This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner:
Vicki spent an hour getting herself ready. She tied a diaphanous scarf round her head, stuck a yellow rose in it, and put a lot of makeup on her flat, smooth, pale face. She looked striking, and flustered because of the lipstick she had rubbed into her cheekbones.
‘One thing you can be sure of,’ said Dexter in the car. ‘No-one else in the place will be dressed like you.’
How would you know, thought Vicki; you never go to any places. ‘Why don’t you ever wear makeup, Thena?’ she said.
‘Athena doesn’t believe in makeup,’ said Dexter. ‘Do you dear. She’s got beautiful skin.’
‘I don’t know how to put it on,’ said Athena.
‘You don’t need it, dear,’ said Dexter.
‘I wouldn’t mind a bit of feminine mystique, once in a while,’ said Athena.
‘You don’t want that rubbish,’ said Dexter.
Athena sat beside him in the front seat with straight spine and folded hands. It alarmed Vicki to see her shoulders tremble with holding back. ‘Elizabeth used to be against makeup,’ she chattered. ‘But now she even puts polish on her toenails. She says, ‘‘I’ve made my reputation as a strong woman. I reckon I’ve earned the right to a couple of red blobs on my extremities.”’ Athena laughed. ‘She’s clever, isn’t she.’
The meaning of the "I've made my reputation as a strong woman" and "I’ve earned the right to a couple of red blobs on my extremities." are unclear to me is my understanding correct?
Does "I've made my reputation as a strong woman. I reckon I’ve earned the right to a couple of red blobs on my extremities" mean "I made myself as a strong woman and every one know me as a strong woman, I reckon it is my right to polish my nails"?
Does the sentence "It alarmed Vicki to see her shoulders tremble with holding back" literally mean "Vicki saw that Athena's shoulders are trembling because she was sitting with straight spine and folded arm"? Or does Athena want to alarm something to Vicki with this posture?