Brigitte Bardot was the “locomotive of women’s history”? It sounds like something Roger Vadim concocted to promote a movie. Actually, Simone de Beauvoir said it in a 1959 essay titled Brigitte Bardot and the Lolita Syndrome. Simone explained, “ She has no idea what her rights or her duties could be. She follows her inclinations. She eats when she’s hungry and makes love as simply… A saint would sell his soul to the devil to see Bardot dance.”
Today the locomotive turns 75. According to a profile by AFP:
PARIS — Brigitte Bardot, the 1950s sex goddess who became a feminist icon and symbol of sexual liberation, turns 75 on Monday with her native France at her feet and a very first exhibition in her honour.
Now a virtual recluse who walks on crutches because of arthritis, Bardot will neither attend the Tuesday launch of the giant exhibit — Brigitte Bardot: The Carefree Years — nor appear on camera.
But in a voiced comment on French television she said: “I am proud to have an exhibition, to be recognised for what I’ve done with my life.”
One of the 20th century’s last living icons, the little girl who loved stuffed animals and ballet dancing grew up to become a cult figure of freedom.
From teen idol to fashion goddess to sex bomb, Bardot wound up embodying the spirit of the times — the empowerment of women and the tide of sexual liberation. Read more.
She certainly had an impact on me at an impressionable age. I’m not prepared to say where memoir ends and fiction begins, but my vocation as poet and orator was inspired by Brigitte Bardot & Her Bikini.