I read an article in the September 2000 issue of Mademoiselle titled, "Are You a New Lady". It goes on about a new school of ladies popping up called Gentries. They are the basically the society duchesses of the 40's, with a modern "strong edge".

"Any old-school feminist who worries that Gentries will destroy the ERA can relax. In truth, they reflect the fact that women feel stronger than ever. Gone are the days when a woman needed to prove she's as good as a man.

I am glad that the media thinks that is O.K. now! Good to know.

These new "ladies" are doing things like taking long lunches, brushing up on their Emily Post, carrying handbags that match their shoes, and are joining the Junior League. They state a goal of being Martha Stewert, just less stodgy. They feel they are reclaiming their femininity by having teas together. They are re-instituting old dating standards to bring back romance. They are smiling and being nice.

I have no problem with immaculate manners, bringing back the art of the handwritten thank-you note. Nor do I think doing volunteer work, or doing needlepoint is a bad thing. All of this is great. My problem is that there is a need to do a major article on having courtesy, and it being an "O.K.". Why must we make a big deal out of females being who are comfortable with themselves, and when did manners become something female.

The whole matching handbag and shoes, crocheting, "other typically seen as only women who were airheads, or frivolous women took part in" makes this article hypocritical. These women who they said were strong and independent shouldn't care if it's deemed socially acceptable for them to be "ladies". It is as archaic as when women were afraid wearing pants would make them masculine.

I like being female, wearing make-up, crocheting, and am proud I know how to set a proper table. This doesn't affect my independence. Whether the media tells me it's "acceptable" or not.

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