I love this quote for so many reasons. I love the permission it gives me to break the rules. I love the boldness it gives me to think outside the box. I love the idea that I can make history.
Here is where it all falls apart for me. I take offense of the term a “well-behaved woman”. How is it that we continue to identify women by their behaviors and classify them as good or bad?
When did having ideas that challenge the norm and being bold enough to say so become a bad thing or something to be classified as misbehaving? And why is this only true if you’re a woman? Men are considered mavericks and women are considered…ill-mannered?
I have to say, I was brought up in a bit of an old-fashioned household. It
was part of our upbringing to be taught etiquette and know the setting and use of a proper table setting to include each fork, knife and spoon, glass, bread plate and even if we were sat at a table including finger bowls (who uses those?) I was taught the etiquette of social situations, what to say, when to speak and not to speak, where my elbows belonged, etc. so that I would always be proper and the objective was that I would be comfortable in any situation.
The Time Has Come
I was brought up to be “well behaved” and I can be at times (if called for) but I also am a born rebel. I don’t like to be restricted, I question most everything around me and I push boundaries always.
It has taken me many decades to finally come to terms with the fact that these very traits are to be celebrated not hidden because they are not aligned with standard social grace. It is part of the very “E-ness” of me. I know it challenges some people, it scares some and it exhausts others. I’m learning to be in celebration of this aspect of myself and help others hear what their bold inner voice is longing, but too polite, to say.
Now that the final UK prince has married, it is unlikely I will be called to use the teaching of my grandparents to the degree they may have hoped. Luckily I haven’t been waiting to dine with the queen, but I have been apologizing for and toning down some of my zest in effort to “behave” myself.
Well-Behaved And Showing Up
It is time to discard the idea that standing out, being bold and making history is for those who are misbehaving or doing something wrong. We women are using our voices to share our views, making our mark or even making history and we arewell-behaved, intelligent women who are changing this vision once worn as a badge.
Bold ≠ Misbehaved
We don’t have to be nasty to be heard, we aren’t wrong or socially incorrect, we have something to say or do and it’s our time to be heard and seen unapologetically.
It is time to discard the idea that having an opinion is misbehaving that using our voice and standing up for or creating what we believe is “unladylike” and should be avoided as a woman.
So I encourage you to join me in being a catalyst for whatever you wish to share with the world regardless of your gender. Know that you can share your gifts in whatever way you wish and feel comfortable knowing that we can all make history and it is only a credit to your character.
And don’t worry Granny,if I get called to have lunch with the queen, I still remember which fork is for my salad!