Thursday, August 25, 2011

Southern Belles

The definition of a Southern Belle has changed quite a bit since the 17th century when we made our debut. Initially, they were the daughters of wealthy southern plantation owners. Most were known for impeccable manners, womanly charms with girlish innocence, well manicured hands held in white gloves and a coy, clever personality. Some know them as women who relied heavily on the men in their lives while others still maintain that their apparent reliance on their men was part of their clever guise and that most of those Southern Belles learned how to use their wiles to manipulate the men into their lives into doing their bidding, all while never breaking a sweat or worse... a nail!

Some people also assumed that Southern Belles were uneducated, and some even speculate that they were kept that way on purpose to prevent them from challenging the men. Those of us raised here in the south know better... Southern Belles were taught to read and write and do basic mathematics as well as a foreign language, usually french. This is especially true for Louisiana where 'Cajun' is spoken... Cajun is a form of bastardized french mixed with English and heavily accented with a southern drawl. A lady needed to know how to run a household and in order to do that, one needed to know how to read and write, keep books and as some have said 'One needed to know math to see if the help or the husband was stealing'. As most southern belles came with a dowry, it makes sense to be concerned that a husband, especially one with a title that is failing, may marry one for money. Though most women have no say so over finances, it would be nice to know just the same.

Now, here is my pet peeve. The idea that southern belles are extinct. Perhaps, in the traditional sense we are not the same, but I assure you that we are still here! We are still waltzing around, doing good work, and charming the world.

We are no less extinct than the prized thoroughbreds of the Kentucky Derby and we are equally as valuable and equally as fantastic while in motion.

Sweet Tea and Cookie's Ya'll!
Mrs. Belle


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