Power is like being a lady... if you have to tell people you are, you aren't.
After watching the internet backlash Sofia Vergara received during the Emmys, two thoughts came to my mind. One ended up becoming an article for Good Man Project. The other, I felt rather close to since it’s the gender swap version of what Gentlemen deal with, a society with a love-hate relationship with what it means to be a Lady, a society trying to fight sexism to the point that it will shame women.
I usually avoid getting into the topic of Lady-like behaviors and attitudes, limiting myself to the Gentlemen side of the equation. Why? Because, as a fellow GMP wrote, “I am not going to tell women how to act. I am not an asshole.” Yet, I feel that the term Lady suffers from the similar misconceptions than the Gentlemen does. But before you consider the idea that I am Man-splaining what it means to be a Lady, I have this same condescending attitude towards guys who refuse to understand what it means to be a Gentleman.
I had the good fortune of growing up surrounded by several proper ladies. That is why I find it so confusing every time I read how the term Lady is disrespectful or demeaning towards women. Then again I also had the good fortune of growing up surrounded by Gentlemen who set excellent examples of what it meant to be a man.
A Lady of Society is not there to serve as a trophy wives or as decorations. She is meant to show how a woman can be powerful, opinionated, and charitable while never losing her elegance or class. She should slap you down with a single eyebrow or raise you up with a slight smile. No crass actions or attitudes are needed, no vulgarity or even a raised tone. Such is the power of a Lady. She is a woman empowered by her femininity.
And this is not an easy task, especially now where femininity is attacked by so many women who confuse it for weakness. This kind of attack remind me way too much to the attacks some Men’s Rights Activists do against the concept of being a Gentleman.
Neither Masculinity nor Femininity is something to be ashamed of, but rather another tool of personal empowerment. As I mention time and time again to guys, nobody is forcing you to be a Lady, but in your zeal to fight Sexism, be careful you don’t turn from being the shamed and become the shamer.