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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Mon May 20, 2013, 03:52 PM

146. Unladylike/ungentlemanly, for me anyway, are less about gender and more...

...about ethical aspects of a person. I grew up in New Orleans and while it's true that some people may construe "ladylike" or "gentlemanly" with heavy gender inflection, in practice it was used (where I lived, anyway) to denote a person's comportment, quality of speech, behavior in regards to ethical matters and so on.

The particular place where I grew up had scads and scads of poor people and there was a lot of classism and racism. However a wealthy white man or woman could still be described as "ungentlemanly" or "unladylike" and even the poorest black person could still be described as "gentlemanly" or "ladylike", depending on their actual behavior.

It was a sort of class-related modifier and it was used to at least partially negate a person's economic class status (wealthy or not) to indicate what kind of person they actually were.

When I moved to Oregon I found there really wasn't much in the way of a distinction which was used to modify class like this. In many ways there is more of a rigid stratification up here based on economic class than there was down in New Orleans. Which is really too bad because the concept of a wealthy person being, by default, honorable, is not necessarily true. The only time I would hear any of those words would be girls or ladies sarcastically ribbing each other after, say, a belch, and laughing and accusing their friend of being "unladylike" before belching themselves.

And that's fine. And that's probably how most people, especially in North, view those words.

But the way it was used where I was born, there was a great deal more subtlety to the meaning of those words.

PB

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LineReply Unladylike/ungentlemanly, for me anyway, are less about gender and more...
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