“Act like a lady…”
I may at some point in my life as a parent have said that to my daughters. Now I regret it.
Many see “being a lady” as being polite. But that’s rubbish because boys can be polite too and not ‘be a lady’. Being decent to other people isn’t a ‘lady’ thing, it’s just being a decent human thing.
But others see it as some sort of aristocratic position. To tell our daughters to ‘act like a lady’ means we want them to act like the ‘upper crust’ – and the connotations of that is that someday they might win the heart of a ‘gentleman’ who will ‘take care of them’.
And I don’t want that for my daughters either.
I don’t want them to be ladies.
I want them to be women.
I want them out there standing up for human rights and protecting people and making the world BETTER.
No one has ever done that by being a ‘lady’. Being a lady just protects the status quo. It reinforces the ‘rules of polite society’ which is just code for ‘keep your place to keep the old rich white men happy’.
I want them out there with picket signs and bullhorns and, if needed, baseball bats, fixing the things their parents and their parents’ parents messed up for them.
I want them to fight like a girl. And I have 5 daughters, so when I say “fight like a girl” I know that actually means ‘winning’. Ever been in a fight with a girl? I mean a real fight and not a disagreement with your girlfriend or some sit-com argument, I mean a real fight, with fists and kicking and whatnot. Girls are TOUGH. Way tougher than boys. And I don’t mean in a bully kind of way, but rather in a ‘can take care of themselves and win’ kind of way.
So what I wish for my daughters this International Women’s Day is that they flip off everyone that tells them to ‘act like a lady’ and that they act like WOMEN. That they fight like girls, and they mean it. Because if they do, if all our daughters fight like girls, they will win.
And fix what we broke.