Have you all seen this?
Browsing through it I found myself being hesitant at the initial dot points, but nodding along agreeably at the later descriptions.
Indeed, the idea of this man is very attractive and I would love the actuality to be more common.
But my main question whilst reading through was, ‘So, what makes a fierce gentlewoman?’
A quick Google search leads to the basic idea that the magazine The Gentlewoman is the only gentlewoman Google images recognises.
Apart from this wonderful painting.
Which is Correggio’s Portrait of a Gentlewoman.
Looking for something a little more current it seems that we get the idea that the ideal gentlewoman is…
Now, I have nothing against Beyonce, but it feels like we are all really confused as to what women actually are, and what they are meant to be.
Fashion’s portrayal of women is, in my housemate’s own words, ‘dismal’.
Media, in general, portrays women terribly.
Women even portray themselves awfully.
I have spent most of my life not considering what feminism means.
Reading further into The Fierce Gentleman, its manifesto and the people quoted, I have a strange feeling that we’re not really talking about individuals.
The idea of a Fierce Gentleman. The man who looks good, is comfortably in control, has a direction, is calm and self accepting and looks after those less able – is really what our ideal society should be – personified.
Do we want dirty, littered streets with ugly buildings and no help for the sick, elderly, weak?
No. So we value those who are not spitting, drunkenly vomitting, dishevelled, angry, violent and closing doors on little old ladies.
We want the values of our ideal society infused into a man so that he may teach and project those ideals and values onto the rest of society and onto the next generation.
We want our next generation to be considerate to others, to be intelligent and driven and compassionate.
So we find attractiveness in the men who are that way, in order that they can pass on those qualities as a father.
So, again, what makes an ideal gentlewoman?
Not sure about this…
Should women be workers?
Should they be just beautiful? Submissive? Independent? Sexual? Intelligent? Leaders? Followers?
Stay at home mums? Part time? Can they have it all? Should they still look good whilst doing dishes after a full day of “having it all”?
For me, an ideal gentlewoman is not so much concerned with the ‘how’.
If a fierce gentleman is a reflection of what we wish our society to be, then a fierce gentlewoman is one who can raise a fierce gentleman.
A woman who can teach good values, bravery, manners, decorum, kindness, compassion, intelligence.
I don’t think women should ‘have it all’.
I think women need to be it all.
One can only teach through example.
If you learn to sail, you are a sailor. You teach your child to sail, to read the wind, the water, the tides, the ability to swim, to help others on board the boat, first aid.
You also teach independence, appreciation of the potential dangers and the beauty of the water, science, conservation of the environment, teamwork, survival, leadership.
We all need to be sailors, economists, mechanics, artists, DIY extraordinaires, scientists, entertainers, doctors.
Not to a professional level, but to a level where you are useful.
You are capable, calm and interested.
Girls who play up to the highly sexualised, dumbed down, submissive stereotype that the media presents to us as attractive do not only completely ruin any chance of finding their own potential, but will most likely create a child with the same warped values.
It’s not about being a working mother, a stay at home mother, a part time mother.
It’s about being skilled, intelligent and empathetic.
Because what you do today becomes what you are tomorrow.
And our children are a reflection of us.
And a whole lot of ‘us’ is our society, our government and our world.
We have a lot of work to do.