Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Wisdom of Margaret Thatcher

When I was a child, Ronald Reagan was President of the United States and his British counterpart was Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.  I don’t remember much about her (do elementary school children pay attention to the news?);  I just know she was a force to be reckoned with.  I recently ran across a quote of hers and I really liked it.  Margaret Thatcher said “Power is like being a lady... if you have to tell people you are, you aren't.”

While I understand Margaret is talking about being powerful, I like her comparison.  If you are a true lady, people know it; you don’t have to tell them.  I have been thinking lately (especially with the stories my husband, a high school science teacher, comes home with daily) “When did being a lady go out of style?”

If I think about “ladies” who have been in my life, the first example that comes to mind is my Grandma Mizell.   She had a grace and presence about her.  She was into big sparkly things.  I remember her wearing big fabulous rings and broaches.  She also had a lot of scarves.  She had this 1940’s movie star glamor about her.  She was always very proper.  I remember a summer (1993 I believe) when we were visiting.  My brother Mike and I were doing laundry.  I don’t recall if we were taking laundry out or bringing laundry in, but Mike asked me to take my DAMP jeans.  Grandma Dear misheard him and oh boy did Mike get a tongue lashing.  Grandma thought Mike had used a four letter word that starts with D and that was just unacceptable.  Of course she felt very sheepish when Mike could get a word in edgewise and explained to her that he said damp, as in wet.

When I think of a lady, I think of someone who is prim and proper.  Someone who is gracious and courteous.  A lady has an air of elegance about her that cannot be defined.  A lady dresses properly.  She does not have to show all kinds of skin to let people know she is attractive.  A lady uses proper language and has a decent vocabulary to get her point across.

My question is, when did being a lady go out of style?  I cringe when I go to the mall and see all the eight year old prost-i-tots.  I see teenagers who are showing more skin than not and acting like run-of-the-mill trollops.  I can’t quite pinpoint when it happened.  The Victorian ladies covered EVERYTHING.  It was completely improper to be seen publicly without wearing a corset.  Fashions relax a little with the Edwardian Era.  Hem lines were raised in the 20’s.  Women cut their hair short and flappers were the in thing.  Even with this relaxed fashion, you still had ladies, you still had standards. But over the decades the fashion continued to loosen and so did the standards.  Am I blaming fashion?   Heck no.  That’s like blaming gun violence on guns.  But I see a correlation.  It seems the looser acceptable fashion gets, the looser our standards get (which implies our morals or societal mores have changed).

Am I advocating we go back to the Victorian days where we all wear corsets and floor length skirts?  No, I am not (although I do think it would be super cool…some of the time).  What I am advocating is today’s young girls cover it up, leave something to the imagination.  Become ladies, in appearance and action.  It is not cool to have a baby daddy.  It is really not cool to have multiple baby daddies.  That just makes you stupid.  Get an education, make something of yourself.  Learn to be prim and proper, to be gracious and elegant, to have an air about you.  Be a person that your granddaughter will write about.  Be a lady, and remember, if you are one, you won’t have to tell a soul.

Until tomorrow - Melissa

1 comment:

  1. I think it all comes down to self respect and confidence.

    Confident women know that they don't have to wear itty bitty skirts to be beautiful -- because they're beautiful no matter what they wear. Confident girls don't have to get pregnant when they're not even old enough to drive -- because they have dreams for the future and know that the right boys will like them for their personality, not their body.

    You make such a good point that being a teenage parent isn't cool -- it's dumb. This is why I never watch all those MTV shows glorifying teen pregnancy! It's tough being a person with standards in today's world with all the contrary messages we receive, but it's worth it, all the way. :)