We recently covered Ann Friedman's thoughts on the term "lady." (She's all for it.) Sarah Nicole Prickett has a different take: she wants to light the word "gently on fire and drop it in a gasoline pentagram through the nearest semi-ironic knitting circle."
I am rarely a girl-hater. I have deep feels for bitches, and tomboys make me weak with envy (or lust, if there's a difference). But ladies? Ladies can eat me and call it a juice cleanse. I haven't spent my entire feminism waiting to "stylishly signal" (gross, so gross) that femininity is a construct but also totally cute and young. I want to signal that if I am fucked with, I will shoot a man down in Central Station.
Ladies, or "ladies," do no such dirty work. Ladies dine out on the upper echelons of what is called equality, concerned mainly with Democrat victories and amicable co-existence with men and "the status of women," so long as it doesn't upset the status quo. And ladies, for all Friedman's nice protestations, tend to adhere to the first definition of lady: mistress of a household. That household may be her very own studio in Park Slope, but all the crafting and canning and cottage-industrying and Betty Draper drag-wearing and peaceful bike-rally protesting in the world will not give her the rule of it. Nor will drinking whiskey and having witty conversations and swearing or any of the things Friedman intends, in her half-baked tautology, to subvert the old definition of "lady." Only a lady would find any of these things subversive.
What I find subversive and right is to grow a bleeding vagina and be a woman, which is not to say "don't harass or assault or discriminate against me because I'm a woman," but rather, "don't harass or assault or discriminate against me. Because I'm a woman. And I'll destroy you."