Unladylike behaviour: the Mumsnet A-Z

When a Mumsnetter started a thread asking for examples of things we'd been told were "unladylike", the response was comprehensive.

From ankle bracelets, to talking about football to "walking with too long a stride", so many things have been deemed inappropriate over the years that a directory of unladylikeness was clearly required as a matter of urgency, in order to save a generation of women from themselves. Here it is. Ignore at your peril.

 

1950s woman

 

A

Abbreviation of names

Anger, showing of

Anklets

Arguing

 

B

Bending over (rather than crouching)

Black, wearing of (other than at funerals)

Burping

 

C

Cars, exiting with knees apart ("put both feet outside and then stand")

Chewing gum

Cleavage, more than an inch of

Cleverness, flaunting of

Climbing

Curry (hot) ("not ladylike to want a madras or vindaloo/phal")

 

D

Drinking deeply ("one ought to sip, even if one's throat is afire")

Drinking from a can or bottle

Drinking in the street

Drinking pints ("my mother was relatively enlightened, given her upbringing, but even she used to buy me two halves rather than a pint")

Drinking whisky

Driving

Driving a van ("both my dad and one of my sisters couldn't stop going on about it when I turned up in our camper van because DP was using the car")

Drunkenness ("I remember the chat from my mum very clearly - 'I don't mind you going down the pub at 15, but don't come crying to me if they throw you out for being under age, and remember, it is not ladylike to fall over and appear drunk. If you want to create a good impression, don't get further than tipsy'")


E

Eating in the street ("though for some reason chip shop chips were ok")

Eating with your hands ("I went to a girls school where we weren't allowed to eat hamburgers with our hands as it was unladylike - we had to use a knife and fork")

Eating while walking

 

F

Fairs, going to

Fat, becoming 

Farting

Feet, showing

Football, discussion thereof

 

G

Glasses

Gravy, consuming "by spooning it out of the gravy boat"

Gum (see "Chewing")

 

H

Hair, public brushing of

Husbands, being apart from ("my husband often works away from home. This is met with the same disapproval as if we'd got divorced")

Humour, having a sense of

 

J

Jeans

 

L

Legs apart ("sitting with my legs apart more than about an inch. This seemed to be quite a precise measurement")

Lipstick, red

 

M

Make-up, lack of, public application of

Mini skirts

Mowing the lawn

 

N

Nail varnish, "especially on toenails"

 

P

Patent shoes

Phoning a member of the opposite sex ("he has to phone first")

Pints (see "Drinking")

Plates, clearing completely

Pubs, entering alone

Pulling faces

 

R

Red (see also "Shoes", "Lipstick")

Reaching up high ("for things above your head - eg changing a lightbulb")

Running

 

S

Screaming in a delivery room ("thank you, virgin midwife")

Shoes: white, red, patent, DMs

Shouting in the corridors at school

Skirts, mini, "above the knee"

Sleeping on your back

Smoking; smoking outside

Swearing ("when I was 18 a friend's boyfriend told me off, said he hated to hear women swear. I told the cunt to fuck the fuck off")

 

T

Tattoos

Tights, opaque; coloured ("navy permitted after worn by Princess Diana")

Toys, esp. playing with boys' toys

 

V

Vans (see "Driving")

Voice, low

 

W

Walking with too long a stride ("I was told by mum that I ... should tip tap neatly along in a heel like her")

Weight training

Whisky (see "Drinking")

Whistling ("My grandma used to say 'whistling women and crowing hen are neither use to God nor men'"/"We were told that when a woman whistled, Our Lady (ie the Virgin Mary) cried")

White shoes

Winter, leaving the house without coat, hat or gloves during

 

Y

Yawning


Anything we've missed? Add your own on the thread!
 

 

 

Last updated: 17-Feb-2014 at 3:57 PM