Ladies & Gentlemen

While I appreciate the intent of this quote, the tone of innocent curiosity disguises a message with detrimental implications. These words encourage girls to act like ladies, and that means what exactly? According to the picture, it essentially means going back to the ‘50s. The definition drawn from this image of what it means to be a lady is incredibly narrow – simply wear a dress, high heels, and perhaps a string of pearls. The implications of this quote and the accompanying picture confine women to the small, restrictive box they have fought so hard to be liberated from.

Admittedly, there were more gentlemen in the ‘50s, and certain feminist attitudes have contributed to the demise of chivalry since then. Actions such as refusing to accept a man’s coat or chastising a man for opening the door do not in any way make a positive contribution to the equality of genders. Rather, the ways in which women put men down in order to build themselves up are primary factors that have contributed to the negative connotations now inseparable from the word “feminist.”

Even though feminism has contributed to the disappearance of chivalry, it would be foolish to jump to the conclusion that the best way to reinvigorate it is to blame women for the lack of gentlemen. There are better ways to increase the prevalence of gentlemen in society than by guilt-tripping women into conforming to an antiquated definition of femininity. Since men are formed in boyhood, that seems like a logical starting point.