Friday, April 20, 2012
When auburn-haired Yvette Guilbert walked out onto the stages of Paris, France, in the late 1800's, in a trailing yellow dress and long black gloves, she might have been any young songstress about to give a performance. But when she opened her mouth, she revealed that she was, first and foremost, an in-your-face woman. Her songs and patter were unapologetically risque and all the more outrageous because she looked so "sweet" (as ladies of the day were intended to look). Some called her songs "immoral," "raunchy," or "macabre," but Guilbert's presentation of life as it appeared in the streets of Paris (and everywhere else, as well?) included the realities that were usually hidden from view: the pain, the passion and the poverty she grew up with and her listeners understood. In-your-face women can help others look inside themselves and understand that they are not alone.