Do you know why ‘Ladies first’? [Archives:2007/1077/Community]

August 16 2007

By: Maged Thabet Al-kholidy
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It is common to hear the expression 'ladies first'. Women, in particular, daily repeat it as if it is a rule. They actually feel proud of it, unknowing its origin and its real indications. They think it is praise to them, while it is a shame to be said according to its origin.

The story of this saying took place in Italy. It is about two lovers who loved each other so much. They decided to marry. But some social circumstances and relatives block the way of their marriage. They did not accept this and intentionally decided either to live together as husband and wife, or to die together.

Having done best to achieve the marriage, they got disappointed. Dying together was the only option. They thought about a number of ways to commit the suicide.

Throwing themselves into the sea was the appropriate way to them. The man sincerely said he would not bear the situation of seeing her drowning to death in front of his eyes. He convinced his beloved that he would throw himself first and then she would do so latter.

In the rush moment, the man did it and drown. The lady was looking at him as if he was 'singing'. The man was dead. It was the lady's turn to follow him to live together underneath, as they decided. But she soon broke her promise, forgetting her sweetheart who was dying in front of her eyes and in heart as well.

She 'threw herself back to the village'. Yes! Her promise was to throw herself. And she did, but to the village instead of the sea.

She came back home, to her relatives as if nothing has happened. Few days later, she fell in love with another man. She was happy with him as if it was her first love. It did not take a lot of time till she got married to him.

Since then, people start doubting ladies and start repeating the saying 'ladies first', with the implication that ladies should throw themselves into the sea first, should die first, because they are not trustworthy.

It is really interesting when one hears a lady proudly says 'ladies first', thinking that she adds a privilege for being a female. Some people, men and women, take it as a social rule, unknowing its real indications.

This is not a personal point of view. It is not, moreover, a personal interpretation of the story. It is what many sources say and interpret the original story. So, women please forgive me for shedding light on this.

I do only a favor for women so that to be aware of when to say 'ladies first' and when not to say. For me, I don't care if I hear a woman saying this. I way ignore or pretend deafness. But others may take it a matter of satire.

Having known this, women may reject this saying. They may claim that 'Ladies last' is better.

This saying has been common for several years. And men never reject it. Though the proverb has a negative implication on women, men do really accept it as it is, following it as a matter of respect to women whenever they come across.

See the difference, men do not feel teased whenever women shout for being 'the first', unknowing its real implications. But the case is taken differently by women when the verse happens.

In spite of this, men will not change their respect and intimacy to women. They will take women to be first when they positively look at 'ladies first'. And similarly, they will insist to make 'ladies last' when it is negative to put them at first. The problem, however, lies in women themselves who do not accept everything normally as it is.

Women claim to be first. They do not take it normally whether to be first or last. Men, on the other hand, accept women to be first not for the saying 'ladies first' but for the social respect of men towards women.

So it is only a matter of respect. It is not a rule, and it is better to be not a rule because it will be a negative aspect of women.

Spotlighting on this is not to provoke the matter between men and women. But it is to learn a lesson that both are 'first and both can be last'. There must be mutual acceptance and integration between the two sexes. So this is a call firstly for women, because of “ladies first””