The video nails the endless contradictions society flings at women throughout their life and if this doesn't get men to wake up and smell the stench of their privilege, I doubt anything will.
Women are supposed to meet such impossible standards throughout their lives that it is practically impossible to even take a deep breath without feeling judged by a thousand eyes. Despite the continued efforts to remold society into one that respects equal rights, that discards beauty standards, that understands the importance of consent, and that holds men accountable for their crimes, progress has been painfully slow. However, for us women, the stakes are just too high to give up this fight, retreat into our kitchens, and dutifully prepare sandwiches for the men for life.
If you've been having trouble understanding or making someone else realize why the stakes are so high, clear the next three minutes of your time because Cynthia Nixon just released a video that'll definitely help. The Sex and the City alum turned politico and recently teamed up with Girls Girls Girls Magazine to feature in a powerful video titled Be a Lady, They Said! The 2-minute 51-seconds long video nails the endless contradictions society flings at women throughout their life and if this doesn't get men to wake up and smell the stench of their privilege, I doubt anything will.
In the spoken-word piece that has gone viral on social media since being posted on Monday, Nixon is seen reciting Camille Rainville's prose-poetry with the same name. Published on her blog in 2017, Rainville's Be a Lady, They Said! puts into words the endless conflicting demands women face all their life. "Be a lady they said. Your skirt is too short. Your shirt is too low. Your pants are too tight. Don’t show so much skin. Don’t show your thighs. Don’t show your breasts. Don’t show your midriff. Don’t show your cleavage. Don’t show your underwear. Don’t show your shoulders. Cover up. Leave something to the imagination. Dress modestly. Don’t be a temptress. Men can’t control themselves. Men have needs. You look frumpy. Loosen up," Nixon begins, as various clips taken from fashion shoots, political debates, and films flash across the screen.
All women need to hear this. pic.twitter.com/rhMuTi2ie2— Katy Louise Eltman (@katylou22) February 25, 2020
"Show some skin. Look sexy. Look hot. Don’t be so provocative. You’re asking for it. Wear black. Wear heels. You’re too dressed up. You’re too dressed down. Don’t wear those sweatpants; you look like you’ve let yourself go," the 53-year-old continues. The video goes on to call out the media's intense scrutiny of women's bodies, with Nixon reciting: "Be a lady they said. Don’t be too fat. Don’t be too thin. Don’t be too large. Don’t be too small. Eat up. Slim down. Stop eating so much. Don’t eat too fast. Order a salad. Don’t eat carbs. Skip dessert. You need to lose weight. Fit into that dress. Go on a diet. Watch what you eat. Eat celery. Chew gum. Drink lots of water. You have to fit into those jeans. God, you look like a skeleton. Why don’t you just eat?"
It's incredible. Thank you and to all involved in this film #GirlsGirlsGirlsMag #BeaLadyTheySaid #EqualityCantWait My 14yr old daughter watched it with me and rolled her eyes. 'We just can't win, can we Mum?' #MamasGotWork— Wendy Powell (@mutuceo) February 26, 2020
"You look emaciated. You look sick. Eat a burger. Men like women with some meat on their bones. Be small. Be light. Be little. Be petite. Be feminine. Be a size zero. Be a double zero. Be nothing. Be less than nothing." Be a Lady, They Said! also highlights the victim-shaming culture still thriving in the post #MeToo world as the Nixon recites: "Be a lady they said. Save yourself. Be pure. Be virginal. Don’t talk about sex. Don’t flirt. Don’t be a skank. Don’t be a whore. Don’t sleep around. Don’t lose your dignity. Don’t have sex with too many men. Don’t give yourself away. Men don’t like sluts. Don’t be a prude. Don’t be so uptight. Have a little fun. Smile more. Pleasure men. Be experienced. Be sexual. Be innocent. Be dirty. Be virginal. Be sexy. Be the cool girl. Don’t be like the other girls."
The timing of the video's release couldn't have been more perfect as it came just a day before Harvey Weinstein was convicted of sexual assault and rape. "Be a lady they said. Don’t get raped. Protect yourself. Don’t drink too much. Don’t walk alone. Don’t go out too late. Don’t dress like that. Don’t show too much. Don’t get drunk. Don’t leave your drink. Have a buddy. Walk where it is well lit. Stay in the safe neighborhoods. Tell someone where you’re going. Bring pepper spray. Buy a rape whistle. Hold your keys like a weapon. Take a self-defense course. Check your trunk. Lock your doors. Don’t go out alone. Don’t make eye contact. Don’t bat your eyelashes. Don’t look easy. Don’t attract attention. Don’t work late. Don’t crack dirty jokes. Don’t smile at strangers. Don’t go out at night. Don’t trust anyone," Nixon recites. If there's one video that should go under mandatory viewing for anyone who's even remotely related to a woman, it's this one.
Question— Runningflyhalf (@Runningflyhalf) February 25, 2020
I see the #BeALadyTheySaid video has been shared on FB by about 10 of my woman friends.
Not 1 man friend of mine has.
Why don’t men share it? Do men not think it’s worthwhile to share? Do men not care? Do men think it’s not their place to do so?