Yesterday, I was on Twitter, minding my own business, when I accidentally stumbled into the trending topics section. One topic, in particular caught my attention. Earlier this week, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, Jameis Winston, made a trip to a Florida area elementary school to give the students a little pep talk. In his pep talk, he tried to encourage the boys to be strong. While he was at it, he said girls are supposed to be “silent, polite and gentle.” Say what?! Well, he got one out of three right. When I read that statement, my hair immediately caught fire (Not really, but it sure felt like it). Sorry Jameis Winston, girls don’t have to be silent and gentle.
Now, before you go thinking I’m out to stick it to Jameis Winston, I can assure you, I’m not. I actually think he’s a great athlete and have thought so since first seeing him play quarterback, as a freshman, at Florida State. Despite all his off field shenanigans in college, I was hopeful he would turn things around to fully realize his potential in the NFL. And for the most part, he’s done just that – he’s done a complete 180 since the Buccaneers drafted him. While I admire him, as a player, I’m completely irked by his statement and line of thinking. Why? Because it’s ridiculous to think that all girls are suppose to fit into one box. It’s even more problematic that in 2017, women are still being told how they should be. For the longest time, society has told girls and continues to tell them that they’re supposed to be quiet and soft and if they don’t fit into this box, something is wrong with them.
(When someone says girls should be silent and gentle).
As a girl growing up in the house with six brothers and a dad, I became a product of my environment – feisty, tough and very strong-willed (And it doesn’t help that I have my father’s personality). I wasn’t quiet or gentle. Thankfully, my parents’ let me be myself. It wasn’t until I ventured out into the world that society tried to make me feel like something was wrong with me because my personality didn’t fall into this girly girl stereotype. And for a while, I tried to fit into that stereotypical mold, but I was so miserable trying to be someone else, I gave up charade and went back to being myself. As an aunt of several feisty little confident nieces, I refuse to stand by and let society tear them down because they’re not “silent and gentle.”
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with girls who are silent and gentle. Just like there’s nothing wrong with girls who aren’t. The sooner we all leave girls alone, stop trying to cram them into little pink boxes and let them be themselves, the better off they’ll be.
What are your thoughts on Winston’s comment that girls should be silent and gentle? If you haven’t seen the video, you can see it here.