“If a man whistles at you, don’t turn around. You are a lady not a dog.”

Even though it is still summer I can feel the season packing its suitcase to get out-of-town. The changes are subtle. Shadows are different, the nights are comfortable despite how warm the day gets, the morning breeze is sometimes from the north and there is little humidity. The cars seem fewer. Even the rental next door was empty all week. This weekend, though, will be busy being the last hurrah and all.

Today is lovely. Only bird songs break the quiet. It is nap time for all my animals. Gracie is snoring from her crate, Fern has settled on a couch pillow and Maddie, for once, has the spot in the sun Fern usually grabs. They must be exhausted after sleeping all night.

On the front page of the Globe, one of the stories was about the debate between democratic candidates running for attorney general. Ordinarily I couldn’t care less. I can’t even name the current attorney general. This debate, though, has created, according to the Globe, a firestorm. The male candidate called the female candidate’s aggressive line of questioning “unbecoming” which, according to women’s political groups, is one of those inflammatory sexist words. The male candidate, Tolman, apologized the next day and explained that he meant “as candidates for attorney general we should be held to a higher standard.” Romney, in a 2002 race for governor, described his female opponent in the same way. I don’t know if Tolman was being sexist but his word choice is incendiary. I was reminded of when I was a kid and told to stop whatever I was doing and “act like a lady.” I hated being told that and it made me sad and a little afraid for the future. I couldn’t imagine growing up and living by a behavioral code which limited how I dressed and what I said and did. Who decided how a lady acts? I figured I was going to be in trouble most of my life. I was never a kid for convention.

My favorite quotes in the article came from previous campaigns in other states. In 2012 in Missouri the male candidate described his female opponent as not particularly “ladylike” during a debate. In Minnesota the same year, Senator Amy Klobuchar was referred to as a “Daddy’s little girl” and a “prom queen” by her opponent.

How to act like a lady has gotten blurry, but it has yet to disappear. I’m thinking I still might need a handbook.

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14 Comments on ““If a man whistles at you, don’t turn around. You are a lady not a dog.””

  1. Hedley Says:

    So Bob is at it again – the announcement of the Bootleg Series Volume 11, brings a 6 disc Deluxe edition of The Basement Tapes (Complete) Unlike Kat, I skipped Another Self Portrait and at $149.98 @ amazon I am not in love with this issue. There is a reduced format of two discs being identified as “raw” which sounds ominous. The quality of the prior issues of The Basement Tapes has been at best erratic.

    When do we get Blood on the Tracks and Desire and the gospel tour with a really clean copy of Massey ? Bob is back on the roads with stops in Boston so Kat you can wander off the island and listen to Bob crooning standards or whatever he chooses to inflict for 90 minutes.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I did see his appearance advertised in the paper but didn’t give it a second thought. I think I’ll just stay on my island and listen to Freewheelin’ and Highway 61 Revisited. I am also partial to John Wesley Harding and most of his early albums.

      I think my days of buying Dylan are gone. I’m saving my money for Lennie (Ha).

      • Hedley Says:

        Bob is becoming a bit of a drag, an album of standards and now a massively overpriced box set – $150 for 6 discs is greedy. the best Bob album (undoubtedly Blood on the Tracks) is as interesting a discussion as the worst Bob Album (A Christmas Self Portrait)

        He is skipping Detroit, must be mad that he didn’t sell out The Palace last time and had to move to The Fox

      • katry Says:

        MDH,
        $150 for a boxed set is a travesty. He can’t be broke, just greedy.

        I don’t emember when he was last, if ever, in Boston. Cambridge maybe.

  2. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    No, we don’t need a handbook to tell us how to act like a Lady. Men need to stop thinking that they get to define what ladies are and are not. They need to stop thinking that there are only Ladies and Not Ladies and any female who is Not Lady can be treated badly. They need to learn that they can’t diminish or dismiss us by questioning our “Lady-ness”. They will learn this when we start smacking them in their “Gentleman-ness” every time they try that power play.

    We should probably be smacking other women in their Lady-ness when they try the same thing on their fellow Ladies. Fellow ladies? 🙂
    I didn’t see the “unbecoming” remark. It could be interpreted more broadly. Unbecoming to a politician, maybe? Oh, sorry. There is nothing low enough to be unbecoming to a politician. 🙂
    Being called Daddy’s little girl or prom queen, well, them’s fightin’ words. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being either of those things and folks out there had better learn not to use them as pejoratives.
    (Spell check insists that pejorative is spelled this way but I still think it looks wrong. There should be another “r”. Just sayin’. 😀 )

    Weather here is sunny and then it’s cloudy. It’s cool, thankfully. Yesterday was not fun. In the wee small hours of the night I almost turned on the AC because Piki Dog was panting but I didn’t want to lose my relax. He stopped panting as soon as he stopped running around the room chasing his toys.

    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      When I was young, I didn’t care to be a lady. When I grew up, I still didn’t care. I can remember my dad telling me not to go to law school as law wasn’t for women. I went in the Peace Corps instead and all of a sudden he’d changed his mind about law school. I think the men of our generation know that lady can be a pejorative term, and they use it at their own risk. The unbecoming was used as she was being quite aggressive in demanding answers from Tolman. I don’t think it had to do with politics as he claimed. That was a save your butt response.

      We didn’t get the heat you did yesterday. It was a nice day with a breeze. Today is the same. It is going down to 59˚ tonight. That’s a fine night for sleeping!

      Have a great evening!

    • sprite Says:

      Exactly, Caryn! I was just going to say that the handbook should be for any old-school guy who thought behavior should be gendered, rather than for those of us who have moved into the current millennium with our thinking.

      • katry Says:

        sprite,
        I have read a few of those handbooks for young ladies and laughed my way through the list of inappropriate behaviors. I agree some men need help in understanding how the world has changed, a sort of don’t’s more than do’s.

  3. olof1 Says:

    Over here all men in politics are Feminists, if they aren’t they won’t stand a chance in the elections we’ll have in two weeks I think 🙂 I’m so tired of politicians right now, if they actually did all they promise us to do they would create chaos 🙂 They are all now competing in how much they want to raise our taxes, the conservaties are in a tiny lead there 🙂 They were the ones destroying our social safety nets and they they seem very eager to build it back to normal and even better than before 🙂 🙂 🙂

    We all thought it wouls be an easy win for the opposition this time but they do have difficulties to adapt their ideas with each other (we have several opposition parties and four parties are thge government at the moment, a minority government that is voted down in most things they try do do by the opposition 🙂 🙂 🙂 I’ll write about in in my blog closer to the elections 🙂

    Definitely autumn here now, sunny and warm days but cold nights, down to 37. I don’t mind the cold nights as long as it’s warm during the days.

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      I’m soon going to get at the point you are. The primaries are coming so the political ads are starting. Once the candidates are selected the ads will be non-stop. Te Republicans block any general good programs. We don’t have the money they claim, and whose fault is it? Bush and his damn war.

      Obama is not popular despite what he has managed to do. When compared with Bush and other republican presidents, he comes out on top in most arenas, but people just aren’t happy.

      I love days like yours-warm days and cold nights for sleeping. We are almost there!

      Have a great evening!!

  4. flyboybob Says:

    Who defines what is ‘lady like’ and who defines what’s ‘masculine’? An Attorney General is the State’s highest law enforcement officer and it doesn’t matter the gender or how the person holding the office acts they are expected to uphold the law and prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law aggressively. Our judicial system here is based upon the English Common Law which is an adversarial system. That means that the Attorney who wins the case must be aggressive.

    Although the temperature today is only 93 degrees this morning was the first one in a long time that I felt a little bit of coolness. It was still in the low 80s but just a little bit of oppressive heat was not present. From now until December the days will get shorter by about two minutes each day which should start giving us relief from the triple digits.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      There used to be all sorts of books on the appropriate behavior for ladies. Luckily that is no longer a hot topic. He was trying to deflect her questioning of him and instead got himself into trouble. I forget what it was she was harping on but he wasn’t happy.

      We haven’t even hit 90 once all summer. Tonight will be 59˚.

  5. Rowen Says:

    It’s sad that a debate can’t progress beyond discussions of whether one candidate used a code word to do something tacky to the other. And it seems increasingly easier to get away with doing just that.

    • katry Says:

      Rowen,
      I’m not sure he meant for that to come out of his month, and I figure he sure as heck wished he could suck it back.


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