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Lady (?)

  • The Word Lady: Most Often Used to Describe Someone You Wouldn't Want to Talk to for Even Five Minutes.

  • She was an authority on where to place monograms on linen, how to instruct working folk, and what to say in letters of condolence. The word 'lady' figured largely in her conversation.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "The Wonderful Old Gentleman," The Collected Stories of Dorothy Parker ()
  • These were American ladies, i.e., they were of that class who have wealth and leisure to make full use of the day, and confer benefits on others.

  • Women are not ladies. The term connotes females who are simultaneously put on a pedestal and patronized.

  • Give us that grand word 'woman' once again, / And let's have done with 'lady'; one's a term / Full of fine force, strong, beautiful, and firm, / Fit for the noblest use of tongue or pen; / And one's a word for lackeys.

  • This noble word [women], spirit-stirring as it passes over English ears, is in America banished, and 'ladies' and 'females' substituted: the one to English taste mawkish and vulgar; the other indistinctive and gross.

  • I have defined Ladies as people who did not do things themselves.

  • Ladies were ladies in those days; they did not do things themselves, they told other people what to do and how to do it.

  • ... she's a real woman, the kind that can't look after herself ...

  • What restricts the use of the world 'lady' among the courteous is that it is intended to set a woman apart from ordinary humanity, and in the working world that is not a help, as women have discovered in many bitter ways.

  • A young lady is a female child who has just done something dreadful.

  • Miss Manners cannot think of a more succinct definition of a lady than 'someone who wants to punch another person in the nose, but doesn't.'

  • The term 'lady' has been so misused, that I like better the old-fashioned term, woman.

  • ... it was always insolent for a common man to take a chair in the presence of a lady — the word LADY, we may be sure, capitalized in her mind, and denoting not sex but rank.

  • ... ladies are just those of us who have been silenced.

  • Viewed as a 'lady,' I am pinned in ambivalence. I feel a calculating interest, a measuring of my appeal and availability. But as a 'lady' I am not supposed to notice that I am a sexual person. The effect of being 'ladylike' is to make a woman ashamed of her sexuality.

  • I have already referred to the misuse of the term 'ladies,' and just here I want to emphasize it. It is incorrect, a mistake in language, to speak of yourself or of any other person as 'ladies' in connection with work of any kind. The term 'lady' presupposes leisure. In the same way the word 'gentleman' carries a like significance. Now you know very well that the term 'gentleman of business' is never used, and you certainly never heard of a 'salesgentleman.'

  • We were a company of perhaps a dozen authors, editors, writers, artists, and the like — Mrs. Custer herself, Mrs. Dodge, Kate Field, Mrs. Sangster, Kate Douglas Wiggin, and others — all good friends and all busy and capable women. Mrs. Custer looked across the table. 'Why,' said she, 'we are all working-women; not a lady among us!'

  • She was a perfect lady — just set in her seat and stared.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "Lily Daw and the Three Ladies," A Curtain of Green ()
  • Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • speech to Wellesley graduating class ()
  • Any woman could act like a lady, and this behavior was interpreted as being submissive, demure, inhibited ... Being a lady in the Western world was like footbinding in China.

  • Such a perfect lady! She never raises her voice, she never fidgets, she never contradicts, she never gets untidy.

  • If woman's sole responsibility is of the domestic type, one class will be crushed by it, and the other throw it off as a badge of poverty. The poor man's motto, 'Woman's work is never done,' leads inevitably to its antithesis — ladies' work is never begun.

  • 'Little lady!' That is just such a name as one would give to an idle, useless, butterfly creature, of no value but as an amusement, a plaything of leisure hours, in time of business or care to be altogether set aside and forgotten.

  • ... a lady is one who never shows her underwear unintentionally.

  • ... any girl who was a lady would not even think of having such a good time that she did not remember to hang on to her jewelry.

  • The terms 'lady' and 'woman' are often misused. The word 'lady' is usually used only by a person of inferior station to the woman in question. A secretary announcing a caller to her boss would say, 'There's a lady here to see you.' A salesgirl referring a customer to another clerk would say, 'This lady would like to see our evening purses.' A man, speaking of his wife, refers to her as a 'woman' — he would, however speak of her as a 'lady' in front of servants or salespeople. A woman, likewise, refers to herself as a 'lady' only in front of persons of lower station; to her friends, she is a 'woman.'

  • Every discussion of the status of woman is complicated by the existence of the lady. She overshadows the rest of her sex.

  • ... the typical lady everywhere tends to the feudal habit of mind. In contemporary society she is an archaism ...

  • The lady is proverbial for her skill in eluding definition ... she may be described merely as the female of the favored social class.

  • ... the lady is almost the only picturesque survival in a social order which tends less and less to tolerate the exceptional. ... In the age-long war between men and women, she is a hostage in the enemy's camp. Her fortunes do not rise and fall with those of women but with those of men.

  • The lady ... is not a producer; in most communities productive labor is by consent unladylike. On the other hand she is the heaviest of consumers, and theorists have not been wanting to maintain that the more she spends the better off society is.

  • ... the true lady is in theory either a virgin or a lawful wife.

  • The lady ... is an anomaly to which the western nations of this planet have grown accustomed but which would require a great deal of explanation before a Martian could understand her.

  • The idle wife ranked with the ornamentally wrought weapon and with the splendid offering to the gods as a measure of the man's power to waste, and therefore his superiority over other men. ... As is the case with any other object of art, her uselessness is her use.

  • As the gentleman decays, the lady survives as the strongest evidence of his former predominance.

  • ... a lady could do, so I was told, just about nothing that she might want to do except attend all parties.

  • Girls do what their mothers tell them. Ladies do what society tells them. Women make up their own minds.

  • Her definition of a true lady is one who is ignorant of the simplest domestic details to the point of imbecility.

  • Women all want to be ladies, which is simply to have nothing to do, but listlessly to go they scarcely care where, for they cannot tell what.

  • Ladies were ladies more by virtue of the things they didn't do than by the things they did. The other sort of woman had a different, more positive set of values.

  • Being a lady means playing the game by somebody else's rules. Playing by those rules, too many women have lost too much for too long.

  • No matter what your fight, don't be ladylike! God Almighty made woman and the Rockefeller gang of thieves made the ladies.

    • Mother Jones,
    • in Mary Field Parton, ed., The Autobiography of Mother Jones ()
  • There is a difference between women and ladies. The modern parasites made ladies, but God Almighty made women.

    • Mother Jones,
    • speech, 1912, in Judith Anderson, ed., Outspoken Women ()
  • Call me anything you like, but don't call me a lady.