Monday, February 2, 2009

That Martha Washington was one hot first lady!

Can someone please explain to me why we should care about Martha Washington more and/or find her more interesting now because historians have revealed how hot she actually was?

From The Washington Post, "Fresh Look at Martha Washington: Less First Frump, More Foxy Lady":
Our image of the mother of our country, vague and insubstantial as it is, is drawn from portraits painted after her death showing a frumpy, dumpy, plump old lady, a fussy jumble of needlework in her lap, wearing what could pass for a shower cap with pink sponge rollers rolled too tight underneath.

But today, 250 years after Martha and George tied the knot, a handful of historians are seeking to revamp the former first lady's fusty image, using the few surviving records of things she wrote, asking forensic anthropologists to do a computerized age-regression portrait of her in her mid-20s and, perhaps most importantly, displaying for the first time in decades the avant-garde deep purple silk high heels studded with silver sequins that she wore on her wedding day.
Contrary to popular opinion, even among some historians who should know better, Martha was not fat when she married George. Yes, she liked to read the Bible, but she devoured gothic romance novels, too. She capably ran the five plantations left to her when her first husband died, bargaining with London merchants for the best tobacco prices. And unknown to most, while George was courting her she had another suitor, a Virginia planter with much greater wealth and stature. In a little-known letter, Charles Carter wrote to his brother about what a beauty she was and how he hoped to "arouse a flame in her breast."
I'm not saying we shouldn't care about America's first first lady--in fact, I like the part of the article which describes how she was actually an astute businesswoman--but is the new!surprising!exciting! fact that she was a foxy fashionista really relevant and newsworthy? I guess we should give Martha her due, but the whole article just seems a bit weird to me.

(Thanks to my friend Lauren for the link.)


(secret) lives said...

At the time, first lady was essentially an office a woman could "legally hold" by gaining power through her mate. Now, however, I think the concept of a first lady is entirely obsolete, implying that the president will necessarily be male. said...

And necessarily be married, which is part of the whole "first lady" racket that no one ever really talks about. Can you imagine a single president, male or female? The media would have a field day!