Combating stereotypes: Why I’m no ‘proper’ lady

Two personal posts in a month, this is a first. However, I received some very nice feedback from the last one so I guess you don’t mind them too much. Bear with me for a little rant.

prop·er

adj.

1. Characterized by appropriateness or suitability; fitting: the proper knife for cutting bread; not a proper moment for a joke.

2. Called for by rules or conventions; correct: the proper form for a business letter.

3. Strictly following rules or conventions, especially in social behavior; seemly: a proper lady; a proper gentleman.

“I’m no ‘proper’ lady…” I never expected I would utter those words, but today I did. Let me explain.

Society has a way of imposing expectations on us based on gender. Although a lot has changed just since my mom’s generation, there are still some stereotypes out there, and I have a habit of clashing with them.

At one point, I gave-in and tried to conform during my crazy spell of working myself to death which you can read about HERE. However, for the most part, I’ve done my best to be myself and not give a damn what anyone thinks.

So what does that mean? Well here are a few examples:

I like to play dirty ~

My mom encouraged me to play in the mud.

My mom encouraged me to play in the mud and I still do.

Occasionally I get high ~

Yup, that’s me in the goofy cap up front.

I drink ~

Forgive me while I wine.

Forgive me while I wine!

I hang out in low places ~

Rappelling into Cemetery Pit

Rappelling into Cemetery Pit

I walk alone in the woods ~

At the AT trailhead.

About to start hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail.

My last job required I handle some pretty hot situations ~

The best job I ever had – this was taken while I was still in school, I went on to work for Orange County Fire Rescue.

 

I do have a girlie-girl side. I love high-heels, stuffed animals, and good pedicures, among other things. I also have morals, just because I’m single and adventurous doesn’t mean I don’t.

Yes, I can do lipstick and pearls too.

Yes, I can do lipstick and pearls too.

There are many women like me, so it’s not as if I’m a freak of nature. That’s why when someone said, “I think deep down you want to be a ‘proper’ lady,” I snapped back with a rather strong reply. I’m proud of who I am. If being ‘proper’ means I have to give up many of the things I love, it’s not happening. So I guess I’m not a ‘proper’ lady, nor will I ever be. I’m just an adventurer.

Stereotypes are widespread in society. Have any of you encountered similar typecasting? If so, how did you respond? Please share in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    Love this post! Cheers to you my friend! Raising a glass to all the ‘ladies’ out there breaking the rules. :)

    “When I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better. ”
    ― Mae West

  2. says

    Your post has me reading all kinds of Mae West quotes this morning. Love her! Two more I want to share …

    “Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.”
    ― Mae West

    “A dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up.”
    ― Mae West

    • Erika Wiggins says

      I love these quotes!! Thanks for sharing them. Here are a couple more I like:

      “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” Mae West

      “When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.” Mae West

    • Erika Wiggins says

      Thank you Val! My daughter is my motivation for breaking the rules. Her strength inspires me everyday so I own her a good example.

  3. Jody says

    Awesome post, Erika! You are true to who you are…..period. At the same time you just happen to be a wonderful role model for women. Thank you for sharing who you are, where you go, what you are doing and how you feel about it. Proper is overrated….Adventure rocks! You inspire me.

    “One of my favorite phobias is that girls, especially those whose tastes aren’t routine, often don’t get a fair break… It has come down through the generations, an inheritance of age-old customs which produced the corollary that women are bred to timidity.”
    ~ Amela Earhart

    • Erika Wiggins says

      Thanks Jody! I LOOOOOOVE that quote! Thank you for sharing it. That’s one for my office wall (already covered with quotes, pictures, maps and other found objects that inspire me…)

  4. says

    I love to go camping when I was still in college. I used to be so adventurous just like you.
    But you know Erika, I really admire your character! You are an active woman!

  5. says

    playing in the dirt, drinking alcohol and carrying-on in Utah? say it ain’t So! I did that once and the villagers stormed out of their huts with pitchforks and triple combination special editions – they had me on the run. I escaped. be careful up there Erika.

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