This series will cover seven essential things Southern girls must do to earn their keep. While we don’t much care for rules, we do believe there are certain things one simply must accomplish in order to call oneself a true Southern girl. This is just one.
Every Southern girl should introduce themselves to the epitome of a strong Southern woman: Julia Sugarbaker. (Fictional? Yes. Relevant? Even more so.)
Like a lot of little girls in the South my grandmother is one of my heroes, I listen to what my dad tells me and I’m familiar with the Good Book. But, at some point in my life I went looking for another role model and I found it in Julia Sugarbaker.
Julia, elder sister of the dynamic Sugarbaker sisters, is the leading lady on the TV classic, “Designing Women” and practically invented the Southern soliloquy. She’s the perfect mix of charming, sassy, strong, feminine and yes, Southern. She offers up the advice of a gentile grandmother with the bite of a pit bull in a pantsuit. Julia has every character trait you’d want your daughter to have, loves fiercely like a mama bear and is more loyal than a golden retriever.
Though she’s fictional, there’s really not a better role model out there for a young Southern woman, as she runs her own business, stands up for what she believes in, knows the words to just about every hymn in the Baptist hymnal and was a real fashion icon in her heyday.
As if you need any more reasons to get to know her, here are a few more:
Julia is loyal to her family.
After her sister Suzanne was made fun of, Julia went on a tirade against the current Miss Georgia World. Who yells at a pageant girl? Julia Sugarbaker does when you’re threatening her family.
Julia can dish it.
During a fun outing with her friends and their spouses, one of the men piped up and said, in quick summation, that women shouldn’t be in charge of anything outside of the home. Julia responded with, “…It has been the men who have done the law making and the money making and the most of the mischief making! So, if the world isn’t quite what you had in mind you have only yourselves to thank!”
Julia feels the same way about New Orleans that you do.
You know exactly what I mean. You’re excited to get there, have some fun on Bourbon St. and then, like a ton of bricks it hits you and you realize you’re the only person there with any decorum or cleanliness. New Orleans is great, but deep down inside we all feel a little grungy when we get there.
Julia loves and respects the South.
When the New York Times published an article stating that Southerners “eat a lot of dirt.” Upon reading the article she called the editor and let him have it, “…speaking for myself and hundreds of thousands of my Southern ancestors who have evolved through many decades of poverty, strife, and turmoil, I would like for Mr. Weaks to know that we have surely eaten many things in the past, and we will surely eat many things in the future, but– God as my witness– we have never, I repeat, never eaten dirt!”
If you’re a Southern girl, it’s time to get to know Julia Sugarbaker. Maybe skip the brightly colored suits and silk blouses with shoulder pads. There’s a little bit of Julia in every good Southern woman. Introduce yourself.