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Ladylike album cover
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Release date
February 2023

While I was putting together “Ladylike”, I thought about what it meant to be a lady.  “Being a lady” seems a bit different from “being a woman” doesn’t it?  “Being a lady” sounds like a remnant of a bygone era when wealthy white women only wore dresses and were experts at gliding across the room with heads held so level, they could balance a book effortlessly. In my mind, “being a lady” implies a kind of high social standing mixed with grace and reserve, quiet confidence, eloquence, agreeableness and politeness. No sexual expression or promiscuity. And never would one’s voice rise above a certain decibel level.  No f-words.

Remember “My Fair Lady”? Rex Harrison’s Professor Higgins teaches Audrey Hepburn’s Eliza Doolittle how to be a lady as part of a bet that he could pass her off as a duchess. And he’s brutal about it. He makes her recite “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain”, and criticizes everything about her with severe disdain. I’m surprised he didn’t force her to go to a doctor to get her hymen checked. In the end, she learns all the class signifiers of being a lady. Sherlock Holmes wants to marry her, or, rather, an illusion of her. Eliza passes as a princess, the height of femininity.
But she’s not a princess. And she’s not quite the lowly flower girl we saw in the beginning. Wait, does that mean she’s a lady or not?  Was she always a lady? Do you also find this confusing?       

I am very outwardly feminine. I love and own many dresses. I buy too much makeup, too many pairs of shoes, and too many bottles of skincare goop, nail polish, and perfume. I love the color pink so much that my music studio room is painted a soft, warm blush. But, if you spend more than 5 minutes with me, you’ll start to notice that I speak quite freely and usually with many swear words. I’m a music producer and I create music for video games, an occupation usually associated with men. I smoke a joint if it’s offered to me. I mod Nerf guns. I’m a Star Trek nerd. But I’m also a fan of Anne of Green Gables. I think puff-sleeved dresses are adorable. I sew, cook, and bake on the reg.

I’m not sure where this leaves me. And, really, I don’t care and neither should you. The last thing we should be doing is dictating each other’s existence.  It’s another label, another cage, another set of restrictions that women don’t need.  It’s misogynistic, classist, and completely unrealistic. Why should women bend to the will of an outdated society?  That’s silly. Instead, let’s strive to be our most honest and authentic selves.  Let’s encourage other women to be who they want to be instead of sticking them in a box that is deemed “respectable”.  I’m so tired of all these expectations placed upon us. We should not be forced to hide parts of ourselves because some people decided once upon a time that certain things were and were not acceptable. Be real and express who you are. If art is a result of true self-expression, then let’s encourage that art by lifting each other up and embracing all the facets of our personalities, ladylike or not.

All music except for “Days of the Week” was written, produced, recorded, and performed by Ryako.

“Days of the Week” was written, performed, and recorded by Prowess the Testament, Shubzilla, Twill Distilled, and Ryako. All production by Ryako.

  • Days of the Week
  • Heavy Flow Day
  • Pause to Applause
  • Frenemy
  • To the Top