Ladies, ladies, ladies.
How does that word make you feel? Do you like it? Does it make you feel nice? Special? Or does it make you want to rip out your ovaries with a rusty spoon?
Let’s see if you can work out which camp I fall into.
To me it feels patronising and condescending. It suggests fragility when women are anything but fragile. We push whole people out of our vaginas. Also, waxing.
It attributes certain characteristics to us that we have no control over. It’s old fashioned and harks back to a different time when society was different, and women were viewed differently and seen as inferior to men. I know, imagine that, what a ridiculous idea. Thank god we’ve moved on and now have jetpacks and spaceman food and equal pay and oh…
But this word is out of place in 2019 so I think that even if you’re not bothered by it, even if you quite like it, you need to realise the impact. They are never just words.
What image comes into your head when you think of the word ‘lady’? Now compare that to the image that comes into your head when you think of the word ‘woman’. Are they the same?
It’s a watered down version of the word Woman, because woman is a very strong word. We need to reclaim these words and use them, own them if you like, because we are not taught to refer to ourselves in that way. We have to almost hide it away, in the same way that lots of women use other, less direct words for periods and vaginas. Sometimes having a conversation about these things is like doing a cryptic crossword. You had a what where? We teach our children ridiculous words for their genitals, programming them from an early age that there is something to be ashamed of.
The male equivalent, Gentlemen, is not used as much, or in the same way, you wouldn’t substitute the word Man for Gentleman unless you were specifically trying to convey a certain message.
My hatred of the word Ladies touches on the whole chivalry debate. Whenever you mention the word chivalry a chorus of men tell us how difficult women are. Jeez, do you ladies want a man to open the door for you or not? What are the poor mens to do? All they want to do is hold a door open for a young lady without being garotted by a burning bra brandished by a feminazi!
So let’s clear this up.
Yes, please hold the door open for me, help me on with my coat, do all of that shit, but do it because you’re a nice person, not because I have a vagina, because holding doors open for each other is what we should all do for anyone. Sorted.
It does make me smile though that the men who complain about not being allowed to hold doors open anymore, are the same men who bulldoze their entitled way along the street, refusing to move out of the way, forcing us all to play a daily game of Pavement Skittles that we’re never going to win.
So don’t refer to us as ladies, in the same way that at the age of 46 I don’t want you to refer to me as a girl because however you mean it, it just keeps us in our place, it infantilizes us and has certain connotations which we have been conditioned to believe. It doesn’t make me feel young and protected and special. It makes me want to use your testicles as nunchucks.
So that’s all I have to say about the word ladies, although I will just say though that despite my hatred of vagina synonyms (vaginanyms?) you will of course have to prise my favourite vagina synonym, Vajanus, from my cold dead hands.