"Be A Lady, They Said"

Last night I was scrolling through Instagram and I came across this video called “Be a Lady, They Said.” Right away the video caught my attention, and wow, was it powerful! The video features Cynthia Nixon reading a written piece that was originally published back in 2017. The words hit instantly, immediately making you feel the urgency and power behind them.

“‘Be a lady,’ they said. Your skirt is too short. Your shirt is too low. Cover up. Don’t be a temptress. Men can’t control themselves. Men have needs. Look sexy. Don’t be so provocative. You're asking for it.”

The contradicting words in this video force viewers to reflect on the absurdity of the standards that women are expected to uphold. You can’t be fat, but you can’t be too skinny. You have to be appealing to men, but not overly sexual or you're just asking for it. Society’s standards for women are unattainable and demeaning and they are constantly being advertised. This video shows how much pressure society puts on women to present themselves in a certain way.

The condescending tone behind “Just be a lady” makes it seem as though being a “lady” is simple, that standards are easy to uphold if you just conform to society’s demands. Personally, I find the word “Lady” belittling. Typically, when someone says “Be a lady” they mean be polite, look presentable, and keep quiet. I say screw that. Be loud, be strong, wear what you want, do what you love, embrace your sexuality, nurture your body.

This video is alarmingly powerful and reveals the overwhelming pressures that come with being a woman. The narration is combined with grim, menacing music and images from advertisements, movies, TV, and photographs from Girls Girls Girls magazine. It also features Rachel McAdams's famous magazine cover wearing a breast pump. This video is important, compelling, and worth the watch especially because watching it will force you to think.