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Friday, November 25, 2011

The Glamorous Advanced Style Ladies/Women

Today I read a review of Advanced Style on the Pilgrim's Moon blog. In her review, The blog's author Tess Giles Marshall, disapproves of my use of the word "ladies". A little constructive criticism never hurt anyone, so I wanted to bring the debate forward. What's the best way to refer to the women that I feature? I try and listen to how the people I photograph refer to themselves.I was once criticized for using the term "Ari's Girls" even though I was quoting someone that I had just photographed. I want to be respectful as possible, but can't please everyone. Where do you "guys" stand?

140 comments:

Anonymous said...

Women is the PC way to go but these women are also ladies of the first order...so why would anyone quibble?

Celia said...

what an interesting question. i HATE being called a woman, and much rather prefer "lady". i also refer to other women as ladies. for some reason, i find "lady" to have a sweeter tone. maybe i'll change my mind as i get older? but for now, at 32 and married with a child, i'll stick to "lady". ;)

Anonymous said...

I like the word "ladies". To go in the opposite age direction, I use it from time to time when addressing my nieces who are 5 and 8.

Anonymous said...

I dont see nothing wrong with this word. my english is very little, sorry. The like the blog!!!! It like me so much!!! I like such us. Mari

Anonymous said...

I dont see nothing wrong with this word. my english is very little, sorry. The like the blog!!!! It like me so much!!! I like such us. Mari

MimBeeMe said...

I like being called "a lady"! I wouldn't want to be called a girl...I earned all of my years and am darn proud to say so! (ok, I'm a bit younger than some of the ladies you photograph but still...).
You aren't going to please everybody...do you like calling them ladies? I think it's fitting.
Pilgrim Moon goes on to say some of the ladies are stuck in the 50's or are this or that...well, so they are! It's THEIR style, they like it, are confident when they go out the door...what is wrong with that?
Isn't that what we try to tell the younger woman? "Be confident in who YOU are, not what someone thinks you should be?"
I read her post twice and then I read her profile twice...it just didn't mesh for me. She wants others to grow older on "their" terms...seems as if "your ladies" are doing just that, so I'm not sure what her problem is...
BTW...I happen to like you blog set up...it's YOUR blog, do with it as YOU choose, not on someone elses wishes :)
hugs!

Fairevergreen said...

I came of age during the feminist revolution, so I think I'm as attuned as anyone to whether a term is "belittling" in any way. Part of it comes down to the context of the user, of course. My friends are my "girl" friends. However I would expect others, not in our friend circle, to use EITHER woman or lady when referring to them.

I think the difference between the two terms is the person, herself. Not just how she dresses, but how she speaks and treats others. Any adult female is a woman, but not all are ladies.

That is not to be confused with the "little lady", somewhat dismissive way of thinking about women. However, I don't think another woman can ever be accused of that political incorrectness... only "MCP's".

meg said...

I certainly think that anyone who wears cotton gloves that match shoes/hat and/or lipstick is a Lady. Women is too generic!

And you might get guff for using 'guys' when asking for people's opinions. I know my MIL is strongly opposed to the word's usage at all!

Pattyskypants said...

Of the choices, I would prefer "Lady," as it seems more respectful. Much ado about little, I fear.

MimBeeMe said...

all the previous comment to say,
"Ladies" please.
I know I would consider it an honor to be one of Ari's Ladies ;)

Sharon said...

Anything but Ma'am. I refer to my co workers as "girls" yet we are all 40+.

maranda (persnickety vintage) said...

you obviously have a great deal of respect for the women/ladies that you photograph and feature. that respect and affection shines through in all your posts, regardless of what words you use to describe them, and that's what's important!!

Jodi said...

PC-shMeeCee. "Ladies" is lovely, a light-hearted lilt. "Women" takes itself too seriously and demands that we acknowledge that we've, um, y'kno, come a long way, baby.

I cannot stand "women" -- the word, not the people. Although, of course, there are women I cannot stand, but I am too much of a, yes, lady to name names.

I never bristle when someone calls me a "lady". But I almost always shudder when someone calls me a "woman".

Anonymous said...

I like women, and I don't like "guys"

Tricia Rose said...

Nothing wrong with being a lady. Or a woman come to that: who cares?

Vera @ Cozy Little Cabin said...

What do your models prefer? Ladies? Women? Girls? Let them describe themselves!

Anonymous said...

Don't see anything wrong with calling them 'ladies'; the word has no age range. I have sorority Sisters and I call them ladies when I greet them in a group or mention them anywhere, calling them 'women' sounds...well, I don't like the ring to it -- "Hey, women!" or "These women". I think using the term 'ladies' is a sign of appreciation; it's more intimate in a sense.

Chandra said...

I don't quite understand her critique. It's negative (the comments about your lay out and the fact that you have a book coming out) and then she says it's great fun in her closing paragraph? That's confusing. I say, ask your wonderful models if they would prefer to be called a 'lady' (which at 37, I prefer in some situations) or a woman. I hope to still paint my nails at 90 and dress as amazing as these ladies. They, and your blog, have helped me to not fear growing old as much.

http://penniroyalvintage.blogspot.com

spidercamp said...

Someone will always be unhappy, no matter what you do.

Personally I don't have any strong feelings about the terminology you use, but honestly I've never really noticed whether you were saying ladies/women/girls/whatever, because your overall tone is so respectful and celebratory. That comes through in every single post, and is a huge part of why I love this blog.

I hope people don't get too hung up on semantics and can see the respect with which you treat your subjects.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't worry about it. The review clearly misses the mark. Not only is it clunky and generic to refer to your subjects as 'women,' but the term 'lady' used in the context that you do denotes a tone of respect. Why else would speakers and MCs open their speeches with "Ladies and Gentlemen"? Or how about "Lords and Ladies", referring of course to the title given as a token of respect for one's position in society? Advanced Style is an homage to the style and grace of these women and to refer to them as ladies by no means belittles or mocks them.

Pilgrim Moon's insinuation of disrespect is only one facet of a muddled and confusing review. Not only does the reviewer let personal likes and dislikes about the subject's style overwhelm their assessment of the actual blog (which is separate and merely a conduit of the ladies' individual style) but also highlights their own misplaced sense of superiority. Advanced Style's design was clearly chosen to encourage the best photo-viewing experience (note its similarity to The Sartorialist and other photo blogs). Criticizing Advanced Style's design while Pilgrim's Moon boasts a cluttered and distracting layout, cheesy splash image, and needlessly distracting stock 'filler' images screams of pure and unadulterated hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

When you refer to the dictionary 'lady' is a woman of refinement or superior social position or used in a courteous or formal reference to a woman.

Totally appropriate in my opinion.

newtonhouseltd said...

Can't believe I have just read this-having written a post myself tonight on age and being a person [Lady]rather than an age or number.Thank you for believing in individuals rather than numerics.

Anonymous said...

As long as you never refer to these ladies as Missy, Sweetheart, Honey Pie, Darling, The Gals or a Hot Tomato, I am fine with your choice of words. The ladies you profile are pure class and classy women are always ladies! Bravo to the fine blog you give to all of us. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Ladies, all the way.

Suzy said...

Some people need to get a life. "Ladies" is fine. Love your site no matter what you call them!

Anonymous said...

I personally prefer the term women to ladies. The former for me has a stronger feel the later a bit patronizing I think. These are beautiful, strong, creative, generous women who are full of life. BUT, I have never been offended by anything you have shared about your subjects Ari. It is obvious the respect and love you have for everyone you photograph and share with us.

I would not worry about any criticism from another blogger when you have so many people who love you and are inspired by what you do. I also don't mind the term "guys". I teach high school and don't know of a better more friendly term for addressing a mixed group of people, especially my kids.

Keep the faith baby! Women, ladies, girls, guys we all love you!

MaddieM said...

Indeed, all women are not ladies. I think the word 'ladies' is more respectful.

oldblackcatboo said...

Whoa! the last two comments from Anonymous are perfection.
Ditto to it all!

Rubye Jack said...

I find ladies to be condescending and much prefer women or woman. Guys is also fine with me. I also detest terms of endearment such as "dear," and "sweetie" from people who don't know me well. Again, condescending.

April in Kansas said...

Not all criticism is constructive. Pilgrim Moon's review of your blog falls into this catagory. How absurd to state that she never hears women refered to collectively as "ladies" anymore. I'm 45 and much rather be refered to as a lady than ma'am. If someone addressed me as "Woman" I do believe I would smack them with my purse. Her review came across as sour grapes. Sounds like she is a bit jealous of your book deal. The other criticisms she levies are personal taste.

Goodness Baker said...

As long as someone is kind and sincere, I don't care what you call me. Each person comes from a different place... If you call your mother, sweetie, and you love and respect her then I would find it flattering to be called that too.

We are far too caught up in our own personal vision of how the world should be rather than just letting it be.

Lindseyloo said...

I think the "ladies" you photograph are gorgeous, and aspire to be like them one day when I grow up. All a person needs to be a woman is an X chromosome and a Y chromosome. To be a LADY, however, one must work a little harder!

Yael said...

"A well-mannered and considerate woman with high standards of proper behavior."
This is one definition of a lady!
So, in my opinion your wonderful stylish and lovely women friends are all ladies! That is perfectly fine, to use this term!!!
I LOVE your blog, check it every day, it always gives me amusement and smiles!

SML said...

Since the women you feature on your site are, indeed, ladies, "ladies" is the appropriate way to refer to them.

Nan said...

Not a thing wrong with Ladies as that is what they appear to be.

Janis said...

"Women." I'm not a girl and haven't been for a long time, and the only people who call me a "lady" are the ones who are trying to get me to pipe down and behave. Nagahapin. :-)

Suella said...

Ari, I have no problem with either word. In fact when I asked myself which I'd rather be called, I was surprised at being uncomfortable with either word to describe me. I am
Suella who just now happens to be an older woman. No, a woman who is now 66, and who is sometimes a lady and sometimes more a tomboy. And who is always interested in interesting clothing that reflects the personality of the wearer.

I have no problem with guys as a phrase for a group of women, men or mixed.

Your blog is fine with me. I look at it for the photos and information.

Laura said...

I like lady. I think it confers a sense of glamour. Having said that I am a 24 year old who looks about 18, so being called lady over 'girl' or 'child' is still very exciting for me. also with an english background, lady still sort of in the back of my mind means someone important.

as Rubye said, i find terms like sweetheart, sweetie, darling, etc. from men who don't know me insulting, perhaps even a bit threatening, but I AM a lady, and you may address me as one :P

FairyFiligree said...

I know a lovely 'advanced age' lady who is also a marvellous art connoisseur and she is half Italian, half English with French connections. Being a Dame, she is also a grand lady and I tend to refer to her as
The Madame. For me this felt like a grand honour. She always laughs at my way of referring to her as a Madame and says I make her sound like the headmistress in a brothel! So there you have it.... everybody interprets things in their own way and being a blogger who reaches out to hundreds of women worldwide, you will be excused for choosing to refer to these ladies whichever way you prefer.If in NYC the term ladies is perfect, then so be it. I personally tend to prefer 'ladies' - it shows the respect their age, experience and wisdom of life.

fasterfis said...

LADY! I'm kind of a lady, and i'm "only" 33. But my friends and i have said said lady to eachother for almost 10 years now. Or in danish; Dame.
I like the word i every way.

Ulla-Marie said...

My english is bad so I can't help you, but I believe in what feels good for you is the best. I'm sure you can never satisfy all.

sacramento said...

It doesn´t matter what you are called, as long as it comes from a loving herta.
I would be very honoured to be one of Ari´s girls, yeahhhhhhhhhhh
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Chicatanyage said...

I think the French have got it right when they refer to Une femme d'un certain age. It has a nice ring to it.

Brenda said...

For me using the word lady conjures up a picture of a woman who has lovely manners along with a certain beautiful style about her regardless of her age.

Eva said...

The poll seems to favour "ladies", so do I -- but as I'm not a native speaker, I remember that our word "Weib" -- related to "wife" was an honoring word centuries ago and is a scornful word today, especially in plural "Weiber". Words change -- and, as I am convinced: The intention changes a word, a word never changes an intention. The meaning speaks.
And I wish all young people would share your attitude towards the older generation!

Syahirah Huda said...

Ignore the review because I just love your blog. Peace. :)

Annie said...

I think you are always respectful and affectionate and as you say, you can't please everybody all the time.
I love your blog, it gives me hope for the future. Carry on!

PS I would like to look like this lady in the second picture when I grow up. So elegant...

Susan Street said...

Lady is an appropriate term to use. You are correct in that you can't please everyone Ari. Always follow your heart, for it reflects the true you that we have come to love.

Violet said...

I think your use of the word "Ladies" for these amazing women is done respectfully, with appreciation for them embracing being women. I read Pilgrim Moon's blog, and disagree with much of her criticism. However, she did preface with saying it's just her opinion, and given that it is, I would ignore it. This is YOUR space and YOUR opinion, and I for one LOVE what your doing.

My mother has told me (and to be brutally honest, I agree) that as we age, our skin becomes dull, and we need to add more color and sparkle to look full of life. These women have done just that, their beauty jumps out of these photographs, and their love for life shines through. Well done, Ari!

That's Not My Age said...

I use both. Women is more PC but I like the word ladies too. Your blog is such a positive representation of older women, I fail to understand how anyone could be offended. Keep up the good work, Ari!

Carol said...

Ladies is just fine. But don't call me an old lady. How about dame?

Tess Giles Marshall said...

Hi Ari and everyone. Wow, woke up in the UK on a lazy Saturday to find my review having been featured here overnight. I'm very grateful, and I'm glad you've asked your readers the question about terminology.

I'd like to address a few points, especially for those who found my review "muddled".

Perhaps it was - after all, none of us is perfect! What I was trying to do was address both what I love here (and I did stress that these were personal views) and what I'm not so keen on.

Interesting to see the variety of comments over the use of the word "lady". It seems most are in favour although a few, like me, are not. Makes sense, we all have different opinions. I'm wondering also if it's perhaps a transatlantic thing. I'm British and we don't hear the term very often so maybe it sounds different to my English ears. Pattyskipants is probably right - much ado about nothing and it was only part of what I said.

Ari, I want to make something clearer than perhaps I did. I love your blog. After all as I mentioned I've been following it for some time. (And I have your book on pre-order.) As I said in my last couple of paragraphs I adore the standard of photography, and the sheer joie de vivre expressed in their lives and style creations by your, ahem, "ladies".

The wonderful Quentin Crisp once said something like "style is being yourself, but on purpose". The photographs and interviews here demonstrate that principle admirably.

Thanks again for all you do here - bravo!

PS: I quite like "guys", makes me feeling rather dashing! And the second photo in this post is one of your best ever I think - doesn't she look fantastic?

Thisisme. said...

All the women that you photograph are definitely 'ladies' in my book. Whatever is wrong with using ladies to describe them anyway. 'Women' sounds cold and ugly. I don't like that, so I would definitely carry on describing them as 'ladies!'

Anonymous said...

"Lady", "ladies", "women", "girls" or "great old broad" (as my beloved MIL always referred to herself) are all appropriate - just in different times and places.

I'm 61 and greet girlfriends sometimes as "You girls...", sometimes "You ladies...", and have, since first meeting and falling in love with my former MIL (after her son and I divorced we forever referred to one another as Mother in Love and Daughter in Love, as we were BFF from the day we met until the day she died)aspired to be a "great old broad" such as she was.

No one has more respect than you Ari for those featured here. Whatever you call them in whatever instance will be/is perfect.

Love to you.

Barbara

prttynpnk said...

A lady is what you make of it- I'm a lady.

Jennifer said...

"Ladies" gets my vote! I see it as a term of respect, as a lady is someone of class. I love saying "hello, ladies" to any females I know... much nicer than "hello, girls".

Sylvia @ 40PlusStyle said...

Why would anyone have an issue with lady. It's an allround nice word to describe us and it can be used from age to 104!

duckalicious said...

I checked out that review and to be honest, I find it a little off. I don't even understand her argument as to why the word "lady" shouldn't be used. condescending? in my world, it's respectful and beautiful.

Judy C said...

I think some people will balk at almost anything. I'd worry only of the ladies you photograph object.

Joyce D said...

What WAS the blogger's criticism? Ladies is a perfectly apt term for your participants.

oldblackcatboo said...

OOPS! didn't realize that you moderate and there might be more "Anonymous's" above my own comment! :D
But I love how Anonymous who phrases "Lsdies and Gentlemen" commented...I only wished they left a link to their blog if they have one.
Definitely would be a blog I would enjoy reading!

Anonymous said...

Sniping is not constructive criticism.
When referring to others, tone is the critical element, and yours is always reverential.
The women featured on your blog are definitely ladies (and very cool chicks!). At 61, I hope to be as elegant and creative as they are for the rest of my years.

Lauren said...

Use "lady". I do and as an older woman myself, I prefer to be called a "lady" rather than a woman.

The Styleseer
http://styleseer.blogspot.com

NumberWhisperer said...

I always like to be referred to as a divine creature.

Libby said...

'Lady' sounds so classy and respectful. Surprised at the way people judge every little thing. Your blog is absolutely amazing Ari.Thank you for all the inspiring pictures. The tips from these ladies will definitely be handy in the years to come.

Betty484 said...

I think ladies is respectful. I like it very much. I also think it's polite.

This is just my opinion.
Keep feeding this blog with your wonderful posts. I enjoy them very much.

Violet Betty

Shanna said...

I say just ask them, but personally ladies has been working just fine and hasn't bothered me.

vicki archer said...

You are the best person to determine the correct terminology... Your blog is stylish. sharp, and very respectful of women ... not to mention flattering... so if 'ladies' is what you think... then 'ladies' it should be... xv

Anonymous said...

Ladies. Yes

VividVoltage said...

THis is the comment I left on on Pilgram's Moon site, I thought I'd share it here:

Hi,

I came to this blog from Advanced Style’s blog. I am a 30 year old style blogger who follows Advanced Style because I love the joie de vivre, the colors, the style and the photography. I find it to be an inspiration to me to continue on my own path as I “age”, same as you and your readers have created your own path.

I will defend the “simplistic” style of his (and my blog) because our blogs feature many different colors and patterns a simple clean background is best to show off the content.

Finally, the “debate” that got me here in the first place, the use of the term ladies. I use it regularly to describe my 57 year old Mother and her friends, as well as my friends. To me it is more youthful than “women” and insinuates a female who is put together on the inside AND outside. It embodies the joie de vivre that you and I both recognize in the people featured in Advanced Style and that I see in my friends, and my Mother and her friends.

Best Regards,
Vivid Voltage

Anonymous said...

First, I prefer to be called a lady. As for the "50's airline hostess" & "trying too hard", I would refer everyone to the Crone's Manifesto on the bloggers site. Words of wisdom for all of us.
Finally, is it possible to check the tenor of some of these conversations? Whatever the intent, (and it is likely benign), could we avoid the negativity? After the recent blog storm over whether a "lady" should wear a long grey braid & now this, I see more & more of what feels like pressure to conform to ideals that may not be our own. Isn't that what feminism fought? Isn't that contrary to the Crone's wisdom gained by age...the right & priviledge to be fully ourselves while doing no harm? I just wish there was a way we could just celebrate what we love & enjoy the creativity & playfullness of everyone, because we are each a work of art of our own making.

Sonia said...

Go ahead, your blog is great, appreciates the beauty of older women whether or not, they are all ladies.Grande hug!

Holly said...

Ari, it's so respectful of you to open this up for discussion rather than becoming miffed. One more reason I appreciate your blog so much. I prefer ladies as I find it most respectful and classy. I personally have a little cringe over "girls" as referring to females obviously no longer children and find it a little demeaning but it's way down at the bottom of my list of things to be offended about!

Theresa said...

You're totally right--you can't please everyone. Love the blog.

Theresa

Mary J said...

I think either term is fine. It's interesting, though, that some of us feel the term "women" is not respectful enough, yet we would never say the same about the term "men", or demand that we always say "gentlemen". I prefer "women", but I try not to get too bent out of shape about this. Just like I prefer to open my own doors, but don't get offended if a man opens one for me. I try to consider the intent of the person, and if the intent is to be polite and kind, then I take the gesture in the spirit it was intended.

rosie49 said...

Dear ASC,
I love your blog, but more so for the images than the verbiage. If you get right down to the bare bones of it, the women are really "subjects" of these photographs, but I've seen them as "ladies," "grande dames," "elegant women of a certain age." They are timeless, classic, elegant, whimsical and inspiring.

If memory serves, there have been some dapper gentlemen in your blog from time to time as well?

The pictures speak for themselves.

leilani said...

It's all in the "tone" and attitude of the speaker/writer. I think anyone who takes umbrage at your use of the word needs a dose of common sense.

All of your ladies are lovingly portrayed with great respect. Don't sweat others sweating the small stuff. Life is just too bloody short!

Cindy said...

I vote for "ladies"!

Anonymous said...

I do have mixed feelings about the use of the word 'ladies' because every man whom I've heard use it always uses it in a somewhat condescending manner - and I mean men in their 30s, not necessarily the generation for whom 'ladies' was the only culturally accepted word in use to describe a person of the female sex. "Little lady'' would be the pejorative of 'lady', at that time, or 'little ladies' as in the 'little ladies room' - but with changing times the meaning of terms changes too - 'Ladies' could be a new pejorative. Or maybe not. I tend to think it is but who knows. These women are fabulous, whether they're ladies or not.

The Druidess said...

The term "lady" is flattering, so I don't see anything wrong with that.

Love that laidback 50ies style in the 2nd picture.

Mo'a said...

I like the words ladies or women...I cringe when my mother and I are asked in a restaurant "How are you guys doing" Hello!!! we are eighty eight and sixty nine ladies/women...not guys...in that case I would have preferred girls...a term that should be used only for one under twenty one.
As for your layout...it is fine easy to navigate and pleasing to the eye.
Now about the "Lady" who gave you a critique...and her blog. Let is suffice to say, I shall not be visiting her blog again and I am quite addicted to your blog.

Anonymous said...

"Ladies" sounds beautiful to me, as this is what they are. I myself although would not like to be called a lady under any circumstances, no matter of age. why not just asking the mentioned person? sure there will be some further surprises to enlargen our terminology ;-) greets Kat (Germany)

marlene said...

woman or lady? What matters! in the end of the day we are! I think they just want to said something about your blog/book and that's good.

HANNA BERNHARD PARIS said...

'Lady' is chic !:)
Best wishes from Paris France !

Alshaikha GhadeeR said...

i read the review i think its ridiculous
ur blog is great
the template or colors or the free domain doesn't matter and no one do care if its free or paid domain
what matter is the content

Jan E O said...

According to the dictionary a lady is woman having proprietary rights or authority and the woman you photograph definitely have an air of authority about them. Another definition of a lady is a woman receiving the homage or devotion of a knight or lover and while I don't think you are a knight, you are definitely a lover of of older women. So ladies seems to be totally the appropriate word.

Idiosyncratic Fashionistas said...

Having been approached several times by complete strangers as one of "Ari's Girls", I must admit, it was terrific. I took no offense. For the current debate: I say let the style of the individual be the guide, since there is an age range even within the Advanced Style population. For the truly Grande Dames, "Lady" would be more appropriate. For those who are younger/hipper, "Woman" would most likely work. Personally, "Babe" or "Goddess" works for me.
Is there a similar debate for designating the males frequently featured --"Gentleman" vs. "Man"??
Jean of the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas

Sue Jack said...

Your blog featuring beautiful women and how they dress is fabulous! I refer to them as "women" because "women", to me, refers to all females over 25.
And by the way, being referred to as an "Ari's Girl" would be the icing on the cake for any woman photographed by you.....you really should start a trend by referring to them all as "Ari's Girls"!!!!

Sue

Cathi said...

I think the word "ladies" is very appropriate!

Forest City Fashionista said...

Dame, lady, woman, girl; as long as it isn't meant to be patronizing - just don't call me "Ma'am" or "Honey". My friends and I refer to each other as Babe, Chickie, Lady, Girlfriend, Dahling, or Gorgeous. It's all in how it's said--if it's delivered with respect, or affection, it's all good.

andrea said...

Since when is calling someone a "lady" and insult? I guess that some people view the term "lady" as a throwback to a more demure era, pre- feminism & women's lib. The term "woman" conjures up visions of strength, i.e., post women's lib. But we are now totally emancipated and calling someone a lady will not pigeonhole her into a preconceived view of who that female person is.

Stellas' Grandaughter said...

I just read all of the comments and came upon PilgrimMoon's comment...she says, "I quite like "guys", makes me feeling rather dashing!"."
I am pretty sure I can be dashing and still be called a lady.

I am still as confused by her comment as I was by her original post.
As I had a friend once say...everybody has an opinion, each unique to the person.

Joan Batista said...

Hello,
I can appreciate the clarification offered by Tell Giles Marshall that the term "lady" has a different meaning to an English writer than to an American. To an
English person, it is a title. To an American, it is
merely a term of respect when applied to some women. Those of us who went through the "women's lib" movement of the 1960's and 1970's were trained to prefer the word "woman' (rather than "girl'). Because in those days, adult
women were called girls, which was offensive. At
the time, "lady" was considered condescending,
however, times have changed and it is ok to be
feminine.

Older women who were not affected by
the thinking of that era, who are now in their 70's and older ... and also, women under 40 ... do not seem to object to the word "lady." So, the word "lady" is back in vogue and fine
to use, especially for the elegant women who are the subjects of your blog.

I liked very much the second photo in "Fall for Orange" with the subject wearing a pale apricot coat accented with a gold leaf
brooch with navy hat and navy slacks and top. Also, the second photo in the introduction of the woman with silver hair dressed gently in black with coral bead accent necklace.

I work with Joanie Char, a designer based in San Francisco, who works with many women in the age category of
your blog (also with younger women in their 40's to
60's) who appreciate the art of dressing well. I have found that women at that stage of life of your blog, in their 70's and 80's, are resilient, resourceful, have stories to tell. They are not delicate flowers who wilt easily, they have substantial life experience and are generally wise about life. People in other countries know this about that stage of life, especially Asians.

Thank you,
Joan B.
Joaniechardesignblog.spot.com
JoanieCharDesign.com

Janis said...

To me, insisting on the word "lady" is a predicator of backstabbing. I've rarely to never seen a woman use that word who doesn't follow it up, "I'm a LADY!" with something like, "Not like that cheap little slut over THERE."

I have to say also that, often when people insist on the word "lady," it's only to make sure that they are the RIGHT SORT of women, the virtuous ones who act right, dress the way they think "ladies" are supposed to dress, and stay out of bed -- or who are trying to hide when they aren't.

It's a way to draw a line in the sand, and to make sure that the "lady" in question is on the right side of that line. The whole notion of being a "lady" versus a "woman" rubs me the wrong way as a result.

Anonymous said...

I think that LADY sat vagina first on a cactus right before she wrote that review. Love you Ari.

Melody said...

I like ladies, but please don't refer to us as guys.

Anonymous said...

To Jean of the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas,
You rock in so many ways! Love your "Babe" or "Goddess" comment. What a woman!
Thanks for all the inspiration!
From Ruth (who is just too lazy to figure out how to post without the Anonymous title!)

Marie said...

Djees, som people just have to complain about everything. What on earth is wrong about ladies? It's a perfectly correct term. I can't say that you are anything but respectful in your posts. Keep up the good work!

Ellen H said...

Love how the second photo is the lady giving "fierce fashion face." Plus, the silvery hair against the black accessories looks so inexplicably chic.

xx,
Ellen
http://www.mintgreensubmarine.com/

Anonymous said...

Ladies is perfectly fine. What does make me angry is when someone (usually a younger male salesperson) refers to me as "young lady," as if that's a compliment! How ridiculous.

tralala said...

I'm sure the try far too hard, those who tip over the precarious line between eccentricity and idiocy and glorious lunatics don't really care if they are being patronised by being called a 'lady'. And I think just stopping and thinking about what the average over 60 year old woman has lived through before waving a feminist flag might be worth considering too :)

The remark about Ari making money out of AS so why no glossy? Missing the point by a MILE - yes the photographs are beautifully done but surely the whole point is to highlight the ladies (or gents) that feature in them? Are you going to suggest a touch of Photoshopping next? lol

Britta said...

women or men, that sounds so purely biological. every person here has a special kind of attitude, style and vitality. So it's clear to me, they are ladies and gentlemen.

Aimee Katherine said...

They look wonerful. I don't really mind whether 'woman' or 'lady' is used; they pretty much mean the same thing anyways :)

Galine said...

What's wrong with "Lady"??! I actually loathe the term "Woman"...I don't know why, I suppose to me it sounds so ancient. Lady sounds sweet...you can always be a lady, no matter what age you are :) And honestly, those that you photograph are LADIES!!! Stylish, sweet, well put together...everything wonderful.

Someone will always be upset about something. I think you're doing just fine ^^

Madame Leiderhosen said...

You couldn't be more right; this is a respectful blog and "ladies" is a respectful term.

And it's your blog. Write what you like, shoot what you like, just keep producing.

The Style Crone said...

Ari, I consider you to be an advocate for older women and Advanced Style is revolutionary! You convey honor and respect for everyone that you photograph, and I for one, since discovering your blog, find myself embracing the aging process with enthusiasm and passion. The world needs less fear! Asking for feedback is another indication of your empathy and concern. I see no reason to change the words that you have been using as you continue to inspire and delight all who follow your pioneering creation.

Gloria said...

I totally agree with number one about these women being,"Ladies of the first order." Absolutely "lady."

midnightsteel said...

As a Brit, I see 'lady' as being heavily caught up in issues of class, so I quite often shy away from it. That said, your blog is brilliantly positive, up-beat and enthusiastic about all the women you picture here, so I find it much easier to take 'ladies' as a comment on their style and glamour rather than as an oppressive, class-enforcing term. Keep up the fantastic stuff, is all I can really say!

peggy braswell said...

Ari, Since it is your Blog and since you are so very respectful & so very flattering of women-it should be anything YOU Say! xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

Sandra said...

Ari's Women and Men of Distinction.

Ursula said...

Ladies is perfect.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Really Respectful Thing To Do is to ask each person you photograph how she'd like to be noted in print - woman? lady? something else? Then print that!

Sammantha Johnson said...

Lady is referred to a girl 18 years and younger. When one uses woman, it's any age above 19 years. However, it depends in what context you aim to use these identifers and the agreement of your interviewee.

It's your judgment, so use this knowledge at your own discretion.

Sammantha Johnson said...

Lady is referred to a girl 18 years and younger. When one uses woman, it's any age above 19 years. However, it depends in what context you aim to use these identifers and the agreement of your interviewee.

It's your judgment, so use this knowledge at your own discretion.

Lex said...

As long as you don't say "females", ugh, so annoying.

www.alexandragjurasic.com

Maria Theo said...

Did she explain what her problem is with your usage of "ladies"? For the life of me, I cannot figure out how that would bother anyone. I think it is an respectful and endearing.

kathrynnova said...

ladies is fine with me.

kathrynnova said...

PS if you're going to be required to be super PC on your site, then womyn will no doubt be the required nomenclature.

Kally said...

As far as I'm concerned, 'lady' or 'ladies' is a respectful term that conveys a degree of reverence and affection.

Being British I don't agree with the suggestion by some commenters that people in the UK see 'lady' as an aristocratic term reserved for the upper echelons, certainly that is the traditional meaning (whereby one would make Lady a pronoun by capitalising the word) but 'ladies' has been in use in the English language for centuries to mean all adult women of any social class.

I think many commenters have have got it right, it's the context attached to the word that conveys intent, not the word itself. 'Lady' in the context of this blog infers to me that these women are elegant and deserving of respect, but most certainly does not imply by extension that other women are not. By comparison, the word 'woman' could be placed in a context in which it is pejorative - "woman, make my dinner" etc. - it is totally down to usage and intent as to how the meaning of a word is perceived.

According to many feminist texts it is the word 'woman/women' that is the most derogatory to females, its origin being a combination of various archaic words for 'wife of man', with some separatist feminsts adopting 'womyn' or 'wimmin' as empowering alternatives to alleviate this perceived male control over feminine nomenclature - I personally find this quibbling quite superfluous, as modern women are not bound into a role by a noun derived from ancient languages.

Personally, as a twenty-five year old female, I am partial to 'lady', indifferent to 'woman', appreciative of being addressed properly as 'miss', and deeply offended by 'madam' - 'madam' in British culture doesn't convey the same respect as 'ma'am' in the US. Whereas it was originally intended simply to be used to address a married woman, it now has matronly overtones that most women are unhappy to be associated with. In the last few years I've also become more averse to the word 'girl', it's fine when used by other females in an affectionate context, but not by older people or men to imply immaturity - again, it's a question of variations in linguistic usage to convey intent.

Anonymous said...

Ari....I think your blog is perfect as is......I am a "child of the 60's" and have no problem at all with the term "ladies"........

Bettie said...

What a whiner she is. Keep up the good work!

Ashley O said...

I personally think the word 'ladies' is quite respectful. I love your blog and all that you do for both our elders and my own generation! x

Retro Model Sari said...

When I grow up I´ll be a lady! Btw: Congrats to the interview on Welt online. Imagine my surprise seeing you featured in Germany :-) http://www.welt.de/lifestyle/article13727948/Aelterwerden-Aber-bitte-mit-Stil.html

Orna said...

Hi Ari,

Love your blog (my new addiction). I have no problem with the use of ladies. However, if you want to diverse why not calling them Grand dames? They all look/sound larger them life. Attached is the Free Dictionary definition:
grande dame (grnd dm, gränd däm)
n. pl. grandes dames also grand dames (grnd dm, gränd däm)
1. A highly respected elderly or middle-aged woman.
2. A respected woman having extensive experience in her field

alix said...

Lordy, some people do over think things, don't they? I love LADIES.....Of course they are all women (duh) but the term "ladies" has an implied sweet yet saucy quality that pays respect to these stylish mavens.

I'm with the majority here....I like ladies, i don't mind being called a woman, but think "ma'am" is awful.

And I think it's very kind of you to ask sir....

Anonymous said...

The overall tone of your blog is respectful of your subject and readership and so the use of the word "Ladies" is just fine with me.

pedalpower said...

I love being called a lady and always take it as a compliment. To me a woman is just a female. "Lady" implies that there is a little more to her than that...some style, class, kindness or many other combinations of nice qualities. I love your blog. I'm 49 and your blog makes me feel good about the years to come!

Claire said...

As they say in the song from Avenue Q, You keep doin' what you're doin'! I see absolutely nothing wrong with "ladies" especially as you use it. I think the other blogger slightly misunderstood the point of this blog. Who cares if some of these ladies are "stuck in 1950s air hostess mode" if that's how they like to dress?? Ari, I can't tell you just how much I enjoy Advanced Style! It puts a smile on my face every time I stop by, and I can only hope that I'll face aging as gracefully as the ladies you feature!

Fabienne Jach said...

That is such a weird objection. I address the non-male humans on my design team as "ladies" all the time. Aren't they? I call my step-daughter and many of my friends "little lady" or "lady". It's not an insult. I don't know who that person is but maybe they're being a little extra sensitive and have their own issues to deal with. Honestly, we're ladies, chicks, babes, women, girls, girlies. It's all in the intention. Words only have the meaning we apply to them. (Little rant now ends.)

:) f

izzit said...

Oh puh-leez. The women you tend to photograph are Ladies with a capital "L", owing to their careful style (And the setting of NYC definitely contributes to that also!)
Yes, in another setting "ladeez" could certainly be used condescendingly(a few political debates spring to mind). But obviously you respect these women. From a daughter of the revolution: Don'tcha worry about the "ladies", kiddo!
(But you ARE too young to call them "girls". Only someone the same age or older gets to do that. I suggest "dames" instead -with whichever accent suits the moment.)
Pity poor Tess. She doesn't know yet that once you hit middle age, the lines between fashion & funny often blur, no matter what you do. Might as well celebrate the result.

Payton said...

The term lady infers that the woman being talked about it well mannered and well groomed. I see no problem with calling an elegant woman a lady.I find it more appropriate actually.

Can-Can said...

I love your blog - it lifts my spirits when I view it which I do frequently. You are so respectful of women. Ladies seems appropriate. As a woman who is a lady and sometimes does girlish things remembering my vixen days who can be a bit of a broad and is a mother/daughter/grandmother/wife/lover who prides herself on all the facest of being a woman, I say feel free to continue to do what you do.

Ab·bie [ab-ee] said...

Like you type'd, you cant please everyone. Ladies is the most respectful term you could use, Stick with it Aand keep up the awesome blogging ;)

Anonymous said...

"...Tess Giles Marshall, disapproves of my use of the word 'ladies.'" I couldn't agree more, but I am not interested in initiating a debate. So "[wh]at's the best way to refer to the women that I feature?" You clearly know the answer: women!

Oniongirl said...

I just discovered this blog, and LOVE it. I am approaching 50, and definitely have my own style. Most women in my family kind of gave up on style when they hit my age. I love seeing older women who still dress to the nines.
And Ari, it is YOUR blog, YOUR expression. I think you should word it however you like. When other people complain about your verbiage, that is their own issues coming up, and have nothing to do with you. I think using ladies is respectful, and accurately describes most of your subjects.
I, on the other hand, flinch a little when called a lady, because it makes me feel old. Just like when people call me ma'am.

maven said...

I know that I am a bit late to weigh in on this but...

My mother always told me that any adult female was a woman, but that one has to aspire to be a lady.

I hope that I am getting there little by little.

lintmag said...

I think "lady" is a compliment. Years ago, I was rather annoyed at being called "ma'am", but now at age 52, I like it. I do dislike it when someone I don't even know like a bank teller or salesperson calls me by my first name as if they're my best friend.
I say stick with "ladies".

Lola Polka said...

I find it as a compliment and I'm 30. Also I call other women 'ladies' to show my respect to them. I've never considered this to be inappropriate!!! Ladies = glamour + style

Anonymous said...

I'm over 60, and, honestly, I call everyone, male & female... "dude".

Yes, seriously. Embarrassing, I know...just sort of picked it up, what can I say?

"Woman" can be a good thing; as when compared to "girl"....like "boy" vs "man". It isn't just about age or size...it's about character and adulthood.

"Lady" is equivalent to "gentleman". Not everyone qualifies...but it's nice to pretend they do, and call them that anyway.

Sandy Guderyon said...

I LOVE being called a lady-to me, it's the highest form of elegance and is a compliment. It means I've worked on my life and that I care about others. The only time the term lady bothers a woman is when she isn't one.
Sandy Guderyon

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