Thursday, December 4, 2014

That Just Means He Likes You!

Have you ever heard a little girl, after complaining that a little boy has been mean to her, be told "That just mean that he likes you!" You probably, at one point in your life, have either been told that yourself (if you're a girl), told a little girl that, or heard someone say it. I was told that myself when I was around third grade. The younger brother of my brother's friend was constantly teasing me on the bus. Now I don't remember what he said to me, but I remember being that age and incredibly sensitive, and doing my best to not cry on the bus. After telling someone about how he teased me, I was told the proverbial, "That means he likes you!"

 Fast forward to this past year, my friend's little girl, about the same age as I was, told her mom and I that a boy was teasing her, and before I could even stop myself I heard, "That just means he likes you!" slip right out of my mouth. I don't think I even thought about what I was saying, it was just what was said in those situations. But as soon as the words came out my brain just started going, "What on Earth is that nonsense? A boy is mean to you, and that means he LIKES you?? Really." Her mom must have had the same thought because she started in on the statement, expressing what my mind was saying to me.

In Anne of Green Gables Gilbert pulls Anne hair, generally torments her while they are growing up and later tells her he did it because he liked her. Society accepts.

Now, I don't where this general idea came from, that boys are mean to girls because they like them, or the idea that it is acceptable. As adolescents, it is expected that boys are going to tease, harass, bully, etc. the girls they like, but then they are suddenly supposed to grow up and that is all going to change? How is anyone, male or female supposed to change the mindset that they have had their whole life? That instead of treating someone who you supposedly like with disdain and violence, you are now supposed to treat someone you like with softness and love. It just doesn't work like that.

How can we expect normal, healthy relationships to develop when this is what has become socially acceptable? How can we expect young men to grow up to treat women with respect when their whole life they are not reprimanded for treating girls with disrespect and disdain? How can we expect young women to walk away from abusive relationships or never enter into one when their whole life they are taught that "That just means he likes you!" whenever they are hurt, physically, verbally, or emotionally by a boy.