I’m developing a vision of what “being a lady” means to me (and only me!), with the full intent to live it out boldly and dramatically for the rest of my life.
Notice I said “lady” here, not “woman”. I feel I have to constantly remind people that these are different concepts. As I’ve stated before, I’ve achieved womanhood, but not my personal ambition of becoming a “lady”.
The first challenge is one of defining what it means to be a “lady” for myself. The second is the mechanics of adopting the habits, mannerisms, and skills for external presentation of the identity; and the mindfulness and psychology for internal ownership of my ideal.
On this blog I have wrestled with these concepts. Will continue to. Broken it down so far into two (there are more to come) major themes: accepting and embracing sexism, and “stagecraft”.
Accepting and Embracing Sexism
From my post “corset training”:
…and it involves taking on many of the classic social constrictions women have faced through the ages. I’ve made a significant personal commitment to this process…
While I fight the patriarchy ideologically, and believe that no woman should be subjugated to it against their will, I’ve accepted that the patriarchy isn’t going away in my lifetime, and that being a woman means dealing with it. I suspect that one yardstick for evaluating how much of a “lady” a woman is measures how well they conform to the patriarchy’s social expectations of women.
So I’m allowing myself to be subjugated. Going to enjoy every moment of it! And that last statement is where my feminist revolution continues—I’m claiming the oppression and re-spinning it for my own ends. For my own liberation.
Plan to live demure while simultaneously expressive. Quiet while loving at full volume. Poised while punk.
One of my favorite things to do is tell men off for not treating me properly. Men frequently send me unsolicited photos of their hardware, and I take extreme joy in responding:
“I am a lady and expect to be treated like one.”
This is my revolutionary demand: I am a lady and expect to be treated like one.
Here I’m referring to behaviors such as posture, how I walk, how I talk, etc. I see a clear role for the adage “fake it ’til you make it” here: I’ll work on feminine presentation consciously until it becomes habit, and then I’ll keep working on it. For example, while typing this post I stopped myself from “manspreading” multiple times—frequently put my knees and calves back together where they belong.
My post “double agent for the patriarchy” explores the concept of embracing sexism (and liking it) while holding feminist ideals.
The post “working out my concept of lady (part 1)” begins this series by exploring ancient Hindu evaluations of ladylike behavior and social expectation.