Do Ladies still exist?

13 Nov

Is there a difference between being female and being a lady?

In the Oxford English Dictionary each of the above words is used to define the other, so theoretically it would appear not. So why is it, that on various occasions I have been referred to as being extremely unladylike when I am, what is termed; a female?

‘Unladylike’ I believe refers to an element of grotesqueness in my behaviour. (I don’t know where that idea came from) which points to the fact that whilst my physical body may be that of a female, my mannerisms, actions and conduct reflect that of a man (no sexism intended, because I mean a man, not a gentleman). Therefore; burping, farting, swearing, slouching and having conversations about particular types of subject matter such as sex (‘shagging’) or alcohol are generally not stereo-typical of women, although these days, they more often than not do form this stereotype.

(Yes The Below 3 Photographs are of me behaving quite the opposite of a ‘Lady’)

 I am the first to admit that I do all of the above and worse things unfortunately but find it highly disappointing that I do. Ultimately I can control it, but it is the society that I am surrounded with that makes it okay to do this. Conversely then, whilst my other half may complain that I behave rather uncouth and embody the unattractive elements of male behaviour as a female, it is okay, because I can argue that I am simply a product of the society I live in.

Wrong…

As a child I was brought up with manners, to behave a certain way, as a young girl to not do certain things here, nor do certain things there (by this I mean my father telling me that the only place for a female to break wind was in the bathroom). I was told by my parents that I was beautiful, their princess. Everything a young woman wants to hear. But there was no strict manual for me once I hit adulthood to know what my role as a ‘female’ in society was.

The media provoked a certain image as I grew into adulthood ranging from that of the model of the celebrity, to the sleazy ladette sitting on a street kerb drunk and confrontational from a binge drinking marathon. Novels I read in school portrayed Elizabeth Bennet types and the world I was surrounded with consequently mirrored this mixed up fusion of stereotypes of women.

 

I was confused and to be honest I still am.

I would like to point out that I am not a feminist. I do not believe in equal rights for women and men because quite frankly I firmly believe a male and a female’s role in society to be extremely different and that if we were to strive to have or have what is termed ‘equal rights’ the world would be sincerely more mixed up than it already is.

For me, a woman’s role has always begun at home within the family and a man’s role, away from home outside of that family. Whether for ease of translation for you as the reader that means a female as a mother figure and male as a family breadwinner then that is your interpretation, but I am in no way endorsing that vision. Decades ago, perhaps I would have, but it is quite clear from both the above and from the media and environment that surrounds both you and I, there is no way such a hierarchy could exist and thrive anymore.

But what went wrong and where?

Where did this effeminate image of the female in skirt/dress and heels all preened and proper go?

And at what point did it become acceptable for a female to garnish herself with the most detestable of male traits?

I obviously do not hold the answers to these questions but what I am hoping that I do hold is the key (okay perhaps not the key but one of the many keys) to open one (of the many) locks to changing the above, because ultimately I want to be attractive and not just because of my looks. I want to be attractive for my many physical and mental attributes. I want to appear lady-like and most importantly of all I want to be able to demonstrate my respectability which is something most females appear to have forgotten about; self-respect and respect for others, whether that be family friends or partners.

I am not however, saying that us females are the ones that are completely responsible for the slowly spreading ‘ladette’ culture though, as recent thinking has had me wondering whether the absence of gentlemanly conduct has led to the decline in ‘real’ ladies?  For example: I cannot remember the last time a
male held a door open for me, the last time that a male pulled out a chair for me to sit down (unless it was part of his job as a waiter), the last time a
male took off his hat in my presence or even the last time males of my party stood up when a female left the table.

 How many of you would laugh if the latter did occur though? Hmmm…Well perhaps there is our answer.

In 1969, Jilly Cooper published her book; How to Stay Married, a relationship manual which when read now contains what some may term ‘controversial’
advice concerning how to keep a marriage together.  However, after 42 years it has now been re-issued, with some amendments (although not many) so perhaps the information contained within it is not so useless after all.

I, myself am not married so some may say this book is not applicable to me, however after listening to a radio interview with the author on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour I was sparked into having a brief read of some excerpts, and I did so with quite a bit of excitement because some of the extracts mirrored precisely that of what I have said above. It is also noteworthy that Cooper cannot have been all wrong if her 50 year long marriage is now still going strong and whilst some of her ideas may appear dated they were ideas appropriated by many during her own generation, a time when the divorce rate was significantly lower than it is now.

Ok, I realise what I have written above may appear to glorify the position of the man, as well as place strong emphasis on a woman’s own role in keeping a man happy, sorry I mean a GENTLEMAN happy, but perhaps on a second read you may discover that if you choose to adopt such methods of lady etiquette, you may find yourself attracting gentleman, who on noting your own self-respect may in turn hold more respect for you than he would have previously…just a thought.

I am by no means perfect. (Ok, some of you may not want to know but…) I do fart and burp, (I mean ‘break wind’), I do swear. I slouch. I pick my nose. I do not annunciate my words perfectly or demonstrate manners (most of the time). I do not wear skirts much or dresses. I hardly ever wash my hair. I don’t shave my legs everyday or my armpits in fact and I definitely do not wear matching underwear all the time! In fact the only things I probably do actually do that are lady-like are wear high heels, wear make-up and actually embody the physical essence of a female (which, I think helps).

HOWEVER…that is all about to change.

As of Monday, 14, November 2011 for as long as I can, I am going to attempt to alter my behaviour by acting with decorum and exemplifying everything (well almost) it should mean to be a ‘real’ lady in hope that I will exude confidence and self-respect and in anticipation that my own partner will realise that he really is not the gentleman that he actually purports to be. As I do this I will keep a blog-style diary for you to read together with pictures and expect to come to an actual conclusion as to whether:

  • A) it is even possible for a ‘real’ lady to exist in the society we live in. AND;
  • B) Whether my plan comes together.

Watch this space. I have uttered my last expletive for some time.

View my day-to-day diary at: http://thenotsobblackandwhite.com/diary-of-a-lady-in-training/ 

Signed: N, Lady in Training

Source(s): BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, Jilly Cooper, How to Stay Married 1969

Listen to the full radio interview with Jilly Cooper at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007qlvb

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4 Responses to “Do Ladies still exist?”

  1. Sebastian November 13, 2011 at 11:51 PM #

    Nice blog, you write very well! I really like the idea and goal, but don’t be too hard on yourself. If being a “lady” means not having fun, then don’t worry too much about it. I’d say, be whoever you want to be. Whether or not society wants you to be sleezy, or to be ladylike, it shouldn’t matter. I say, fuck society! Do whatever it is that makes you happy.

    • Nadya SJ November 13, 2011 at 11:54 PM #

      Thank you very much. I used to have the same mentality but then realised who I was wasn’t making myself or others happy, I had essentially become a product of the pressures of society. Now I hope to become a product of my own pressures, but as the blog says we shall see how it goes. I shall keep you all posted.

      • Flounder November 14, 2011 at 10:33 AM #

        Very interesting read and I would say a lot of truth in it.
        It appears that views of some to ‘fuck society’ are what have brought us to where we are now, as when people respected society and the impression that each of us gave to others in society, that was when ladies and gentlemen did exist.
        And that people’s ideas of ‘having fun’ always seem to involve being drunk, doing stupid things, and having a total disregard with how they appear.
        Good luck with the traditional etiquette, and let’s hope that many other young people take such a step too.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Ladies and Gentlemen… « thenotsobblackandwhite.com - December 15, 2011

    […] of the things I did mention in my initial article ‘Do Ladies Still Exist?’ http://thenotsobblackandwhite.com/2011/11/13/do-ladies-still-exist/ is that I hoped that adopting lady etiquette would attract people with similar thoughts or values. […]

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