There are as many definitions of ‘lady’ as there are dictionaries. Webster defines our topic as, “noun: a woman who behaves in a polite way; a woman of high social position; a man’s girlfriend.” In Old English, it means female head of household. The Urban Dictionary gives us a couple of definitions to choose from.
The choices include, “In poker, a pair of queens,” and “Any female is a woman, or will be, but, being a Lady takes work and it isn’t inborn, it is a practice, a fine art and takes focus and consideration.” According to The Encyclopedia Britannica, this is a general title given European women of noble birth or marriage.The word is associated, primarily, with a gentle, kind woman of good education. She is in control of herself at all times, practices proper hygiene and grooming, is good mannered, well versed in accepted formal and informal etiquette, and genuinely puts others comfort over her own. It is a fading art in our modern world. It takes a commitment to excellence and to living a more reserved lifestyle that many women of today find cumbersome and stifling. To think before speaking, willingly take a backseat in a discussion, approach dressing with a conservative eye, to run a household with grace and ease… well, let’s just say that girls of today find these qualities too confining or an affront to their liberated status. They have become accustomed to being in the limelight and feel entitled to the label without displaying the aforementioned conduct.
While subservience plays a part and has a place and time in a lady’s life, contrary to popular belief, it is not the backbone of her existence. A woman that is self-assured, steadfast, and possesses strong morals, ethics, and values has no need to grandstand. Her character is reflected by her behavior. It, by no means, infers that she is less than. Actually, her behavior leaves others to believe quite the opposite.Is it possible, then, for a woman in this day and age to acquire the attributes of “lady-ism”?
Are there other accomplished women that can provide an example to be followed? Which of these women are worthy of emulation? There is, of course, Jackie-O and Mrs. President Johnson, but, they may be a bit far removed for the young women coming of age now. Princess Diana’s poise and grace is ageless; timeless. Kate Middleton provides us with yet another fine example.
The majority of women learn “how to” from their mother, their aunt, a grandmother. This is how skills were handed down from generation to generation. Society has become less invested in the extended family and so, traditions and ways of living have been lost to the past. Tv and movie stars, bands and solo artists have become the examples of “how to” for our young women.
They learn to live in a way that approves shallowness, lack of commitment, instant gratification, and the “it’s-all-about-me” attitude. A return to social grace, established morals, ethics, and values, a promise to and pride in a well rounded and stable family can only be a move towards the positive. The art of being a real lady is an art worth reviving in 2016, I say. It may not bring about world peace, but it is a step in the right direction.