The first one was Brigitte Bardot; her bust was quite décollété, but not like the one in Delacroix's painting. It was, to say the least, startling but very popular and likely to stir French pride.
While that was a tough act to follow, others replaced her with changing tastes and times. There was Mirielle Mathieu, Catherine Deneuve, Laetitia Casta, and others.
The present representation of Marianne is Evelyne Thomas; but not without criticism from the French elite, who have the necessity to have an opinion about everything.
|Evelyne Thomas, the latest one.|
While, courtesy of the French over 125 years ago, we have Lady Liberty in New York harbor, we have not yet moved in the actual direction of casting some real woman in that idealistic, allegorical role. Our depiction of her on coinage is decidedly unimaginative, for example.
A while back I suggested using Britney Spears as a model in allegorical representations of liberty. (Or liberté, if you prefer.) That, given our National Temperament and our political inability to agree on anything, would go over like a lead balloon. Or why not Snooki as Lady Liberty, for God's sake? She effectively represents the underdog, which Americans side with.
Or any other choice. If we personified Lady Liberty, naming her Jennifer (for example), there would be someone immediately taking exception of her race, her ethnicity, her name, her age, where she came from, her body, how she's dressed, and her politics (if known). It would become another political issue, of which we have enough. One more reason to tie up the government, and nothing gets done.
In short, I think that the problem we have is that we've become a nation of petty crabs and scolds! We might consider changing our national motto from "E pluribus unum" to "I bitch, therefore I am."*
This is our national malaise. No, it's not because we don't have a Marianne; it's because we've become too darned intolerant. We ridicule people because of what they eat, how they talk**, what flags they display, what recreational pursuits they choose, or so forth. This is nothing less than cultural imperialism on some peoples' parts!
We have to be mired in a national hyperseriousness as a result. A little whimsy, or humor, is automatically viewed with suspicion.
Remember: Cinco de Mayo is a recently accepted American tradition, and others are likely to be adopted. Especially if it provides and excuse to drink!
*An apology to M. Descartes.
**Bugs Bunny talks with a New York accent, and I think that's cool.