Put a Ribbon in My Hair?!?

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As a woman from the south, born in the '50s, I was raised to be small, quiet, polite and inauthentic, a perfect southern belle. The instructions were to look and act pretty, speak when spoken to and keep a low profile, ESPECIALLY around men. I was groomed to be a perfect southern housewife, much like "the good wife" described in the May 1955 Good Housekeeping article. Here were just a few of the steps from that guide:

Have a delicious meal ready and on time for your husband. Prepare the children, eliminate the noise, light a fire and put out his slippers. Prepare yourself. Freshen up. Put a ribbon in your hair. Let him know you are thinking of him and concerned for his needs. This will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

Be happy to see him. His day may have been boring. Make him comfortable, have a cool drink ready for him, let him lie down if he needs to. Be sincere in your desire to please him and provide a place of peace and order where he can be renewed. This is your duty.

Do not ask questions. Do not complain. Listen to him. His topics of conversation are more important than yours. His is the master of the house. A good wife always knows her place...

Put a RIBBON in MY hair? Cater to HIS COMFORT? Never question HIS JUDGEMENT? Be sincere in my desire to PLEASE HIM?

Whew! Where is today's amazing Southern woman in this description? No wonder Southern women of my era question who they are, what they are here to do and whether they need permission to follow their own inner guidance. No wonder southern women stay small avoid being bold or playing big in the world. And, this guide applies to all women, not just Southern women, right?!

As a coach, I work with remarkable, powerful and amazing women who know they are more than the roles they've played. They simply feel a little stuck and unsure of what to do next. These women have learned to be chameleons, becoming what they need to be, shifting roles from moment-to-moment; charming and graceful, weak and subservient or strong and powerful. They're equipped to do it all.

So, what's in the way? How is it that these Southern women, and many women for that matter, with these extraordinary skills frequently finds themselves wondering what's next? Why do they question who they are and the value of their contribution to others? Why do these powerful women stay (or feel) so small?

Stay tuned for The Rebel Belle's Top 8 Reasons Southern Women Stay Small....

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