Ladylike? I Think Not.
A subjective opinion on how women are expected to behave in society and what the term 'ladylike' means to me.
From the second Eve ate that damn apple from the tree, women have been in for a bumpy ride. If you're reading this and you consider yourself to be a man, let me just tell you now that you have no idea what it's like to be a woman. You might hear the horrific stories of us being stalked, raped, kidnapped, sexually harassed, traded across the world for money, being in immense pain before giving birth, being paid less than our male employees and you may deeply sympathize, but you have no idea what it's like.
Quite frankly, I'm disturbed that the world 'ladylike' is still in circulation. Have we not moved on from these pre-determined expectations from a woman?
When I think of the term 'ladylike', I think of a prim and proper posh middle-class lady who wears midi skirts and high-heels whilst shopping in the day time. Well, I certainly don't fit into that category and I feel like the vast majority of girls my age don't either, so does this mean we are not to be considered a lady?
I did a bit of research and asked my close friends what they define the term 'ladylike' to be. What is the first thing that pops into their minds?
Ladylike: Graceful, polite, and behaving in a way that is thought to be socially acceptable for a woman - Cambridge Dictionary
Bayley: "Good manners, professional, clean cut. The complete opposite to 'manly' or 'tomboyish'.
Ashling: "I get srong etiquette vibes, like we have to still sit around with our legs crossed. Which overall is quite an unrealistic expectation of what all women are."
Lauren: "I hate the term ladylike, I feel like it's a way to suppress and group women into a box. I feel like it's used as a way to shame women when they don't look polished for men."
What stage am I in my womanhood?
I'm only 24 years old. If I was this age back in the 1900s, I would probably have about five kids and spend all my time kneading dough in the kitchen. Thankfully, I am trying to build a fulfilling career by working 9-5 and I can't knead dough because my nails are too long.
Currently, I'm trying to move out of my parent's clutches and move back to the city of London as well as simultaneously sell my car and look for a new job. Three big moves all at one time!
Additionally, I'm currently in a position where my friends are slowly drifting away due to getting into relationships and having kids. I'm very happy for everyone, but as I've been single for eight years, it's very hard to watch.
Does the fact that I am so independent, patient and have been single for so long go against the ideology of being 'ladylike'? If we look back 100 years ago, all of what I am doing to with my life right was for the job of a man, the so-called breadwinner.
But what even makes a woman strong?
There is an ongoing perception in society that all women are strong-minded. Why? Because everyone is aware that in certain areas of life, we have been dealt the dodgy card. We get paid less than men which has led to the theory of 'Glass Ceiling', we are more likely to be sexually assulted, we are left as single-parent mothers, we had to fight for the vote, in Saudi Arabia women have just been able to learn to drive.
Why do you think National Women's Month exists?
Recently, the talk-of-the-town lady is Meghan Markle. Following her interview with Opera Whinfrey, she had been silenced and turned away by the Royal Family regarding her poor mental health and is also a victim of 'hush racism'.
For me, this is a prime example of a strong woman. The pressures that this woman has had to face from social media, pathetic and unnecessary critiques from TV presenters and celebrities, disputes with her own family and birthing her first child all within two years is phenemonal to me. She deserves her Princess status.
Now I've finished preaching, I'm going to leave you with this video from Girls. Girls. Girls. Magazine which I came across on Instagram called 'Be A Lady They Said' which outlines powerful and never-ending controversial messages that women from all over the world battle every day.
Collectively, I do believe that society has shifted our minds from the hope that all ladies should resemble the concept of 'ladylike' and we are now more accepting and inclusive than ever, but we still have a long way to go.
Ladylike? I think not.