Victoria Summerley: A taste of the Wright stuff

Tales From The Water Cooler: Kim Kardashian is a role model who negates 100 years of feminism
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The Independent Online

The pronouncement this week by Dr Helen Wright, headmistress of St Mary's Calne, in Wiltshire, that a picture of Kim Kardashian sums up what is wrong with society today, has been much discussed in the columns of our august journals.

Reactions seem to range from "Oh, go away!" (the younger female ones) to smirking references to Kim K's curves (the older male ones). I agree that Dr Wright's comments might seem a bit over the top at first glance, but let's look at it from her point of view.

Kim Kardashian is a role model who negates 100 years of feminism. She is the product of a society that doesn't value education – indeed, that doesn't value women unless they look like babes, and go out with "hot" guys.

When you think of the battles women have fought to get employers take them seriously; to get the vote, for heaven's sake (only 84 years ago, for women over 21); to be able to operate on equal terms – and perhaps, if they're lucky, equal pay – with men, then I think Dr Wright can be forgiven for getting a little tetchy.

In a world that finds a mani-pedi more interesting than a master's degree, we need people like Dr Wright to shove an elbow in our ribs and give us a reality check (I'm talking real "reality" here, not television "reality").

It is not the job of headmistresses to be "cool". It is their job to turn out young women who can offer something of value to the world rather than a photo-opportunity.

No wonder they start shouting when the message they are trying to put across is drowned out by a chorus of inanity.

As my 18-year-old daughter might say: "Go Helen!"