It isn’t just the plain fact that there is now Angry Bird formal wear in existence that interests me so much as the explanation that accompanies it. Teija Vesterbacka is the wife of a Rovio exec, Rovio made the Angry Birds game; an Angry Bird gown was inevitable.
This probably is the most plausible explanation, but it also demonstrates how people continue to view the role of the executive’s wife. This extends to the First Lady, Samantha Cameron and Sally Bercow. If they do anything we regard as out of the character their position demands we seem to only be able to recast them as a kind of Samantha Stephens from Bewitched character. A silly girl who’s got into a scrape again, “Lucy! ‘Splain”.
We are able to accept Vesterbacka as an amusing walking advertisement for her husband’s company before we can accept even Michelle Obama’s incredible biceps. Those biceps better be the result of heavy homemade pie or baby lifting.
Where the eminently sensible (she just is) Sarah Brown was able to become a leading light in the political world of social networking, Samantha Cameron has remained a silent partner to the current PM. Cameron has been vocal about Samantha Cameron’s early decision to stay out of political life. Samantha Cameron, bar the odd photo call, has only hit the headlines with an old dolphin tattoo and a possible one time Labour voting past.
The Speaker’s wife Sally Bercow has taken no such decision. Taking part in reality TV shows, posing in a bed sheet and joking about vibrators has resulted in the press treating her like a silly child gone off the rails. Speaker Bercow is chastised for not controlling his wife, senior Tories have reportedly demanded the Speaker ‘rein his wife in’.
But who’s the fool here? Samantha Cameron earns her own income through ‘designing’ leather notebooks and handbags. Sally Bercow has chosen to gain income and publicity through, well through other means. Marrying members of the Conservative Party does not mean voting rights are relinquished. Nor does it mean they married into their husband’s job.
The role of wife and partner is a-changing. A male executive or politician’s wife is not some sort of surrogate daughter and trophy to be wheeled out in supportive fancy dress.
Although that Angry Bird dress is oddly enthralling.