I admit I have always had an aversion for the word ‘lady’…unless it’s someone’s title. My underlying feeling is that it’s a judgement.
When I was little, my father used to remind me regularly that I wasn’t acting the way I should (in his mind). Then he’d remind me that my name means “lady” in Italian. This sermon was usually delivered when I was covered in dirt, being a cowboy (never a cowgirl…they stayed home, minded the ranch and had no shoot-outs or adventures!) or playing with worms or frogs.
Look up “Lady” in the dictionary, and it says “woman”. It also says, “used as a polite or old-fashioned form of reference.” It doesn’t speak to the expectations and implied judgement that accompany the word.
Consider these lyrics, the first by Lyle Lovett and the second by Frank Sinatra.
“The preacher asked her, and she said ‘I do.’ The preacher asked me, and she said, ‘He does, too.’ The preacher said, ‘Son, I now pronounce you 99-to-life. Son she’s no lady, she’s your wife.”
“A lady never leaves her escort. Never get out of my sight. Luck, if you’ve ever been a lady to begin with, Luck be a lady tonight!”
Woman, however, is “an adult human female.” Simply a statement of fact. There are people who might disagree with me if I claimed to be a lady, but none would disagree with the fact that I am a woman.
I think it was Lauren Bacall who said, “The secret to being a woman, is knowing when not to be too much of a lady.” That’s one thing I know well.
I also don’t like using the term girls for a bunch of women. Look up ‘girl’:
- A female child
- A young immature woman
- Informal (sometimes offensive) “She’s having the girls over for bridge.”
Here’s the challenge as I see it… We, as women, don’t have a casual term for a group of our female friends. Men can say, “Hey, I’m going out with the guys.” What do women usually say? Right.
I’ll admit it, gals doesn’t roll right off my tongue. But I don’t want to diminish any of my friends by calling them girls. And one of the things I value most in my friends is that they aren’t hung-up on being ladies.
I suggest that we quit using the terms ‘Ladies’ and ‘Girls’ when referring to each other. Women act as if they are afraid to climb into that word and embody it. WOMAN. Let yourself be strong. WOMAN. Acknowledge both your wisdom and intuition. WOMAN. Acknowledge your passion. It’s alright.
“It’s the fire in my eyes. And the flash of my teeth. The swing of my waist. And the joy in my feet. I’m a woman, phenomenally.” Maya Angelou
Go be phenomenal!