Be You, We Said

711 711 Samantha Lynn

Text: Be you, We said.

“Be a lady, they said.”

 

It’s a message we’ve heard on repeat since fashion magazine Girls Girls Girls released its bold Be a Lady They Said video last week. 

 

Written by poet Camille Rainville and narrated by actress and activist Cynthia Nixon, Be a Lady They Said spotlights the impossible standards women face every day. From what women wear to what they say to how they choose to exude their sexuality, each message contradicts the other. It’s a reminder that as a woman, navigating the world can feel like an uphill battle where the end game is always just out of reach. 

 

It’s no surprise Be a Lady They Said, with 20 million viewers and counting, has struck a deep nerve. Thousands of women around the world have rallied behind the video, sharing it through social media. Others question whether it does anything effective to solve gender inequality. 

 

At the very least, the video is getting people to talk. And dialogue can motivate and inspire people to fight for positive change. Beyond that, Be a Lady They Said is a refreshing alternative to the toxic misogynistic narratives women hear every day.

 

For example, 90 women have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. Yet at his recent New York trial, defense lawyer Donna Rotunno attempted to derail prosecutors’ arguments by suggesting the victims were the ultimate engineers of their own sexual harassment. To think otherwise was to believe in an “alternate universe” painted by prosecutors, she said, one where women are not responsible “for the parties they attend, the men they flirt with, the choices they make to further their own careers…” After all, they dared to associate with Weinstein in the first place, right?

 

The narrative bleeds across so many genres. An established soccer organization told female athletes at the top of their game that they deserve to get paid 38% of what their male counterparts make, despite winning four world cups, four Olympic gold medals and eight CONCACAF Gold Cups. Never mind that the men have earned fewer titles, lower ticket sale earnings and lower merchandise sales.

 

Be a Lady They Said sees us flipping the narrative…

 

Be a Man, We Said.

 

Be a Man, We Said. Your dress pants are too tight. Your V-neck is too low. Don’t show so much muscle. Hide your dad bod. You’re too hairy. You’re too bald. You can’t grow a beard? Be a Man, We Said. 

 

Don’t cross your arms. Don’t say that. Don’t get emotional. Don’t show weakness. Be a Man, We Said

 

You don’t deserve this job. You are a fake. You don’t have a vacation home? You don’t fly first class? Don’t make less than six figures. Don’t be anything less than the ultimate breadwinner. Be a Man, We Said.

 

Women don’t like short men. Stop aging, it’s not wisdom we see, it is irrelevancy. You’ve let yourself go. You look really tired. That’s a woman’s job, let me do that. Be a Man, step aside.

 

At the end of the day, since when did women care about any of that?

Just look at me, the same way that I look at you. 

 

Be you, We Said. 

 

We still have a ways to go to achieving gender parity. But if there’s anything we’ve learned, it’s that we’ll get there by continuing to be fiercely, unapologetically and unequivocally ourselves. The “alternative universe” was never a realistic option anyway. 

 

This year, make the most of International Women’s Day. Just be you, we said.