I often contemplate social issues. After all, we are swimming in a sea of some powerful hashtags.
I wanted to find an article to teach me what is is to. So I went to the Google gods.
I started reading an article and I was actually amazed. The article was teaching a woman to love herself and to take care of herself. Well, ok. Cool! I can get behind this. That's "my medicine." I teach the importance of taking care of ourselves, all the time. I teach women to honor themselves and to help the men in their lives to honor them as well. So, my question is when did taking time for ourselves get a bad wrap? And, when did women start lowering themselves to men? It is a fact, after all, that all life comes from a woman! So what the heck ladies?
Then I found it. Ah yes! The word SHOULD and the word MUST. Somebody decided how a woman is to behave.
"Your hair must be well maintained and kept healthy. You should not dye it an unnatural color." These words were like finger nails on a chalk board.
Right away the article reads... "Have good posture." "Standing and sitting up straight are signs of a true lady." I chuckled. How many of us were taught that our presence and how we sat at a table were sure signs of what it was to #BeALady?
OH, number 3.... "A lady never scratches or burps or sniffs." eek.... seriously! I mean, of course the "bodily functions" of a "lady" can never be shown. How many of us hold our "bodily functions" in? I would bet that holding in our "bodily functions' can cause health issues. I rest on this social fact, men don't hold in their farts or burps. Quite the contrary!
I liked number 4 "Remember that knowledge is power." "A proper young lady needs to be well read." However, I do not like the word "proper."
I love number 5 "Develop your principles - and stick to them." Lately, I, like many, have had to look at my belief systems. It is important to be open and teachable as well as adaptable to new ideas. I mean you wouldn't want to be seen as dumbo or closed minded. Being firm in your convictions is a good trait, right?
Skip down to number 8 "Pay attention to the way you talk." Oh my! Unconsciously, I was taught to keep my opinions to myself. It seems many women have been socialized to keep their opinions to themselves, as well. I mean, to have an opinion isn't really the sign of a Lady. Now, to Geisha, Conversation, was an art form.
Geisha were traditional, female Japanese entertainers of the "Flower and Willow World", shrouded in secrecy and mystery. Geisha skills include performing various ancient Japanese arts regarding music, song, dance, tea ceremony, calligraphy, flower arranging, poetry and the art of conversation.
It is quite obvious that the Japanese social construct is much different that the Western world. No wonder I am so drawn to Japanese culture.
Number 9 "Be polite." How many times was I told to "be polite" as a child? While I feel it is important to teach girls grace and kindness, I feel sometimes these words have shown girls to push down their "real" feelings. I beg the question, does the phrase "be polite" promote a two faced woman? In my experience words chosen wisely and in the perfect timing can put someone right in their place and create a boundary that is needed, while being polite may create a false representation of who I really am! I can here the Mulan song now... "when will my reflection show who I am inside...."
Number 11 "Respect yourself, so that others can and will respect you." OK. I love this one, obviously. Self Care, Self Nurturance and Self Love are of the utmost of importance! After all, we teach people how we want to be treated. So where and how did we get off track, ladies?
I am sure there are some real negatives as to what it means to #BeALady in our ever morphing society! So I googled it. Definition:
Lady: noun, a woman who is refined, polite, and well-spoken.
A woman of high social position or economic class.
Slang. a female lover or steady companion.
(in Great Britain) the proper title of any woman whose husband is higher in rank than baronet or knight, or who is the daughter of a nobleman not lower than an earl (although the title is given by courtesy also to the wives of baronets and knights).
Ah! There we go. A Lady was seen as a "higher rank" of caliber. You don't want people to think you're "low class." God forbid.
I remember my Nana saying "Don't do that! You don't want people to see you doing that!" It goes with out saying, right? You wouldn't want to embarrass the family. You wouldn't want to disgrace the family name. So, you behaved accordingly.
To me, this "taught behavior" is fear based. I contemplate whether it is healthy for children to have to "behave" in certain ways. Can't they just be children? Why of course not. Not in a false social construct. However, Im sure many would agree that it is always good to teach children that there is a time and place for "child's play." Of course some parents let their children run around like hooligans. In other words, Just as with children, somewhere along the lines woman have been socialized to behave in certain ways socially. But there has got to be time for her to relax, right?
I have found that many, many women don't get to unwind and relax. They put them self last and are running on literal fumes. When does a women get time for herself? Surely not at all, when you have little ones. For far too long women have had to be "on the clock," "dressed the part," being mom, nurse, maid etc. or whatever it may be. While men on the other hand have had to be the main "bread winner" while getting to behave, speak and act however they want to with little to no thought about its appropriateness. Of course this has softened as of late, but it is still ever present in our culture. In fact quite often men's behavior is brushed off with... "