Common criticisms of my "Stop Teaching Girls That Boys Are Mean To Them Because They Like Them" embroidery
Posted on 06 June 2018
When my "stop teaching girls that boys are mean to them because they like them" piece went viral, often without attribution to the source (me), it's original meaning got misconstrued. I wish more people knew my intentions behind it, as sometimes it gets frustrating when people keep saying the same misconceptions about it back to me daily, believing they're the first person to say it. Here are some common responses I hear:
1.) "No! We should be teaching boys not to be mean to girls they like!!!" OK, first off, this piece is inspired by my personal experiences as a woman, it makes sense to do it from my own perspective. So, this isn't to say that I think boys shouldn't be taught not to be mean to the girls they like, quite the contrary but this quote is inspired by the things I wish I'd been taught as a young girl.
2.) "Well, I was never taught that..." this isn't about this one message "that boys are mean to you because they like you" it's about an entire culture that romanticises toxic behaviours in heterosexual relationships. You may not have ever been explicitly told this statement but it's underlying message is taught to us in other ways, take the romanticisation of the "bad boy" as another example. I could go further into this but just because you haven't experienced something first hand doesn't mean it doesn't happen to others. It's quite closed minded and arrogant to say that something isn't real just because you haven't experienced it.
3.) "Pfft how can this woman promote feminism but use the colour pink in association with girls, that's sexist!" Whenever I read comments like this, I facepalm. It's wrong that society pressures people to conform to gender stereotypes, for example, if you're a girl you must like pink. However, telling a girl she can't express herself using pink is just as bad as telling her she must. That makes you guilty of what you're accusing others of doing, putting limitations on how people choose to express themselves based on their gender. Why can't I use the colour pink in my art if I want to? I really doubt you'd come at males expressing their personal experiences in "masculine" ways, or question the integrity of their work because they use the colour blue? So women aren't allowed to use "feminine" ways of expressing themselves, otherwise they're sexist? How is that equal?
4.) "It should be stop teaching people that people are mean to them because they like them!" I purposefully chose to use "girls" and "boys" because I'm talking about heteronormative behaviours. It wouldn't have the same meaning if I generalised. I'm talking about my personal experiences as a woman in heterosexual relationships.
I can't think of any other common responses people say in regards to this piece right now but these are the one's that crop up the most often.