Lupe Fiasco says, “Bitch Bad”. That, I agree with. The combination of those two words is overused and incredibly detrimental to society. The rapper then declares, “Woman good”. OK Lupe, indeed. Just as I am nodding my head along to what will be the final part of the stanza, Lupe throws in a quickie that abruptly sends me into an ethical dilemma with the song: “Lady better”. I still shared the song on my Facebook page, and I pleasantly agree when everyone raves how great it is. But the question remains: how is being a lady better than being a woman?
By certain societal standards, I am a lady. I cross my legs when I am wearing a dress. I am generally pleasant, and sexually modest…whatever that means. A lady is a female that males can take home to their parents, so that their mothers can breathe a sigh of relief. A lady is a woman who men want to eventually marry. A lady has a certain number of sexual partners. A lady never oversteps her boundaries. Ladies should be happy to be the girls that are prized in society, right? Wrong.
In a purely cerebral sense, there is nothing wrong with being a lady. There are obvious benefits and advantages that can result, such as certain STDs or assholes being avoided. However, in a societal sense, Kola Boof says it best: “To be a lady is to participate in a system that rewards women who obey gender restrictions, and condemns those who do not.”
Ladies, though you do not have to compromise your identity, it is crucial to understand the system in which you exist. Be a socially-conscious lady. Shift the reasoning for your sexual chastity from an extrinsic set of patriarchal motivations, (i.e. I don’t want to be a “slut”) to an adherence of your worth (i.e. my behavior corresponds to my own welfare and no one else’s). Once you recognize the intrinsic value of your womanhood, all other virtues as a “lady” will automatically fall into place.
With that said, I will continue to be a lady. Indeed, I will have certain moral standards and hold myself with a high value of worth. However, my primary identity is to be a woman first, lady second. A woman does not act within the confines of society. Sometimes, she oversteps boundaries and makes necessary changes. A woman breathes, thinks, and acts freely. So Lupe, I must correct you. To be a lady is good, but to be a woman is better.
Angel Evans is a 20 year old college student studying International Relations, Social Justice, and Spanish. Upon graduating, she desires to embark on a career that empowers black women, and by extension, black people. She currently lives in Northeast, Ohio.