It’s been a while since we have look at the gendering of class. Something that occurred to me recently was how in many stories women had of being gender-policed as girls that policing was framed in terms of “ladylike” behavior. Were you prevented form climbing trees or wearing certain types clothing of clothing because they weren’t ladylike, or did you hear girls who did act ladylike praised for being so feminine?
First point of discussion: Women, please tell us your stories of being expected to behave like ladies, regardless of your social class.
It seems a natural consequence of framing proper feminine behavior as ladylike that it will contrast male behavior as being crude, brutish, lustful, stupid – all the derogatory stereotypes people through the ages have aimed at low-status people.
So this would position women as the natural authorities on manners, matters of esthetic judgment such as clothing and design in the home, the arts and similar refinements.
Second point of discussion: What examples of this dynamic have you seen ? And since this is going to apply across the gender spectrum, anyone regardless of gender will have something to offer.
Another corollary of this is that the less a woman presents as a upper class, a lady, the more people are going to degender her – the less she is going to benefit from displays of chivalry, the less female sentencing discount she is going to get, the less the “Women Are Wonderful” effect is going to apply to her. And the lower she ranks socially, the likelier she is to come in for derogatory appraisals of her femininity. Slut-shaming seems to disproportionately be a female-on-female form of gender norming, and it seems to be directed at low-status women disproportionately.
Third discussion point: Have you seen or experienced examples of this dynamic? it’s obvious how it reinforces class hierarchy, but note also how it is a form of gender norming.
Finally, if you think of any other aspects of this I haven’t, I’d be glad to talk about those too.
- The Woman Card - May 2, 2016
- Frat boy bachelorettes and the invasion of gay bars - April 15, 2016
- “Not my kid….” - February 22, 2016