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Where Have All The Ladies Gone?

By Danie B

My Godmother was a classy woman. I remember her telling me things like, “Cross your legs at the ankle dear,” and “Don’t pack your plate with food, you can always get more.”

Yes, she was the perfect example of sophistication. She taught me all I know about being a lady.

Now that I’m older, I think back to how I used to marvel at former First Lady Michelle Obama. She was so classy, so sophisticated, and so intelligent. I saw her and immediately would think of my Godmother.

For years, women have been held to a higher standard when it came to behavior. Men can curse all day, be as provocative as they want and people just charge it to them being a man. However, if a woman curses like a sailor, or talks about jumping from man to man, she’s everything but a lady.

Who made these standards?

It’s interesting to see that women like Cardi B, SZA, and Jhene Aiko are giving voice to women who may not fit into that “ladylike” category.

Jhene sings about the ups and downs of using drugs, she’s been dating Big Sean publicly while going through a divorce, and she is very open with her sexuality, all of which are things that ladies just don’t do.

Cardi B is very open about her past life as a stripper, she’s free with her sexuality, she says any and everything that comes to mind, and she probably has one of the dirtiest mouths ever, but she’s the hottest thing out right now.

Then you have SZA who in a sense has become the voice of the “side chick,” which is something no lady wants to be. But, think about it. If a guy is secretly playing two women, and lying to them both, who is really in the wrong here? Why as a society are we so quick to chastise the women in these situations?

I remember being a kid and seeing women like Janet Jackson, Madonna, Lil’ Kim, and Mariah Carey publicly explore their sexuality, and take so much crap for their seductive songs, and provocative outfits. Now, it seems as women being open and free with their sexuality and behind closed door personalities is becoming more of the norm.

So does this mean that the year of the classy, sophisticated, and outwardly pristine woman is gone? I don’t think so. I feel like it’s all about the woman, and how she chooses to carry herself. In short, I feel like we are starting to accept all women the way the are.

More and more women are deciding to stop allowing men to police how much of a lady they are, and realizing that it’s okay to be themselves. So, while I may not conduct myself in the same ways as these ladies, I applaud them for having the courage to be who they are whether you think they’re ladylike or not.

I also applaud the idea of Cardi B demanding the same amount of respect in her world as Michelle Obama demands in hers. All women from all walks of life are great, end of story.

So, bravo to all the ladies who may be rough around the edges and don’t necessarily fit the “lady” stereotype, bravo to all the ladies who are the heir of sophistication, bravo to all the ladies from all walks of life representing different stories, different struggles, and who all carry different burdens on their shoulders. You all are ladies in my book.

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