Re: Ladies and Gentlemen

March 9, 2011 | Danelle

My post last week brought some intelligent discourse in the comments section, and I would like to address a point a few of my readers brought up.

The point was about the term “ladies and gentlemen.” If we lived in the early 20th century or before, it would be easy to think of upper class women in flashy dresses and extravagant hats and men in tailcoats and top hats when talking about ladies and gentlemen. However, one of my goals when using the terms is to make their definitions much more than mere appearance, if appearance at all. This modernization of the terms helps bring the definition into the current century and throw away the traditional and very close-minded definition.

It is for this reason that I believe (if I did not make this clear in my previous post) being a lady or gentleman is based on personality, i.e., how a person treats others—similar to a synonym for a considerate person. I think I speak for most people who use the term “ladies and gentlemen–” that we use it in reference to a person’s conduct, not a person’s class, social standing, race, sexuality, etc.

Some, when faced with the terms “ladies and gentlemen,” will immediately assume the worst by using the outdated definitions of fancy hat ladies. Some will also dig for reasons to label those who use “ladies and gentlemen” today as bigoted. Why do they do this? To put a stop to the conservative movement. In labeling us this way, these people do not facilitate any sort of progress for the terms or for any sort of unity for women, but inhibit it.

We live in the 21st century where we ought to not judge people by the color of their skin, their class, gender, or sexuality, but with all of this, there are still groups who refuse to take off their blinders.

In part, I take blame. I assumed that people today would understand we live in the 21st century and know that I would never limit the words “ladies and gentlemen” to upper class society as some did in the 20th century and before. I wish my assumption would have been correct.

I hope all my readers embrace the updated definition of “ladies and gentlemen,” and that those with blinders thank NeW for bringing them into the 21st century.

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