Duck face and the booty shot might beat balancing books on women’s heads to acquire poise, but what if millennials had to follow the rules of etiquette laid down for their great-grandmothers?
“You might have to take your mum on your next date, for starters,” says Eliza Reilly, one half of the sister act behind a fascinating social experiment that pits the methods of deportment queen June Dally-Watkins against the likes of Instagram model Carla-Rose Brett.
Twenty-something siblings Hannah and Eliza are the creators, writers and stars of Growing Up Gracefully, a new ABC docu-comedy series that explores the social rules designed to guide girls through the milestones of growing up from the 1920s to today.
Growing Up Gracefully
- July 19, 9.30pm
- ABC TV and ABC iview
The sisters, daughters of Bullpitt!, Hey Dad..! and Kingswood Country writer Gary Reilly and actor-turned-visual artist Julie Haseler, grew up largely free range on a farm on the NSW Central Coast. They hit on their TV idea after coming across a 1950s teen-advice book.
“We have been collecting etiquette books pretty much since then and were so fascinated by what the advice was like for women of a different time,” Hannah, host of triple j’s The Hook Up, says. “We wanted to test out how that would go today.”
Hannah, a self-confessed party girl, takes old-school advice to develop more refinement and discipline, including learning the ankle-twisting poise known as the “Dally stance” and going on chaperoned dates. Meanwhile, Eliza, a bookish homebody, learns how to cut loose and the best way to photograph herself from behind in a bikini.
“It is basically about two misinformed, semi-deranged young women grappling with all the different expectations that are placed on women, and either learning something or becoming more confused,” Eliza says.
At the end of the six-part series, which covers looking your best, courtship, sex, making friends, career and spirituality, the sisters conclude that society is still intent on “shaming women into behaving a certain way”.
“We just kind of learn to be brave and just do whatever we want because everyone has these different expectations of how women should behave, especially when it comes to sex,” Hannah says.
“You are in your 20s, you are going to make mistakes, you are going to to stuff up,” adds Eliza. “You have to learn be patient and kind to yourself.”
Some important advice from Hannah and Eliza:
Should you ever wear runners to a cocktail party – even if they are designer?
“It is always good advice to wear runners to a cocktail party because you never know when you are going to have to flee an awkward situation, such as if you bump into your ex.”
Is it is OK to Instagram your dinner?
“You should Instagram every single meal because otherwise people do not know what you are eating or, indeed, whether you have eaten at all.”
Should men offer women seats on the tram?
“Gender is a very outdated form of identifying people who can sit. If you are sitting down, you should offer the person standing up your seat. It might be best if everyone just stood because sitting down is rude.”