While we as parents are responsible for shaping our children’s character and social perspectives, our kids’ schools are an integral part of that process as well.
With this influence in mind, Gregory-Lincoln Middle School in Houston ISD found itself rightfully embroiled in a social media firestorm when an outraged parent tweeted a photo of a quote that was painted on the wall above a bank of lockers in the school hallway.
The controversial quote:
“The more you act like a lady, the more he’ll act like a gentleman.”
Let that sink in for a moment…
The quote was brought to public attention in the FORM OF A TWEET by concerned parent Lisa Beckman that featured a photo of the actual quote and the text below:
This is the wall at gregory-lincoln middle school in houston isd. it’s perpetuating horrible gender stereotypes, shaming women, and relinquishing boys of all responsibility. it’s sexist, mysogonistic, and discriminatory!
I’m horrified. #MEtoo #HISD
And THE TWEET was quickly noticed, instantly being retweeted nearly ten thousand times in two days. In addition to the retweets, the public made their outrage & disbelief known in the form of THOUSANDS of tweet responses in protest of such a misogynistic message being promoted by the public school system.
Ah yes. Another impossible responsibility to heap on our girls. How about boys behave like gentlemen no matter how another acts towards them? It’s called character.
— Allieblahblah (@Allieblahblah) August 17, 2018
“If you want to be respected, be respectful.” -A quote like this might’ve been a better choice for a middle school wall imo ????
— Gotham's Kitten ? (@GothamsKitten) August 18, 2018
Much of the ire over the quote stems from the implication that girls are inherently responsible for the choices that boys make regarding their conduct, for better or worse. If a boy chooses to engage in behavior that is less than “gentlemanly”, well, it’s a shame that the woman involved led him to behave that way, isn’t it (sarcasm intended for such an inane thought)?
Then why doesnt it say "The more you act like gentleman, the more she'll act like a lady? Much better: "Treat others as you would like to be treated" Something wrong with that one??
— Kari Bower (@BiasMatters) August 19, 2018
"So remember girls, if he's treating you horribly then you had it coming. Now enjoy class!" – the people who put this up apparently.
— Lady Valkyrie ? NYCC ??? (@valkyrie_art) August 17, 2018
Then it should read “respect earns respect”…. not “be nice girls so boys will like you” ?
— Jessica (@obxwife) August 18, 2018
It places the blame solely on a woman if her behavior is deemed less than “ladylike” (which also begs the question: who determines what behavior is considered appropriate for a woman in the first place??
Should girls be expected to remain quiet? Should they NOT ENGAGED IN SPORTS? Should they refrain from speaking up in class in the fear that they could overshadow their male peers?
Would I want my child’s school, or a male classmate, determining if my daughter’s behavior wasn’t “ladylike” enough to warrant the respect of a classmate?
Or should I expect my son to treat his female classmates disparagingly because he doesn’t think their behavior warrants anything “gentlemanly” from him?
A firm NO on both accounts, because this thinking is both archaic and dangerous. It’s a terrible lesson to teach BOTH genders. One twitter user even “fixed” the quote for them.
Here. Fixed it for you. pic.twitter.com/QvACYGoGrv
— lil’tweeter (@TweetsABitNow) August 17, 2018
The school district responded to the intense media scrutiny by issuing a statement on Friday afternoon:
Please be advised that the quote on the wall of Gregory Lincoln PK-5 Education Center has been removed. Overnight, the wall decal letters were taken down, the wall was floated out, and new slab of drywall was installed and painted.
The quote was removed, and social media is to be credited with shining a much-needed light of attention on the matter of gender equality in our schools.
It is essential for OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM to regard both male and female students with equal respect, but more importantly, equal accountability for their actions and choices. Children should be expected to treat every other person they encounter with respect, regardless of gender. Mutual respect, trust, and honesty are the goals.
As a mother of both boys and girls, I am raising my kids to hold themselves accountable for their OWN behavior. Fellow students should be held to the same high standard of behavior.
I’m thankful that parents not only voiced concern over this potentially destructive message, but brought it to the attention of enough voices to generate needed change.
Check out what our own Meredith Masony thought, too:
The fact that a middle school thought it was appropriate to put this quote "The more you act like a lady, the more he'll act like a gentleman." above the lockers is beyond me. Let me tell you how I am explaining what it is to be a lady to my sons and daughter.
Posted by That's Inappropriate on Saturday, August 18, 2018