On this day we remember the woman, the legend of all times Audrey Hepburn. She was born on 4th May 1929, in a district of Brussels. ‘The style Icon’, ‘the angel’, ‘the diva’ and many other names that people call her with, but I would call her ‘the woman who dared’. The woman whose 85th birthday did inspire the Google’s pink Doodle we see today.
She was not just an actress in the Golden Age of American Cinema, she was a symbol of women power and a great example of what a woman could indeed accomplish. Surviving through a period of great struggle and devastation, in the time of the Second World War, and her rise to stardom is a tale of suffering, courage and determination. She suffered from malnutrition and illness, when the Dutch Famine was at its peak. She ate tulips bulbs which she would dig from underground to survive the famine. This period of striving played a great role in her life at a later stage.
Abandoned by her father, she had to face the brutal realities of life at a very tender age. She had to work as ballet dancer or even as a courier for groups of Nazi people including landlords and caretakers. She was a woman with infinite determination and strength; it was this determination that helped her out of the situation once the war ended.
Audrey dared to be different. She was the one who inspired women to let go off those sky-high stilettos and adopt those flats which she so admired. Her idea was loud and clear “do not try to fit in”. Have the courage to be who you are and everything else will fall in place.
She was engaged to James Hanson in 1952 but she called off the engagement at the last moment because her career demands will not just match. She made her career her priority. Even today the society which we live in perceives that the primary responsibility of a woman is to marry and raise children. They believe that marriage and personal life must come before her goals and aspirations. In her own way Audrey’s actions were a message to the woman of today that she must stand for what she wants and must not succumb to what everybody demands from her. She fearlessly moved on to become a leading actress in many films such as My Fair Lady and Roman Holiday and further also became first actress to win an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA award for a single performance in 1954.
People admire her for her beauty and the charisma she possessed but seldom is she considered as the role model for the perfect woman. But she indeed was a great example for every woman who has ever lived. Her films were themselves a great depiction of feminism. They defied patriarchy rather than struggle in it.
In her first movie Roman Holiday she plays the role of a princess who has all the riches at her disposal but what she longs for is freedom, she therefore secretly runs away to discover life on her own. It is what women today really want, freedom, to escape from the bondages and prejudices of the world, away from the eyes that are always ready to judge her. But the question is why do women need seek this escape?
Her film Sabrina is a satire on how the world uses and controls the woman as per their needs. She plays the role of a girl who is made to fall in love with a man for his own monetary benefits. What follows is the perfect representation of how this world exploits women to fulfill their motives.
Women doubtlessly have been manipulated and mistreated time and again for various reasons. We all know that even today, marriages still remain a medium to get deals signed, without considering the aspirations and desires of the girl whose fate is then sealed for the rest of her life. She then has to survive every injustice for the sake of the reputation and name of the family.
Why a girl is alone expected to tolerate every injustice in lieu of her family’s name?
Why are young girls still targeted as a means to defame her kinsfolk?
Audrey’s films and her life were in itself a great motivation, worthy of acknowledgement by every woman who today aspires to be confident and independent in this world that creates hurdles at every step for her to be so. In spite of everything the woman today still needs to tread out her way and rise above all to create her own identity. To prove her credibility and worth she has to continuously endeavor in this predominantly man’s world.
Audrey was one of them; she was and will continue to be an inspiration, an icon, a representation of feminism and successful portrayal of womanhood for the time to come. Because the world where women are no longer just objects of amusement and a means to satisfy man’s desires, still remains a distant dream. It will need many more women like Audrey, the woman who fought all odds and became the third greatest female screen legend, to show the world that women do not need a man to survive.