Friday, 20 June 2014

What is a Lady?

My letter in The Lady magazine (20 June 2014) just won a prize worth £40.   I have never won anything before - does one have to pay tax on it?   I think it was this version, but the Editor cut out a few phrases, here and there:

It about my current subject: "What is a Lady"?

In response to Leslie Sid-Ahmed (Letters, 6 June), the concept of the 'lady' is linked to taste and femininity, which is a much sought-after, but still elusive quality.

The lady has decorum and strength in what she thinks, says, in what she wears and in how she conducts herself. Castliglione, who wrote “The Courtier” in the 15th century considered that sporty women, exerting themselves, were not feminine. What, however, is more feminine than a skilled horsewoman doing dressage?

In my view, a clean, neatly coiffured, well-dressed, well-mannered and considerate woman, of any background may be considered 'ladylike'. Her inner qualities then need to confirm a first impression: a real lady is a woman of sterling worth, through and through.

Women with a little spare income, and flair, can add style, elegance and a lady's refined lifestyle. Self-education about style and having an imaginative way with colour and fabric can also create the lifestyle. Thankfully, a large income is not necessary for the lady,who is very adept at financial management.

The modern lady has flexibility, creativity, knowledge and well-developed skills which enable a woman to earn her own living in a fast-changing world. She seeks to serve, giving something lasting and valuable back to society, even as a leader.

On that basis, your correspondent seems to have achieved the status of 'a lady’.

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