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How to be a lady - an elegant history

(4 Posts)
Sunshineleaves31 Fri 24-Jul-15 14:43:57

I don't know if anyone saw this last night on BBC 4 (I was channel hopping and came across it) but it included Rachel Johnson going to look at various things that make women into 'a lady'.

One of the places she went to was an eqtiquette school where women were taught how to enter rooms, walk, eat with appropriate cutlery, flower arrange, etc, etc. She asked the owner/teacher of this establishment why she thought these courses were more popular now. This woman replied with (I'm paraphrasing) that 'because women have been equal for so long now in the home and in the workplace they are more confident about having other people take care of them and in doing more traditionally ladylike things.'

Admittedly I was having a bad day yesterday after listening to a 23 year old middle class white man in my office extensively complain about how sexist the corporate dress policy is against men and how hard done by he is if and when the weather gets warm, but I was quite surprised that anyone held the above view about female equality and just generally about the tone of the programme.

almondcakes Fri 24-Jul-15 15:30:25

I will speculate...

1. It is maybe related to class?

2. It has arisen from a similar place to those people who call themselves the 'vintage community' and do all that Burlesque stuff.

3. It has come about because certain elements of femininity that were devalued no longer are, or at least no longer are by many women. I mean, I wouldn't mind learning how to arrange flowers.

Although I haven't seen the show, so just vague speculation.

StellaAlpina Fri 24-Jul-15 22:20:35

I watched it, I think it could have been a bit more intelligent - like that Grayson Perry documentary about class and taste.

I was watching it through a 'thinking about class' rather than feministy lens though. Especially the bit where the girls/young women were at the finishing school type place - I can see the appeal to get some extra 'polish'.

StellaAlpina Fri 24-Jul-15 22:25:57

Trying to think about it in a feministy way...I think almondcakes is right a lot of traditionally feminie skills are devalued, baking for e.g. (well apart from sponge) is actually rather complicated and technical.

My gran taught me to embroider when I was little, at the time I thought it was incredibly boring but now I'm glad she did, lots of traditional skills are dying out and maybe this 'return to ladylikeness' helps to keep some of them.

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