Act like a lady, think.

It all started with Steve Harvey’s best-selling non-fiction book released in 2009 entitled “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy and Commitment.” Three years later, a feature film based on the book, titled Think Like A Man, was released by Sony Pictures. It is unsurprising that any reference to having to ‘act like a lady’ has since been removed. All you need to do now is – think like a man. Stripped to its essence, this new thinking suggests that a woman needs to get into the mind of a man with whom she is romantically associated in order to pre-empt his thoughts and conduct herself in such a way as not to antagonise him too much. This is the only way to keep him, the thinking continues.

What’s wrong with thinking like a lady? Can a lady not think? Why act like a lady if you have to act like a man? Why not act like a man if you’re going to think like one? Why should being a lady constitute an act?

How is it that such a concept is even mildly acceptable in the 21st century? Whatever happened to a woman being allowed to be the person she wants to be, to express herself as she feels appropriate and to be loved for who she truly is? Why must she fit into a mould that’s cast by men in order to gain acceptance?

At the World Economic Forum in Davos this year, Sheryl Sandberg, one of the most powerful women in business and the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, spoke of an “ambition gap” in how girls are being raised in contrast to boys. ForbesWoman recently wrote a piece based on Sandberg’s ideas and highlighted the main causes of the ambition gap between men and women as being, inter alia, that boys are taught from an early age to be strong and smart while little girls are taught to be pretty princesses. The dainty little princess grows up and is now confronted with the view that she needs to step outside herself and start thinking like a man. Why? Because if she doesn’t, men won’t be interested in her.

Plus ca change, yes?

This is compounded by shocking statistics on the way society is constantly programmed to conform to the idea have to work their existence around the idea of male superiority:

Only 16% of protagonists in film are female. Only 7% of film directors and 10% of writers are female. Between 1937 and 2005 there were only 13 female protagonists in animated movies. The female characters in G rated movies are just as likely to wear revealing clothing as in R rated movies. Gloria Steinem opines that more than 70% of women on TV are in their 20s and 30s. She observes that a male dominant system values women as child bearers so it limits their value to the time that they are sexually and reproductively active and they become much less valuable after that. Geena Davis observes that all of Hollywood is run on one assumption: that women will watch stories about men, but men won’t watch stories about women; it is a horrible indictment of our society of we assume that one half of our population is just not interested in the other half.

The most shocking expression of the absurdity currently finds itself in the expression: act like a lady, think like a man. Or, per the movie, forget about even acting like a lady – just think like  a man. The whole concept of having to ‘think like a man’ is counter-revolutionary and this prototype of how women should behave is nonsense upon stilts. If a woman needs mind games and power-play to sustain her relationship, then she shouldn’t even be there. Never are men heard to say, ‘act like a man, think like a lady’. Acting like a lady but having to  think like a man perpetuates the attitude that women exist to pander to the whims of men as opposed to the idea that men and women are partners who enter into relationships for the mutual benefit of each other.
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Thought has no sex. Either one thinks or one does not.
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4 thoughts on “Act like a lady, think.

  1. You are very right and like you rightly pointed out it begins from how people are socialised from a very young age. Ironically, in most cases its the woman who has the primary responsibility of raising children so she is the one who instils such negative values in the girl child. Such statements like “Grace go and make your brother’s bed…” whilst the boy child is playing outside must end if we are to transform today’s society. Both boys and girls must be given equal duties and responsibilities in the home and it shall not end there!

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  2. i understand where u are coming from and i’ve been thinking about that gina davis statement on women watching men and not vice versa. I never thought about it like that until now but it makes alot of sense. Take a look at sport for example, the only female sport that the whole worl really follows is tennis. Wonder why? Because women’s tennis(grand slams) is played at the same venues & dates as the mens. If they were at different times, trust me, it wouldn’t get as much attention. I’m not trying to be sexist here but i think people are more interested in male activities coz they naturally have more of a burden to provide.. Or they can physically do more demanding things than women. That’s not necessarily a bad or good thing, its just the way things are. Women talk alot about equality and then add that they want a rich man who will provide for them. You can’t have your cake and it it too.

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