‘The more you act like a lady’ school sign: Sexist nonsense or best advice ever?

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from Chicago Tribune,

At Gregory-Lincoln Education Center, a K-8 school in Houston, a quote was displayed above a row of lockers reading, “The more you act like a lady, the more he’ll act like a gentleman.”

Twitter user @lbeckman shared a photo of it, writing, “It’s perpetuating horrible gender stereotypes, shaming women, and relinquishing boys of all responsibility. It’s sexist, misogynistic, and discriminatory! I’m horrified.”

Several thousand retweets and a social media firestorm later, school officials removed the quote and released a statement saying the message “does not support our values.”

Apart from the fact that the quote is attributed to Sydney Biddle Barrows, a former escort agency owner who pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution in 1985, is the quote really all that bad?

Not everyone thinks so.

“I agree with this quote 100%,” one person replied to Beckman’s tweet. “So sad to be removed.”

“Best advice ever dished out at a middle school,” replied another.

There’s the minor problem of it not being true, of course. A quick scan of the headlines, or a quick survey of the girls and women in your life, will remind you that boorish, bullying, predatory behavior — behavior unbecoming of a gentleman — is not the result of ladies not minding their manners.

Ask Larry Nassar’s victims.

“For too long I’ve asked myself, ‘Was I too naive? Was it my fault?’” Olympic gymnast Simone Biles said in January, about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her sports doctor. “I now know the answer to those questions. No. No, it was not my fault.”

The sooner we stop telling girls — overtly or covertly — that they can cause a boy’s good behavior or curb his bad behavior, the better.

The sooner we stop treating boys like they’re defenseless in the face of girls’ wily charms — unmoored from any value systems of their own, unable to decide whether to be cads or gentleman until a lady tells them — the better.

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