‘Be a lady, they said’: Cynthia Nixon goes viral with a powerful video that highlights the contradictory messages women are given about the way they should look, speak, and behave
- The actress, 53, and politician recorded the ‘brilliant’ and ‘profound’ video for Girls. Girls. Girls. magazine
- She recites an adaptation of an essay by Camille Rainville called ‘Be a Lady They Said’ from December 2017
- It includes how women are told not to be too fat or too thin, to cover up but to show some skin
- Other messages include wearing makeup, removing body hair, and preventing aging, but also looking natural
- Celebs including Sarah Jessica Parker, Lily Aldridge, and Debra Messing have applauded the video
A new 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.’
Viral: A new video of Cynthia Nixon reciting the countless contradictory messages that women face has given social media users ‘chills’
The viral video has already been viewed more than 2.7 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.
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.
‘Be a lady, they said,’ she beings, while videos and images from pop culture, including film clips and fashion photoshoots, flash across the screen to illustrate the words.
‘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.
The writer: The words come from a December 2017 essay by Camille Rainville called ‘Be a Lady They Said’
‘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,’ she repeats again.
‘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,’ she says.
‘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.
Proud: Cynthia shared it on social media, saying she was ‘proud to be involved with this powerful film that has struck a chord with so many people around the world’
Celeb fans: Stars also praised the clip, including Debra Messing, Sarah Jessica Parker, Lily Aldridge, Ilana Glazer, Lea DeLaria, and Rosario Dawson
‘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.
Moved: Commenters have called it ‘brilliant,’ ‘powerful,’ ‘amazing,’ ‘profound,’ ‘perfect,’ and ‘necessary.’ Several said it gave them chills and even brought them to tears
‘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.
Commenters have called it ‘brilliant,’ ‘powerful,’ ‘amazing,’ ‘profound,’ ‘perfect,’ and ‘necessary.’
Several said it gave them chills and even brought them to tears.
It’s also earned praise from some other celebrities, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Debra Messing, Lily Aldridge, Ilana Glazer, Lea DeLaria, and Rosario Dawson.
‘Proud to be involved with this powerful film that has struck a chord with so many people around the world,’ Cynthia tweeted in response.
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