Eliminating the Concept of “Ladylike”
I’m really tired of seeing men out there telling women what’s “ladylike” or “womanly” or, worst of all, “proper,”…as in, “a proper woman.” When it comes to women, it’s constant, you see people casually talking about what’s “ladylike” and what a “real woman” is. You see it everywhere when you’re online and somewhere that men even remotely engage with women. Even the very definition of the word “ladylike” that so many women themselves use so often just reeks of the foul patriarchy:
It’s time for men to stop telling women what being “womanly” is and to stop caring about finding a “lady in the streets but a freak in the sheets.” These ideas are so bourgeois, so patriarchal — so outdated. They’re also extremely divisive and I think that, even if it’s an unintended consequence, division is the point. When men espouse these ideas and they become entangled in the culture, a “womanhood” becomes an exclusive club, one which requires the nod of consent of men to get into. Imagine that. Women have to ask men for permission before they can brandish the crown of their own womanhood.
Anyone who speaks to this idea speaks to divide women against one another and reinforce patriarchal power. “Real women” don’t exist, all women are real, therefore, there are simply “women” because there are no illegitimate women.
And, the sad fact is, many, many women themselves subscribe to this idea, too. I see it happen all the time, in internet memes and marketing fads. Many movements and advertisements pretend to represent “real women” but usually, their idea of “real” means that a certain class of women get to reclaim some lost glory against another class of women, or that one class of women gets to establish superiority against another class of women. This plays straight into the hierarchical structure which is the patriarchy, doing its dirty work for it.
Plenty of women out there have succumbed to this weird sort of Stockholm syndrome in the world of dating, trying to distinguish themselves as somehow more “ladylike” than other women (whatever the current…