I was 8, my favourite colour was lilac, I had an obsession with baking Barbie fairy cakes and my favourite film was Bridget Jones' Diary.
Wait, before any of you rush off to report my parents for child abuse (the film was rated 15...eeek), let me say that Bridget Jones' Diary was my guilty pleasure. Forget the fact that my favourite band was ABBA, which I should feel horribly guilty for I know, I used to watch this film in secret.
Am I really admitting this?
Friday's at school were spent in a fit of excitement, knowing that as soon as 3pm came, I could rush home, finish a project on The Tudors, tell my Mum I was watching Crossroads (my 2nd favourite, and probably more age appropriate, film) and spend the next 2 hours fascinated by Bridget and her really big knickers.
While most 8 year old girls in 2001 looked up to the likes of Clare from Steps, Britney Spears or Tracy Beaker, Bridget Jones' was my idol. I never went as far as lining my bedroom walls with her picture (Barbie took up most of the space) but I was well and truly hooked.
Thinking back, I don't think I could have given a reason for my obsession. I think it was perhaps the fact that I was 7 years too young to be watching the film AND because Barbie fairy cakes never looked quite as good as Hugh Grant. What can I say, I was an 8 year old with taste.
Within 6 months my obsession had ceased and I was suddenly more interested in Brian from Westlife. Aside from being blessed with the obvious talent of being able to quote the whole movie by the age of 9, my Bridget Jones' phase never really provided me with much else. It hadn't changed my life and it certainly hadn't supplied me with super amounts of knowledge, although I did learn that big knickers are apparently a turn on. Really, it had just taught me how to convince my parents that I was doing something good when I was really doing something I shouldn't be. "No honestly Mum, there aren't going to be boys there...promise!"
I never really gave Bridget much thought apart from at sleepovers and girly days with my best friends. I impressed them with my recital of Hugh Grant's poetry ("there was a young woman from Ealing, who p*ssed all over the ceiling...." you get the drift) and whenever I had to think about who I wanted to be when I grew up, my thoughts would instantly go to Bridget Jones. Because she's a journalist obviously, not because she's a "wanton sex goddess, with a very bad man between her thighs."
However, 3 nights ago I decided to embrace my inner girl and have a bit of a pamper session. I threw on my onesie (I'm not even ashamed to admit I LOVE my onesie), made a hot chocolate with a spoonful of Nutella for extra indulgence and put Bridget Jones' in my DVD player. I'm not going to lie, the film just doesn't thrill me as much as it used to when I was 8. Nevertheless, I thought I'd give it a go because after all, it would have been a shame to not appreciate the beauty of Hugh Grant falling into a river:
|The picture just doesn't do him justice|
Despite the fact that she's obviously rubbish with men, Bridget Jones has so many killer traits going for her:
1) She has a career and is actually good at what she does.
2) She's a good friend, although her friends are absolute loons but nobody is perfect, right?
3) She can handle her drink.
4) She's got a great relationship with her parents.
5) Although she's a terrible cook (blue soup, anybody?), she has her own flat AND a kind of okay-ish wardrobe.
Now I know she has more than 5 amazing characteristics, but I can smell my dinner cooking and I'm afraid food has to come before writing out a list of a fictional character's good traits. But what I'm trying to say is that although it may not seem like it at first glance, Bridget Jones is an exceptionally good role model.
She accepts her flaws e.g thighs that touch and a bum the size of Europe but chooses to embrace them rather than change herself altogether. She opts for the Spanx instead of ditching her infamous tub of Ben & Jerry's, reminding us women that it's okay to crave a whole tub of Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice-cream sometimes. The world isn't going to end if we devour another spoonful and no man is going to find us less attractive if our bum might resemble a continent rather than a teeny tiny country.
She may have an addiction to all things bad for her but sometimes the only thing that can turn a bad day good is a glass of cheap wine, a Marlboro Light and a karaoke session to hits such as "I'm Every Woman"and "All By Myself."
And yes, she may also have a tendency to choose the bad boys over the lovely boys like Colin Firth, but let's face it - who wouldn't choose Hugh Grant over Colin Firth? She's only female, after all.
So she isn't J.K Rowling, Adele, Dawn Porter or Michele Obama. In fact, she isn't even real. But in terms of being a role model, there's no denying that Bridget Jones is definitely a contender. Suddenly, those nights of sneaking downstairs to watch the film after everybody had gone to bed, and hiding the video tape in a 'Spice Girls: The Movie" case seem oh so worth it. Because Bridget Jones did actually teach me something all those years ago and yes, it's something of value: it doesn't matter whether you're just a bit rubbish when it comes to love, whether you will always be just a little bit fat or even if your decision to have sex with your boss now means you're pretty much jobless because in the end, all that matters is that you're happy. And after sharing half a bottle of vodka with her crazy friends and singing to Chaka Khan's greatest hits, that's exactly what Bridget is: happy.
"I will not be defeated by a bad man and an American stick insect. Instead I choose vodka. And Chaka Khan."