Be a Lady, They Said is a video that has gone viral. More than 4 million views and counting at the time I am writing this. Cynthia Nixon gives a brief recitation of the impossible standards that girls and women face in society each day of their lives. From food intake to emotional pain to wight gain and loss to sexual freedom that may lead to being a hoar. This little six-minute video says it all.
It is exactly how Nixon delivers the message that packed a punch in my gut. She lists all the messages – and they go on and on – and each is displayed with its own powerful image to match what people have said about being a lady. I will admit I have heard every one of these statements either in regard to myself or another whom I know.
The litany of ironic messages had my head swirling. Is it any wonder that any girl or woman can grow up in society feeling safe, secure, and knowledgable of herself in her own skin? Nah, too many mixed messages coming in from everywhere to distort truth.
As I watched the video, I wondered about all of the girls I know who are in middle or high school today. I was horrified to think they are receiving these same messaged and are trying to navigate them in an ever-changing, fast-paced world that holds little value for critical thinking and conversation.
However, Nixon has given us an opportunity for us to watch this video with our girls and discuss these messages and how they are seen, felt, and understood and how will they handle the pressure of ironic messages. How will we as adults put aside these messages — some we may even abide by – in order to help our girls sort out the implicit messages given on an explicit level.
Although difficult, the video packs a punch that should not be ignored by anyone.