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Not ladies!

Deborah Lilly, Mullumbimby

I loved The Echo’s front page photo of women wielding power tools at the shedding workshop (5 February). However, the caption Ladies hit the shed was a shocking diminishment of their independent can-do stance.

The term ladies is so dated! It stems from a time when women were considered second-class citizens and to call a woman a woman was thought to be impolite and might offend.

In 1970 Germaine Greer bowled in with The Female Eunuch urging women to reclaim their rights to womanhood, sexuality, burn their bras, stop shaving legs and armpits, wear flat shoes and stop being dictated to by men wanting women to look a certain way. Most importantly, to shun labels that deny womanhood such as ladies, girls, chicks, etc.

Germaine’s ideas really caught on in England. However, in her native land many people are unaware of this aspect of women’s liberation and think they are being courteous when using a term more appropriate for a lavatory door.

Ed note: Funnily enough we thought that using this outdated term in this context highlighted the issue nicely.


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4 responses to “Not ladies!”

  1. Craig Starr says:

    None of the ladies I know have ever expressed an issue with the word. ”Ladies”. None .Ever.

  2. Barry says:

    I think that says more about you than you know.

  3. Catherine says:

    A lady, ironically, would never write a piece denigrating her lady-label! A lady must be nice and compliant, paint her face, make the dinner, dust the crockery, polish the silverware, never yell, never argue, smile benignly, but most of all never object to the rule of the patriarchy. On the other hand, a woman would! Man/woman. Get it fellas? I fully support your views Deborah.

  4. Ginga says:

    Um… not sure how I feel about this conversation. I don’t mind curtsying if someone calls me lady…doesn’t happen often.. haaa!
    Providing they are not expecting me to dumb myself down to make themselves feel comfortable…get all misogynistic & expect me to behave like a fluff ball in return. Be sadly disappointed.
    Personally I dislike the word madam… is a palindrome like Mullum, interesting that!
    Not that that has anything to do with it.
    It’s often the tone in which the word is used.
    The social construct., almost go as far to say, the house in which someone was raised.
    The way someone relates gender wise & the internal ‘fantasy’, expectation & stuff relating to the to the other person. The idea of what the outcome is from their perspective.. the ‘reward’ & outstandingly, an interesting one, i’ll throw it in.. the level of co dependence in their relationships, belief & social structures & values. Someone may not know it’s disrespectful. Their own perception of themselves as part of the situation & the projection.

    I think I said to someone yesterday in a Government office I spoke to not to call me madam after he took offence because I called him love. I call everyone love… it’s because they are love, at the core of whom they are. I do say though, I was beginning to get impatient..

    I have to say I would be a feminist’s feminist undoing. As a strong independent woman, I often call women girls. Women ladies. Chicky. I do not do… be-ar-ch… (bitch) ever.. now that.. hmmm!
    Men dudes, mate, brother..

    If we are speaking about women’s rights, equality, respect for women, feminism.. here’s one..

    I remember a few years ago, a bunch of women in Parliament had a photo taken celebrating the introduction of hairdryers in the bathrooms at Canberra.
    Personally I was so bloody irate. That act in itself, while professing great achievement, showed in itself just how outrageously misogynistic Parliament really is & for these women whom belittled themselves, the value of their political careers to hairdryers. Really!
    I was mortified. They had done it themselves. I felt like I was reading a story from the 50’s & the only thing missing from the photos was the half cut frilly waste height aprons & an ironing board. They had done it themselves by under valuing themselves, their own contribution & the belief to work in male dominated careers, professions, situations you have to either become like men or drop your femininity to do the job or that’s it’s unsafe to be feminine. Or the other one, that women are nothing more than an encumbrance of years of relaxing history balled up into a social notion of ‘pleasure’, baby making, frail, fragile, gentile, house hold servants & sex slaves, that they are doing us a favour, anything outside that realm is intrinsically uncomfortable for others to deal with.

    It’s passing! With each new generation, a new group come through. Not bought up on stereotypical cinematic versions of beautiful women, in singing movies, old values & roles. Women are not just witches & Genies… they are Amazons, superhero’s beside male superhero’s in an equal world….

    You know when my parents were married, men were legally responsible for all debt incurred by their female spouse. If a husband went to a department store & said ‘stop my wife’s account’ they had to do it. Pretty sure that’s how it was, as explained by my father.
    Shocking it’s taken so long.

    Go the Divine Feminine Power Tool wielding women.. I love power tools … don’t forget the Zena outfits. It’s just fun to dress up.
    All women are super hero’s deep down! Everyday superhero’s.. especially Mum’s.
    Aren’t we lucky we live in Australia?

    So I really don’t know how I feel about it the whole thing.. I think somewhere it’s about finding balance.
    Right now I think i’m interested in cake….
    vegan of course!
    & well…. attempting to rationalise how we have come to a point at this time in history, with the amount of education & information available, to have a bunch of political leaders whom are so deaf to environmental morality & sensibility still in positions they would have been sacked from in private business.

    This I have to say is largely due to women or lack of , in positions of leadership attempting to ‘fit’ in with the current mid-life crisis occurring for men in politics in Australia, rather than bringing the unique difference women have to offer in decision making. Jacinda Arden. Still immensely feminine, intelligent, compassionate, rational & balanced. It’s incredibly tricky!

    The hunter gather notion..
    Women can garden too & it can be done, the whole fathering thing, without chemicals & pesticides… in a compassionate, loving, conscious way, respecting the divine feminine body we have the privilege to have home with, without slaughtering any flesh sentients to perpetuate our species. It’s a new & interesting concept!
    Respecting the Mother we live on, respecting another Mother’s children no matter what species.

    Rather than women standing on the edge of the divine feminine body of the Mother Ocean with a death stick (fishing rod) with the intention of slaughtering another Mother’s children. That is becoming like men to be equal. We do not need to do it like that.

    It occurs to me micro to macro, the story of women in society might shift when women start treating the planet with more respect. Might start treating other species with more respect. They are merely mirrors of the same intrinsic energy. Predatory dominance rather than gratitude & consciousness.

    Love & blessings

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