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#3766 - 06/28/00 10:36 PM ladies  
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elaine Offline
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elaine  Offline
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I am wondering why the term "ladies" has fallen out of favor with younger women...


#3767 - 06/28/00 10:50 PM Re: ladies  
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jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah
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I was wondering if it was on its way back in again.


#3768 - 06/29/00 06:23 AM Re: ladies  
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screen Offline
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Newcastle, Australia.
I can speak only for myself, a 30 year old woman.
For me "ladies" connotes a more delicate being than "woman"; one who is a bit precious, and needs some sort of shielding from the uglier parts of life. I think this connotation implies an inability to fully participate in seriously in the public sphere, which is often ... untidy i.e. positions of power requiring decision making in gritty circumstances and access to skills/information which belong to the realm of the less-than sanitized.

Although JP Sartre's play "Les Mains Sales" is more of a discussion regarding the ethics of effective political action, this quote applies quite nicely to my preference of the word "woman" to "lady". A character who is a political activist during WW II says:
"Moi j'ai les mains sales. Jusqu'aux coudes. Je les ai plongees dans la merde et dans le sang" (My hands are filthy. I've plunged them in blood and s**t up to the elbows).
Life is messy and not always sweet.I think a ladylike attitude is a barrier to fully participating in the public sphere. As a citizen, I have my sleeves rolled up.


#3769 - 06/29/00 09:38 AM Re: ladies  
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Bridget Offline
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Bridget  Offline
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Sydney Australia
Because lady is the female equivalent of gentleman rather than the female equivalent of man. It is much more restricted and restricting.

If all men were gentlemanly, I might be more willing to be ladylike!

...then again, maybe not (I'd like to put a smile and a wink here but don't know how - help!)


#3770 - 06/29/00 09:57 AM Re: ladies  
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wsieber Offline
old hand
wsieber  Offline
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Switzerland
>inability to fully participate in seriously in the public sphere, which is often ... untidy i.e. positions of power requiring decision making in gritty circumstances<
This "cliché" provokes me to mention, by way of counterexample, the Iron Lady M. Thatcher (who is a chemist by training).


#3771 - 06/29/00 11:19 AM Re: ladies  
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andwild Offline
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andwild  Offline
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Switzerland
Being of a younger, postfeminist generation, I quite like to be called a lady as it has never carried any of the weak connotations for me and I have never had to fight against being regarded as the weaker sex.


#3772 - 06/29/00 02:55 PM Re: ladies  
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jmh Offline
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I'm not sure that the term "Iron Lady" was intended to be a compliment.

The Blessed Margaret was happy to wear the garb of a lady, high-heeled shoes with matching handbag, pearls with matching earrings. One could not be a proper Tory lady without them. She was a chemist but seemed to prefer to describe herself as a grocer's daughter.

Incidentally, I've always thought that the possession of a millionaire "significant other" to be a big asset in politics. Both the Blessed Margaret and the People's Tony (Blair) are the smaller earners in their households.



#3773 - 06/29/00 03:11 PM Re: ladies  
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screen Offline
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screen  Offline
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Newcastle, Australia.
{This "cliché" provokes me to mention, by way of counterexample, the Iron Lady M. Thatcher (who is a chemist by training).}


Thank you for your post. I believe it is a fine example of embedded connotations in the word "lady", which I believe is the intention of this thread. In your example the "Iron Lady" has become a capitalized title so "iron" can influence and lend a "toughness" to the word "lady" which the word lacks by itself. Contrast this to "Mrs. Thatcher joined the other ladies at the table".



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