Lover, language is heavy. Whether we like it or not, words are inscribed with meaning, history and implications. When I think about the connotations around the word “lady,” I really want no part of it. And, it’s simple, really - one becomes a woman when they reach adult age. I don’t think there’s a need to mystify it by expecting women to achieve some kind of societal brownie points before they can be women.
Also, a “lady” crosses her legs, her make up is always perfect, she’s polite, she doesn’t cuss, she has doors opened for her, she’s tidy & neat, her cooking is flawless, ad nauseam. These are all great qualities and I behave this way, sometimes, but the term is too prescriptive for me. It sounds too tiring for the kind of living and loving that I do.
Some days I dress up and most days I don’t. I rarely wear make-up. I climb trees. I cuss when I want to. My nailpolish chips and the world keeps turning. I hate cooking. I’m different ways on different days, y’know?
On Santigold’s Lady, there’s this line that just gets to me: “I know someday they’ll make a martyr out of me.” It’s so fitting. I never want my social conduct to be a result of adhering to some invisible authority. I refuse to be a prim and proper, self-sacrificial lamb simply because my anatomy contains a vagina.
“Woman” is what I equate with self-determination. By identifying myself as a woman, you already know that I’m not here to impress you and that I don’t need your rescue – I am simply here to continue with my way of being in the world, according to my terms. There’s no space for you to get it twisted. I am always a woman, never a lady.