ago and are known as the most self-confident, ‘unique’ and stylish women in the world. Yes, French women are known for being thinner than American women, but perhaps their own she-wolf identity nourishes them, rather than belittling their psyches.

Shakira Acting Presidential

Shakira’s political personal power and charisma will be center stage next month in Portugal, when she will help to present an ALAS-sponsored early-childhood education proposal to heads of state at the Ibero-American summit in Portugal. “We have high expectations to get something really concrete for the kids,” she says.

Let’s return to the New York Times June 2009 in-depth article on Shakira, one that gives us insights into just how our Smart Sensuality patron saint works a presidential crowd. The scene is last year’s Ibero-American Summit in El Salvador, where Shakira and the ALAS folks were armed with a major infusion of capital from Howard Buffett and Carlos Slim.

“We are here to initiate the creation of a grand alliance, between the public sector and civil society, to protect the most fragile people in our population, the children.” She noted the economic crisis — “We realize that the coming period will be a difficult one” — but moved on to her talking points. She cited research to the effect that “for each dollar invested in the early education of a child, this child will eventually return to the state $17” (an I.D.B. figure). She spoke of the “regional working group” that would be set up as a result of this meeting, describing its structure and goals, then concluded, “Let us find the strength to defend the very youngest in these difficult times.”

When the speeches were over, Shakira bolted to a reception room. The president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, proved to be a fleet-footed head of state and was soon trying to charm Shakira with praise. With slicked hair and a forceful black mustache, Zelaya came from a big landowning family and was well into an undistinguished term tainted by scandal. Unsmiling, Shakira pressed him for specifics on his early-childhood programs and to make concrete commitments for the future, which put the man back on his heels. In came Chile’s president, Michelle Bachelet, and Shakira turned to her happily, crying out, “Mi heroína!” and embracing her. They chatted for a while, with the Honduran struggling to insert himself into the conversation.

A Results Oriented Woman

Shakira may be charming, but she’s a bottom-line, results-oriented woman when it comes to children’s education and other activist passions. It is Shakira’s ability to use her brainiac sensuality and ‘effect’ on men, while also launching forces with women like Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, who has already DONE something about children’s education in Chile that gets a person noticed on Shakira’s radar.

Talk is cheap, especially in a global recession. Latin American presidents don’t have a particularly good track record on educating poor children. If anyone can be an igniting sparkler in reorienting Latin American priorities (and American ones, too), it’s Shakira.

photo via Cultura CrashersCurvaceous Principles

Those ‘dreadful’ curves remind us that female principles are on the ascendency in the world, while patriarchal ones wane. Simply stated, the globe and its people cannot survive with the luxury designer, Modern message that he who has the most toys wins.

Speaking of French people, Bernault Arnaud understands the emerging Cultural Creative reality and is acquiring and repositioning brands to address more relevant messages. The Modern guys remain stuck in the old groove, honestly believing that women aspire to be the thinnest-possible baubles on the arms of rich men, saying ‘let them eat cake’ to the rest of us.

When I look at Smart Sensuality women like Madonna, Angelina Jolie, Queen Rania and Shakira, I honestly don’t know who these Modern values women are anymore. Paris Hilton remains a Modern values woman.

Even Ivanka Trump, marrying Jared Kushner next weekend, operates under a different public image than her father, The Donald. Very proud of her dad, Ivanka doesn’t hesitate to say that his “winner take all” persona and brand message doesn’t resonate in her ears.

Perhaps it’s time to just listen to the Smart Sensuality ladies, tuning out to brand messages that don’t mesh with those of our icons. They have real success in my play book. Let’s just tune out our inner critic,  focus on the women we admire, and tune out the Karl Lagerfelds and Ralph Laurens of the world.

They mean well, but distorting the reality of our lives as they do, we’ll never get out of psychological hell and self-doubt if we align ourselves with fictitious role models that reduce us to nothingness.

I say: “Let’s be she-wolves” and run with one of our best-possible role models, the woman called Shakira. Anne

Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet Follow’s Shakira’s Lead and Focuses on the Young Anne

And our almost always top article at Anne of Carversville: Shakira & Howard Buffett: Attached at the Hip Philanthropy Bedfellows Anne

 

Reader Comments (2)

True, Shakira is a LOT more than a pretty face. She's also a top notch mind, and compassion to boot.

July 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn O. Mason

Inspiring, informative and beautiful post. Thank you.

March 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMemy Selfni

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