When I worked as a checkout chick, I remember being startled when a mum gave her toddler son the money to pay for the groceries, with the instruction of “Give it to the lady”. A dirty, snotty, pudgey little hand thrust a $20 note in my direction. That’s when I realised: I was the lady she was referring to.
I had been called many things. But a lady? I wasn’t really sure how to respond, so I took the money off the kid, gave him the change and wished them an enjoyable afternoon.
It was a peculiar moment. Obviously, I had all the bits that made me a lady. But isn’t a lady more than just boobs and ladygarden? Shouldn’t I have been prone to wearing dresses, sipping tea with a pinky extended and at the very least, fond of eye makeup? I was the total opposite of this: I was playing in a seedy band at the time, swore like a sailor and was more comfortable sprawled all over the floor than I was sitting primly on a garden bench. I farted, I burped, and would celebrate both with a trip to the pub. I was more blokey than a lady.
And things haven’t really changed all that much.
Of course, I grew up to become a proper lesbian, which funnily enough is also when I stopped liking beer.
Yet I still know that if I were behind a checkout, someone would tell their child to give the money to the lady.
If you do a quick image search using the term lady, you get this:
Here are some results that you do not get:
There seems to be some discrepancy here.
I started to panic. Maybe my vagina isn’t real? Maybe I am neither gender? What if these boobs are just enormous growths? To make everything that much worse, today is International Women’s Day. Sure, rub it in.
Then I had a little think.
Lady is the female version of Lord.
It’s a respect thing.
It has less to do with tits, and more to do with treating a woman with respect.
But why do we still need to have International Women’s Day? Surely if kids are being told to use the phrase “lady”, things must be going ok. Right?
Well… They’ve been better. But – but – think about how far we’ve come.
That’s what International Women’s Day is about now. Recognising progress. Celebrating achievements. And continuing to work hard so that all females are valued, regardless of their age, nationality, religion, or socioeconomic status.
It’s a day to remind and teach girls and women that they are valuable, able, worthy. A day to teach boys and men how to treat women with respect and honour.
Happy International Women’s Day.