There's A Very Distinct Line Between Being 'Ladylike' And Being A Woman

Now you get to share this with everyone who ever said, "You're not being ladylike" throughout your life.

A LOT of ladylike things were only RECENTLY INVENTED.

Here's a list to get us started...


THE HISTORY OF "LADYLIKE" STUFF

1. MAKEUP AND NAIL POLISH

Have you heard of "kohl"? It's an ancient *eyeliner* that's been used *mostly* by women but also by men and children for thousands of years. But more significantly, this means that makeup is ... THOUSANDS of years old. The term "lady" isn't even 1,000 years old (see #4). Yeah that's right, eyeliner predates ladylike-ness. So wear it, don't wear it ... it says literally nothing about you as a person.

Is this Jack Sparrow wax figure "ladylike" or not because it rocks a kohl eyeliner? Does it matter?*

*It doesn't.

2. DRESSES

As "Stuff Mom Never Told You" reminds us, before pants came into play (and they only really came into play because men needed to ride horses to go fight wars and stuff), loincloths, tunics, togas, and kilts were cool by dudes. Occasionally, dress-y things are still cool by dudes today.

"Looking 'ladylike,' Mr. Sean Connery!" — Something no one has said ever.

3. HEELS

High heels originally started as a dude thing anyway. Yep. According to Slate, "High-heeled shoes were originally worn by men. As early as the 10th century, many horseback-riding cultures wore heels on their boots and on their shoes, because heels help you stay in the stirrups (which is why cowboy boots have heels)."

"The Vision of Saint Eustace" by Pisanello, 1438-1442, rocking a hunting man-stiletto.



4. THE VERY "CONCEPT" OF LADYLIKE

The word ladylike is from the 1580s, when the life expectancy of a woman, according to Wikipedia, was about ... 25-40. I'm not feeling like I wanna relive those days, do you?

So don't sweat it!

AND REMEMBER:

And on the flipside, *being* "ladylike" doesn't mean you're not a man!

More

Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

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Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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