American Masters


What Unladylike Means to Me

Modern day women from the series discuss what the term "unladylike" means to them.

AIRED: July 29, 2020 | 0:01:46

- Unladylike is an awesome word for me.

- It's an empowering term.

- I guess it means gutsy.

- Refusing to conform to someone else's concept

of what it means to be a woman period.

To dream and to dare.

- Those of us who have been called unladylike

and I certainly have, reclaim that and wear it as a badge.

- To me being unladylike

is not so much about what I'm wearing

or what I'm looking like on any particular day,

it's about kind of boldly following my interests

and my curiosity.

Being powerful,

a full protagonist in the story of your own life.

- Women have been told to be quiet, to be thin,

to not take up a lot of physical space,

to stay in the domestic sphere

and not go out into the public world.

- I know that there is a perception that being aggressive

and ambitious is also unladylike, but I don't think so.

- It's used for women

who have the audacity to step into man's sphere

and do what they want to do.

- In my culture women have always been warriors.

- My existence is a form of resistance.

If being a lady

means I've got to sit in the corner somewhere

and be quiet and never raise my hand, never speak up,

never shout, never run, never sit in, never stand up.

I'm fully committed to being unladylike,

if that's what being a lady means.

- Call me unladylike and I'll probably say, thank you.

(upbeat music)


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