Act Like A Lady At NRO


Charmaine has a post up at Reasoned Audacity. Crossed posted here.


I’ve got an article that just went up over at NRO, “This is What a Lady Looks Like.” It’s a piece that has been clanging around in my head — every time I’ve gotten an email from the Feminist Majority touting these feminists tshirts, I’ve thought: We need an alternative. We need to reclaim the idea of being a lady.

So I finally wrote those thoughts down and big thanks to Kathryn for publishing it.

Here’s how the piece begins:

The Feminist Majority Foundation has some gift suggestions for “holiday” shopping. The raspberry pink t-shirt particularly caught my eye: “This is What a Feminist Looks Like.”

It comes in teen sizes, too, just right for a mom like me to give to her daughter. (There’s even a nifty “unisex” black version of the t-shirt for boys. But wait, isn’t that color-coding a little, well, sexist? Never mind.)

The t-shirt could be a companion gift to the Girls’ Book of Success from the “feminist books for young readers” section. With one-click, I could get my shopping done for my children.

If, of course, I wanted them to look like . . .a feminist.

What does a feminist look like? A picture of a party dress is making the rounds this Christmas season: a classy frock made entirely of colored condoms. It’s a wardrobe choice that helps a feminist express her “sex positivity” when she wants something a tad more dressy than her raspberry tee-shirt.

What does a feminist look like? The Oscar-winning actress, Geena Davis, provides a widely hailed vision of success for girls in her portrayal of the first female president in the ABC television series, Commander in Chief. The show is a thinly cloaked precursor to the Hillary ’08 campaign.

In an early episode, the president hears a rumor that her teenaged daughter has slept with her boyfriend. The mother confronts the daughter, but quickly reassures her: “It’s okay, honey, I wasn’t a virgin when I got married. . . ”

Message: Strong, successful girls/women reject traditional mores and conventions on the way to storming the gates of power and success.

It’s a sad irony that a movement that was supposed to elevate the position of women in society so frequently devolves into vulgarity and an obsession with indiscriminate sexual access and experimentation. Being a feminist in this century has required signing on to the project of defining-down feminine virtue.

But there is an alternative vision: Women used to pride themselves in being ladies. The concept involved a whole lot more than just avoiding white shoes after Labor Day and sitting with your knees together.

What does a lady look like?

For my answer, head on over to NRO — there are some other great Christmas articles: Carrie Lukas on Code Pink’s war on toys for boys. . . and Amy Welborn with a powerful reminder that the real Christmas story isn’t all holly, jolly and ho, ho, ho.

Then, if you have a minute, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the question: What does a lady look like?


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2 Responses

  1. Stacy L Harp says:

    What does a lady look like?

    Let’s see…a few women come to my mind instantly…

    First Lady Laura Bush…Former First Lady Nancy Reagan…Senator Elizabeth Dole, Margaret Thatcher…Lynne Cheney….my friend Lisa…my friend Charmaine…my friend Pookie….(okay I’m kidding about the Pookie part)

    Personally, I think the condom dress is a little well, let’s say…tacky…what demented mind thinks of things like that? Augh….

  2. Jack Yoest says:

    Stacey, yes, you are right: Your list should be used in our school system to illustrate accomplished women.

    Looking forward to your blogging in Phillie in Jan!



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