I have a problem with being “Ladylike”-and I write this as somebody whose general viewpoint is that we shouldn’t take offence at every little thing. I am not ladylike; neither do I consider myself to be very ‘feminine ‘. I’m just….well, me, to be honest. And I’m getting tired of being told to be more Ladylike.
The very word is something that confuses me; essentially, Ladylike is to be a lady. At the age of seventeen, I have ostensibly yet to reach this; after all, I am not yet legally an adult. And it has connotations of being vaguely royal. Again, I am not royal, as in the daughter of an Earl. So what is Ladylike?
It has connotations of Femininity; yet this is something idealised now, I feel. A quick look at a dicationary says something along the lines of “the enjoyment in being female”. But what exactly is female? There seems to be a perception that it subscribes to something we set ourselves as the ideal of beauty-something that doesn’t “cover all”, therefore we perceive something outside of this to potentially be ‘ugly’. (That’s also a horrible word.) But this is also something seemingly gendered; because of my gender, I also apparently have to subscribe to this.
(Having not considered myself to be very feminine, additionally not to be Ladylike, I have to say that I don’t do this..)
To put a feminist slant on this debate-y seeming blog post; obviously there are some biological differences between men and women, yet there are some things that I can do that a male can also do. I can lift tables. I can eat a sandwich. I can vote. I can drink from a can and not a glass.
To be a female should not necessarily stop me from doing these things, and that’s also for the perception of being Ladylike. But I will keep doing them, because I feel that Ladylike is a bit of an outdated perception. I can’t keep up! And neither am I going to attempt to anymore.
If I could, I’d want to redefine this word; Ladylike should be what it is like to be a ‘lady’-a new sort of women who already exists, who has what Ann Shoket is coining to be “The Big Life”. It should also emphasise a can-do attitude, rather than having this foisted-upon perception; we can do virtually anything we put our minds to. (We just may not be equal.) But in my view, women are good in government, good as Doctors, good as teachers; we’re blooming great at what we do.
So there you have it; my problem with Ladylike and why I wish to redefine in. But what do you think-maybe we should subscribe more to being Ladylike?