Any Lady was first a woman, but not all women, can become a Lady. ~ Connie Omari
Females are intentionally positioned on this earth for a specific purpose: to provide nourishment, empowerment and support for ourselves, our families, and society at large. And though to many of us this is clear, some of us miss the mark. What separates the good women, from the bad ones?
My answer… The degree to which one is a Lady.
Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition. ~Marilyn Monroe
According to dictionary.com, “lady hood” is defined as a woman who is refined, polite, and well-spoken.
I believe that a Lady is much more than that.
In my book, Sacred Journey to Ladyhood: A Woman’s Guide through Her Write of Passage, I coined the term “Ladyhood” and elaborated on it throughout the Sacred Journey. Here is the excerpt from my book which defines Ladyhood.
Being a Woman does not always make one a Lady.
Ladyhood is the greatest extension of the concept of being female. Thus, to most accurately define the concept of Ladyhood, it is important to understand each level that exists before it. This clarification is critical to conveying the hierarchy of the femininity chain to Ladyhood. The chain that exists is composed of three levels: female, woman, and Lady. Notice that Lady will always be capitalized in this work because of the respect we will extend to the term. It is this ultimate form of femininity that you, as the reader, are expected to obtain. The Sacred Journey to Ladyhood will not be easy, but with the correct knowledge, you will learn to identify your innate ability to become the Lady you deserve to be. This work is intended to guide you along the journey. Let us define all levels of femininity so that you can fully appreciate the essence of being a Sacred Lady.
The first level within the chain to Ladyhood is the term female. The term female simply recognizes the presence of biological factors. These factors are usually developed from the double X chromosomes the female obtains at conception. The characteristics then are expressed internally (the presence of ovaries, fallopian tubes, and a uterus) and externally (presence of a vagina). At puberty, the female develops a relatively rounded body, which includes enlarged breasts, curvaceous hips, and a beardless face. Being female is the most basic of the identifiers and is determined at birth (or before if the parents choose) and on most occasions is the characteristic that will remain with her until the day she dies.
The next level within the chain to Ladyhood is the term woman. A woman is an adult version of a female. Usually a female becomes a woman once she is “of age” (either eighteen or twenty-one, whichever is supported by society). One would think that, given that womanhood represents a major milestone for females, there would be a greater emphasis on one’s transition from female to woman. Sadly, this is not the case. Women receive no training in what being an adult female is about, seek little guidance in proper etiquette, are relatively shallow in nature, lack moral reasoning, and are emotionally immature. They stay stuck in a vicious lifestyle contaminated with egocentrism that offers few opportunities for creativity and growth, and they live lives void of optimal functioning.
Fortunately, there is a level along this chain beyond womanhood, and it will be referred to in this book as Ladyhood. Ladyhood represents the epitome of womanhood. It includes not only the physiological makeup of females in their adult years but considers the way they manage their struggles, their strengths, their vulnerabilities, their desires, their inner and outer beauty, and their overall being. A Lady is someone who speaks with accomplishment and poise. When she walks into a room, she radiates both internal and external beauty, and anyone around her can recognize it. A Lady is not afraid to defy the norms and does so by creating an authentic aura around her; a Lady uses her knowledge to empower others. A female can become a woman who then becomes a Lady through the way she carries herself, through the values to which she adheres, and through the morals she upholds. And while a Lady is not expected to be perfect, a Lady is well prepared to identify her imperfections and use them to make a better version of herself. The combination of these attributes creates a magnitude of strength that a Sacred Lady uses to positively impact herself, her family, and her community with grace, humility, and perseverance.
A Lady is always sacred because she is spiritually divine. She does not see spirituality as a separate entity. Instead, a Sacred Lady understands that the spirit lives within her. Leijssen (2008) provided the following description of the essence of being sacred: “The sacred is a quality of experiencing life. It has to do with value, depth, wonder, reverence, touching the soul or the life force. [Ladyhood] can be deepened and enriched, even transformed, when the sacred is invited and the spiritual dimension is addressed …”
Many people are often intimidated by the concept of Ladyhood because of various misconceptions the term holds or has held in the past. Proper etiquette that was once considered “Ladylike” often created a picture of women who wore formal dresses, drank tea, and stayed at home with houses full of children all day. Their only purpose was to serve their husbands and children while sacrificing their own dreams and aspirations. This mindset has since become dated and is not something most of us wish to acquire. Thanks to the works of early feminists such as Mary Wollstonecraft (a published author and advocate for women’s education), Elizabeth Stanton (one of the first initiates of women’s rights and women’s suffrage in the United States), and Jane Adams (a leader in women’s suffrage and world peace), we now have the abilities to pursue things such as higher education and professional careers. For women, unfortunately, the emphasis on taking advantage of these opportunities has come at the expense of their matriculation into Ladyhood. The reason for this is because those who choose to remain labeled as “women” have subsequently placed a lack of emphasis on their innate qualities of Ladyhood in order to obtain things like power and wealth provided by feminism. This can be seen in a doctor who was so preoccupied with her career that by the time she realized she wanted to have children, it was too late. This can also be seen in a corporate lawyer who so was concerned with improving her career that she willingly defended rapists so they could be released into the community and rape again. This can also be observed in the “independent woman” who is so consumed with thinking about what people can do to benefit her that she forgets her moral obligation to do what she can to benefit and uplift others. With the plethora of scenarios such as these, one cannot help but think of how we have allowed the opportunity of feminism to redefine us in an unnatural manner. This perspective is not intended to be an attack on those magnificent Ladies who fought for women’s rights, because a Sacred Lady should be appreciative of all opportunities provided for her. Rather, this perspective should bring caution to the women who have allowed the efforts of others to distract them from their natural-born tendency to be Ladies. This does not mean that a Lady should then resume her role to her husband and her children as her only position in life (unless she wants to), but it does mean that a Sacred Lady recognizes the balance between the importance of living an independent life with opportunity and understanding fully her capacity and responsibility to make a difference to others by using the innate qualities that make her a nurturing, divine creature.
So you’ve got dictionary.com’s definition of lady hood and you have my definition of Ladyhood. Now, I’m curious about yours. How would you define Ladyhood?