A video of Cynthia Nixon reciting the countless contradictory messages that women face has given social media users ‘chills,’ with thousands applauding the ‘powerful’ and ‘necessary’ clip.
Cynthia, 53, recorded the video for Girls. Girls. Girls. Magazine, speaking dramatically in front of the camera about all the things women are told to do and be in order to ‘be a lady.’
While images of women flash on the screen, she lists the most common lessons that women are taught, like ‘don’t be too fat’ but ‘don’t be too thin,’ ‘Botox your wrinkles’ but ‘look natural,’ and ‘don’t be a w***e’ but ‘don’t be a prude.’
The viral video has already been viewed more than 2.8 million times on Instagram, at least 1.4 million times on Twitter, and 235,000 times on YouTube. It has a staggering 5.1 million views on Vimeo.
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We are just going to leave this right here and see what happens………… Words by #CamilleRainville Narrated by @cynthiaenixon Directed by @paul.mclean1 Produced by @clairerothstein Post by @mini_content Music by @louissouyavemusic @opm.london Thank you to everyone who took part in this amazing project, too many of you to mention ❤️ Special thanks to @alicialombardini @luke_glover_dp @mini_content @portiswasp1 @olip21 @jena_beck ❤️ #bringingbackthewoman #girlsgirlsgirlsmag #bealady
While it was created by Girls. Girls. Girls. Magazine, the words were actually adapted from a December 2017 essay by Camille Rainville called ‘Be a Lady They Said.’
But Cynthia’s reading has brought a wider audience to the essay, as the Sex and the City star lends gravity to the already-poignant words.
Here is the full script below:
‘Be a lady, they said.
‘Your skirt is too short. Your shirt is too low. Don’t show so much skin. Cover up. Leave something to the imagination. Don’t be a temptress. Men can’t control themselves. Men have needs.
‘Look sexy. Look hot. Don’t be so provocative. You’re asking for it. Wear black. Wear heels. You’re too dressed up. You’re too dressed down. You look like you’ve let yourself go.
‘Be a lady, they said,’ she goes on, while the video clips continue, showing everything from the Pope and Donald Trump to Regina George, Rachel McAdams’ character in Mean Girls.
‘Don’t be too fat. Don’t be too thin. Eat up. Slim down. Stop eating so much. Order a salad. Don’t eat carbs. Skip dessert. Go on a diet.
‘God, you look like a skeleton. Why don’t you just eat? You look emaciated. You look sick. Men like women with some meat on their bones.
‘Be a size zero. Be a double zero. Be nothing. Be less than nothing.’
‘Be a lady, they said,’ she repeats.
‘Remove your body hair. Bleach this. Bleach that. Eradicate your scars. Cover your stretch marks. Plump your lips. Botox your wrinkles. Lift your face. Tuck your tummy. Perk up your boobs.
‘Look natural. Be yourself. Be genuine. Be confident. You’re trying too hard. You look overdone. Men don’t like girls who try too hard.
‘Be a lady, they said.’
‘Wear makeup. Highlight your cheekbones. Line your lids. Fill in your brows. Lengthen your lashes. Color your lips. Powder, blush, bronze, highlight.
‘Your hair is too short. Dye your hair. Not blue, that looks unnatural.
‘Look young. Old is ugly. Men don’t like ugly.
‘Be a lady, they said,’
‘Save yourself. Be pure. Don’t be a w***e. Don’t sleep around. Men don’t like sluts.
‘Don’t be a prude. Don’t be so up tight. Smile more. Pleasure men. Be experienced. Be sexual. Be innocent. Be dirty. Be the cool girl. Don’t be like the other girls.
‘Be a lady, they said.
‘Don’t talk too loud. Don’t talk too much. Don’t be intimidating. Why are you so miserable? Don’t be a b****. Don’t be so bossy. Don’t be so emotional. Don’t cry.
‘Don’t yell. Don’t swear. Endure the pain. Don’t complain.
‘Fold his clothes. Cook his dinner. Keep him happy. That’s a woman’s job. You’ll make a good wife some day.
‘Take his last name. You hyphenated your name? Crazy feminist.
‘Give him children. You don’t want children? You will some day. You’ll change your mind.
‘Be a lady, they said.
‘Don’t get raped. Don’t drink too much. Don’t walk alone. Don’t go out too late. Don’t dress like that. Don’t get drunk. Don’t smile at strangers.
‘Don’t go out at night. Don’t trust anyone.
‘Don’t say yes. Don’t say no.
‘Just “be a lady,” they said,’ she concludes.
Since the video was released on February 24, it’s continued to earn attention on various social channels.
Here is what some people had to say on Twitter:
— Kristina Ryan (@adland_K) February 24, 2020
“Don’t get raped. Don’t walk alone. Don’t dress like that. Don’t get drunk. Don’t smile at strangers. Don’t say yes, don’t say no. Just be a lady they said.” Be you. #BeALadyTheySaid https://t.co/AW0RMBUIw7
— Mira Ahmad (@Mirasahmad) February 25, 2020
— Nicola Holly (@MissNicolaHolly) February 25, 2020
‘Proud to be involved with this powerful film that has struck a chord with so many people around the world,’ Cynthia tweeted in response.
-Adapted from the Daily Mail