four feminine elements

thinking — Danielle on December 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Of all the conventions of chick lit, my favourite by far is the quartet of queens – feminine foursomes. Like a deck of cards, each character has her suit. From Little Women to Mean Girls, from The Robber Bride to Sex and the City, this elemental formation of four recurs again and again.

Raised a skeptic, this has become my favourite kind of claptrap. I like the simplicity of the symbolism, the way it orders chaos neatly into quarters, and the way it provides a shorthand for describing essential personalities. Of course I identify with one even as I aspire to be all four. What about you?

The Queen of Diamonds is the female fire element. She is creative, combative, explosive. Beyond bright. A live wire. Fierce passions that rise and subside like lightning strikes. Intense ideas that burn bright and burn out. She signifies second chances, she loves a makeover, she lives to gamble, she deals in both delight and destruction.

The Queen of Spades is the female air element. She is an intimidating intellect. She articulates and manipulates. Her power is invisible, scentless, impossible to touch, yet it is a fantastic force. She has an untouchable quality – she’s analytical, dispassionate.  She is an authority in contrariness and control.

The Queen of Clubs is the female earth element. She is practical verging on prosaic. She is a nurturer, a manager, someone who makes things happen, someone who takes care. She is deeply sensual, super sexy, comfortable in her own body, feet firmly on the ground. She bestows abundance and obstinance.

The Queen of Hearts is the female water element. She is empathetic, emotional. Her romanticism is both refreshing and ridiculous. She takes the shape of her vessel, and easily escapes a tight grasp. She reflects those around her. She envelopes and evaporates, deserts and drowns. She deals in both despair and divinity.

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    1. [...] of Final Fashion identifies four feminine ‘elements’ in pop [...]

    2. Hi Danielle,
      I think it’s a smart way of, like you said, organizing the chaos that is the feminin ways and behaviour. But i was wondering, why not associate (since it is traditionnaly view like that by the tarot readers) diamonds (money and other material ressources) with earth while clubs (creativity and impulses) with fire?
      Best wishes,

      Comment by Mlle Viana — December 22 2011 @ 1:04 pm
    3. Hi Mlle Viana, the way I was taught was that diamonds=wands=fire and clubs=pentacles=earth, I’ve noticed that there is a wide variance of inconsistencies in the way tarot is interpreted, so I chose the pattern that makes the most sense to me.

      This is my favourite tarot deck: http://www.amazon.com/Enchanted-Tarot-Book-Cards/dp/0312050798 – of course the textile art element is beautiful, it’s also a very well-balanced deck in feminist terms.

      Comment by Danielle — December 22 2011 @ 2:27 pm
    4. [...] by Ken Russell. I particularly enjoy the duality of these two photos – a vivacious girl in a quartet of girls, and then again surrounded by Teddy Boys, in a scene of bomb wreckage. BONUS: teddy boys grow [...]

      Pingback by final fashion » click click – 22-12-11 — December 22 2011 @ 6:31 pm
    5. I am such a sucker for personality tests of this sort. It’s like astrology without the damnation of being born a, say, Virgo when you know you’re really an Aries. (Of course, I’m a Gemini and am therefore EVERY SIGN.) I think it’s telling that these sorts of quizzes are such a staple of the teen magazine–I remember trying to write my own as a teenager, actually.

      If you haven’t read “Cult of Personality,” you might enjoy it–takes a look at the sudden import of personality tests (not these quizzes so much as things like Myers-Briggs) and what it means from a sort of cultural/capitalist perspective. I touched on it when I wrote about body types as a sort of personality test (me, I’m never any body shape, which is so frustrating…) http://www.the-beheld.com/2011/07/am-i-apple-or-pear-part-i-body-types-as.html

      (Also, am so glad to have found your blog and am looking forward to more!)

      Comment by Autumn — January 14 2012 @ 8:21 pm

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