International Writers Magazine: A Woman's World
To Be Ladylike
I grew up in
a girls school where we had to wear skirts instead of trousers cos
it was more 'ladylike', I wonder what my old headteacher would say
if he knew me now....
Bridget Jones is everyone's favourite 'normal' girl. She yearns
for her very own Mr Darcy, and eventually gets him. However you
see her, blonde American or brunette diarist, Bridget won her man
despite smoking like a chimney and falling on her bottom a few times.
So do we all get our knight in shining armour even if our air of
female elegance wears off?
Cycling into uni the other day I rode straight into a bollard. It really
hurt and the horrible accident occurred straight as a handsome man crossed
my path. He escaped unscathed, and politely asked if I was ok. I wished
there and then to be more ladylike, rather than wailing at him over the
handlebars like it was his fault.
I resolved then and there to pluck my eyebrows, tidy my bedroom, and read
the Observers Woman magazine for some hints.
First, I read the paper. Cherie Booth wrote an article about our culture
demeaning women. 'Women in full time work still take home 83p for every
pound that men get paid'. I was shocked, what happened to equal opportunity?.
However, some indian women earn 10p an hour sewing jeans for overweight
westeners. And it was in protest for them, rather than Cherie that I abandoned
the idea of waxing my legs. On another page, Fergie from the Black Eyed
Peas holds hands with an orang-utan and says, "I don't dress for
men, I dress for myself and I want people to know I wear more revealing
stuff on stage". She poses in a floor length dress and the orang-utan
wears a nappy. I wonder if he still got paid more than she did.
A ladylike approach
to feminism exists in the 'You Are Normal' campaign. Women are, literally,
going underground. Armed with slogan bearing stickers, they deface offensive
advertisements on the underground. A smiling woman with oversized breasts
is slapped with a sticker saying 'YOU ARE NORMAL! THIS IS NOT!'. The woman
who posted it skips along to work knowing she can stand up for her sex
and still look pretty, and no one need know.
read how to dress like Kate Moss, naked but for a pair of Ugg Boots.
A parody of Elizabeth Hurley puts her make up on in the loos at
Tramps. Fashion icons 'normalised' for the modern lady. About right!
I think as I remember Mrs Blair's statistic. Why should I go through
all that plucking and waxing business, if I'm still not treated
equally to a man?
83 pence may very well be loose change in our society, and its probably
not something to burn bras over, but I found myself getting cross
on behalf of short changed girls all over the world. Especially
the ones who feel they won't get anywhere unless they're painted
orange with their thighs on display.
On my bike again, I had vague fantasies of riding past the handsome man,
smiling politely. He doesn't need to know my legs remain unwaxed and I'm
armed with some new post-its. I cycled along peacefully, until the wheel
met with a concealed curb and I fell off. The only man around cycled off
without giving me a moments sympathy. I sat stunned, half under my bike,
feeling a bit cross and silly. I told myself I felt cross because of the
death of chivalry, and not just because my foot really hurt. This is the
sort of thing that happens to Bridget Jones all the time, and she still
got her man and half the nation on her side. Later on, my boyfriend cooked
me dinner and let me be a Jedi on the X-Box. Perhaps being 'normal' is
the new feminism after all.
© Aby Davis November 2007
abydavis at hotmail.com
Author of Passion Killers
The Aby Davis interview
"I was inspired by Jimmy Perry (writer of Hi Di Hi, in which
Linda had a starring role) who always told me to just go for it!"
Aby is our interviewer at large at the University of Portsmouth and her
next celeb interview is with the writer Jon Grimwood - Coming soon.
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