So Why is ‘How To Be a Lady’ a fading art?
As the world evolved and advanced in medicine, technology and information,
many became extremely wealthy quickly, accumulating riches in a short period of time from what used to take generations to amass.
A new term was coined for the, they became known as the ‘New Money’.
That simply meant that their wealth had been generated in their lifetime.
Unlike the New Money, the people of Old Money, whose wealth has been with them more than three generations,
had ample time, privileges, education and exposure to the finer things. This allowed them to develop a certain culture which gave them a heightened sense of refined living.
They were respectful, polished, refined and they tend to socialize among their types.
Thus, that made them distinct in their genteel behavior.
It is because of their wealth and position in society that gave them great influence.
This influence has been used steer the directions of education, business, governments and communication.
For examples, many of the schools, universities, hospitals, churches have been established by this group of people.
They passed down their knowledge of health and manners. The beneficiaries in turned mimicked how they spoke, dressed and behaved.
Those not part of this established group (Old Money), aspired to be like them. To be educated, well-mannered, well-dressed like them was desired.
As new economies developed and the pace of advancement increased, Old Money increasingly lost its influence over society.
This could be due to the loss of their wealth perhaps through bad investments or bad marriages. Some of them were put out of this family businesses through new technological breakthroughs or medical discoveries. Some people call it the great transference of wealth.
That wealth transfer brought to society a new group of people with a sudden windfall of wealth as now known as New Money. With their newfound resources, power and increasing influence, Old Money people slowly faded into the background and lost their influence as society welcomed their new darlings.
Manners Not Valued As Much As Before
The New Money (or Newly Rich), although having the means to live like royals,
have not had enough time and experience to develop the polished manners and etiquette passed down and inherited by the royals and aristocrats.
However, that didn’t matter too much because they are being treated like royalty anyway.
The values of those graces are thus devalued and in some ways, “lost”.
While they happily erased ‘class lines’ – our unwilling invisibly imposed “caste system” of the Haves and the Have-nots, they threw the baby out with the dirty bath water.
There was this new movement of “The Self-Made” man (or woman). While it was chiefly a good thing, some people
mistakenly believed that manners did not matter, a good education was not that important if you had money, or
speaking well or dressing tastefully was optional. ‘Who cares, if you’ve got money? ‘ was a domineering attitude.
Coupled with the advancement of technology and media, internet and social media – we have been receiving mixed and wrong messages
on how to be a lady and its importance.
Media darlings are usually New Money, because Old Money generally have an aversion to being on the news or in the limelight.
The Media revolution with televisions and computers projects this over-eager acceptance of such behavior.
This can be seen how the young and impressionable mimic everything that celebrities and socialites wear, say or do.
This sense of entitlement is the root of some very ugly unladylike or ungentlemanly behavior.
It is believed that it is acceptable to be rude if you are ‘Somebody’ OR to be demanding.
They won’t blink if they need to flaunt their wealth. There is too much importance placed on materials
and not enough on the feelings of others.
What we see, read and hear about today much is in somewhat the reflections of the values of our society today.