Lady Like


Childhoods spent of girls being told to be more lady-like.
The need to wear petty coats decades after there use has dwindled.
Showing your knickers during a fast-paced cartwheel, unthinkable.
Denied the pleasures of tree climbing,

void of the fun from play fighting

in the name of being lady-like.

Restrictiveness of ladylike rears its head.
Women should drink half glasses of larger not pints.
No smoking or swearing.
In pubs, females should find quiet side tables
No stand at the bar talking to men!
To be seen but not heard.

The route of the term: the Debutante balls.
Girls came of age. Introduced to society as Ladies.
Pressed into crippling finery,
Paraded so Men could stipulate their woman of choice.

Objectification through parentage,
through social class,
deprived of their own decision making capability.
This to dribble down from the social hierarchy,
the Aristocracy and the jolly well off,
the role models of the day.

Most hated of all,

a control term for effeminate men.
‘That’s not very lady-like.’
Low-level mutterings
for those who lack capability
Mission: to dis-empower women

through brandishing the phrase.

Renounce the term
P*ss all over it!
Say no Lady-Like
Tell the young to flash their pants if they like
Be strong and capable
Reject delicacy and weakness
Drink pints if you want
Smoke if you desire
Swear like a trooper
Stand at the bar
Tell effeminate controllers to F*ck off
Make Lady-like an outdated term!

Like corsets, chastity belts and underskirts,

let it cripple us no more.

Lady-Like no longer.


Lady-Like is a free-flow text work from Alison Little, written in 2019, see hopes the term is made redundant by the end of the decade.

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