Home Arts Elegance and charm from a finishing school in a box

Elegance and charm from a finishing school in a box

by Archives January 12, 2005

EDMONTON (CUP) — For the modern unwashed masses, knowing the difference between a cocktail fork and a fish fork might not seem terribly important, especially for a newly minted career girl or boy. But the creators of UdefineU — a new self-help DVD set for ambitious professional women — would (politely) beg to differ.

The four-DVD UdefineU set is broken up into four half-hour segments: Posture and Poise, Voice and Speech, Etiquette and Fundamentals of Style. The result is more or less a finishing school in a box for upper middle-class women — and only women — with a desire to gracefully move up the rungs of the corporate ladder. The series has been developed as a strategy for ambitious professional women to make themselves stand out, through positive — and distinctly feminine — virtues.

It’s the focus on feminine mystique that makes the whole effort seem a little odd and antiquated. And while anyone can agree — female, male, professional or not — with the benefits of many of the series’ lessons (tips on healthy posture, respectful social behaviour, correct pronunciation, clear and confident communication, etc.), the importance of other lessons taught for their inherent girl power (things like how to sensually reach for your glass using a limp-wristed ballet port-

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