When I was child, I remember having a great deal of freedom. I don’t mean that just in the sense of being able to spend a lot of time reading or wandering through the woods across the road from our house. I also mean it in the sense that being a girl was only one minor aspect of my existence and experience rather than being the thing that defined me as an individual.

Somewhere along the line that changed. It started in last couple of years of grade school and on into junior high school as I became an adolescent. Suddenly there were things that girls did and didn’t do. Girls were always supposed to sit modestly with their legs together. Girls suddenly had a separate and more stringent dress code. Girls didn’t talk loudly or too forcefully. It wasn’t ladylike. To be fair, I know the boys had their own list of dos and don’ts. But we girls were being groomed culturally to take second place to men someday, to be the helpmates instead of the leaders. We were the ones automatically sent to home economics and typing classes in preparation for our homemaker roles with a nod to the secretarial work we might do prior to marriage.

All of this went along with the stereotypical notions of women as too emotional and irrational to be of any use in professional arenas. All of this went along with the notion that women should not have attitude because, well, unladylike. Attitude leads women to form strong opinions. Attitude leads women to think they are equal to men. Attitude makes women difficult to control because they begin to believe they can make their own decisions.

So this is my homage to attitude, to the art of the unladylike.  May every woman out there grab hold of attitude and make it her own. Only in this way can we finally move away from a patriarchal society that diminishes women to one in which gender is no longer a driving force of the social order. Long may your attitudes thrive, ladies!

(Note to self: I need more bow ties. I kinda like them. And also – scope out more places to set up the self-portraits; that door as background has outlived its usefulness.)

17 thoughts on “Attitude!

  1. Ms Karen … excellent post … I was fortunate to be married to a strong willed woman … the best twenty-nine years of my life. And yeah … that bow tie is the emphasis to the spirit and strength of your self-portrait. THREE CHEERS FOR YOU!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The structural bias against women’s development in education and child-rearing is ubiquitous and insidious. I have benefitted from sharing the last 25+ years with a socialist feminist who has cared enough to challenge my thinking and behavior in the service of my development. Cultural norms are dynamic but change at a glacial pace if you are not on the peak of the curve.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very insightful comment, Sam. Thanks. And I agree. I think we sometimes have a tendency to believe that things have changed more over the years than they actually have. This is true for all kinds of social issues. It’s important to keep speaking up and trying to change things. Otherwise we tend to stagnate or, even worse, slide backwards.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You know so well that i agree perfectly with you my dear friend ! Education is one of the most important aspects of the revolution of ideas and the EQUALITY and freedom of people but especially for equality between women and men is something as natural as the right to be happy!
    Attitude and pride in being ourselves without moral constraints of old established profiles .

    The world would benefit with a role of more active Women and decision-making in society and politics.
    Unfortunately though few exceptions is not that we see sometimes is even scary setback we have had in a few years! All women in the world will have to fight for this objective and have the attitude that so admire in you my friend!

    Courage and determination to reinvent itself and fight for what you believe !!
    Congratulations on this testimony and message my friend! : )

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s