Cynthia Nixon fronts thought-provoking film about the twisted challenges of being a 'lady'

Girls. Girls. Girls. Magazine combines powerful words with a barrage of imagery to underscore women's plight

Published On
Feb 27, 2020

Editor's Pick

Actress and activist Cynthia Nixon confronts the complexities of being a “lady” in a provocative film that debuted this week from Girls. Girls. Girls. Magazine.

With kohl-lined eyes and slicked-back hair, Nixon strikes an imposing figure as she addresses the camera head-on. “Be a lady they said,” she says, with a challenging lilt to her voice. “Your skirt is too short. Your shirt is too low. Don’t show so much skin. Cover up. Leave something to the imagination.” 

With those lines, the film cuts in daring, stylish scenes of a model crossing legs, another, wearing a shirt so cropped that it exposes her “underboob,” and yet another in a lace top that leaves her nipples exposed.

Nixon is reciting excerpts from a 2017 piece by Camille Rainville, "Be a Lady They Said," written when the author was an undergrad at the University of Vermont. The words bluntly point out society’s myriad and endless contradictory expectations of women, while an explosive, wide-ranging mix of images serves to heighten the tension. 

There’s a barfing emoji, tabloid mag covers, a laboratory skeleton, a plastic surgery consultation, hairy armpits and pubic areas, a mastectomy scar, a pole dancer, a little girl trying on heels, all intertwined with moments from the pop culture canon:

“Men don’t like girls who try too hard,” Nixon says over a scene of Rachel McAdams in “Mean Girls.” 

“Men don’t like ugly,” she reads to a clip of Donald Trump smirking.

“Men don’t like sluts,” she announces with footage of Pope Francis slapping the hand of a woman during a New Year’s gathering at St. Peter’s Square.

“Don’t be intimidating,” she continues over a scene of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 

"Crazy feminist” she annnounces with a shot of Rose McGowan. 

“Don’t say yes. Don’t say no,” Nixon reads alongside a clip of convicted Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein before closing with a final declaration: “Just be a lady, they said.”

The film was directed by Paul Mclean and produced by Claire Rothstein.


Feb 27, 2020
Writer :
Camille Rainville
Director :
Paul Mclean
Producer :
Claire Rothstein
Post Production :
Mini Content
Music :
Louis Souyave

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