Dear Miss Manners: Those of us working for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment have been advised to take a “ladylike” approach. We tried emulating the behavior of our opposition, but this hardly seemed ladylike. Now we read your column aloud at our political strategy meetings, and while this has been most helpful, ERA is not yet ratified. Could you provide a precise political definition of “ladylike”?

Dear Reader: A lady is, above all, someone who is passionately concerned that others be treated with dignity, fairness and justice. It has always been considered ladylike, for instance, to fight for these things on behalf of children, animals and one’s husband.

The difficulty you are encountering on the subject is that many people do not consider it ladylike to fight that battle on one’s own behalf. Therefore, if a woman truly wishes to be ladylike, she will fight for dignity, fairness and justice, not for herself, but for all other women. Ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment is an excellent place to start.

Miss Manners, August 25, 1979, via the Hairpin comments
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