He’s only picking on you because he likes you. Only calling you names, making fun of you and pushing you around, because he likes you. He’s only making you feel inferior because he likes you, as of course, the myth says, ‘boys are only mean to the girls they like’. I’m sure lot of young girls are told this and have it repeated to them throughout adolescence, when some boys at school single them out and are frankly, quite horrible. Sometimes this may be the case and guys may tease girls to get their attention. It also may be some boy’s way of expressing themselves and signalling their feelings to a girl. However, girls shouldn’t be told this. It shouldn’t be ingrained, because where do we draw the line? How do we measure what level of ‘mean’ is acceptable and when ‘mean’ becomes abuse? And, after teaching young girls that when a boy is mean, it shows his affection, how do we stop these girls from romanticising such abusive behaviour as they grow older?
If the case is, that these boys feel they can only show their feelings for a girl by picking on her, then this stems back to an issue I addressed in a previous post. (Big boys don’t cry) Maybe because boys tend to be reared to ignore their stereo-typically feminine feelings, they feel consequently threatened when these emotions surface. Maybe they feel too scared to say how they feel and so instead, project a hardened exterior. This is understandable, though not excusable, and as it doesn’t apply in every case, I don’t think that girls should be taught this myth. Not every boy who is mean to a girl, has feelings for her and not every boy who has feelings for a girl, is mean.
This myth which is woven into society, causes a lot of problems for girls, when they try to raise awareness of the effects of these boys’ behaviour. Some school teachers may laugh and say, ‘I bet he likes you!’ As I said before, he might, but that doesn’t make it acceptable. Teachers have a responsibility to act accordingly, when young girls find the confidence to confide in them. As for the perpetrators, being called out on their behaviour, often leads to girls being told that they’re over-reacting, being overly sensitive or that they’re just plain crazy. Of course, these immature boys find it hard to understand that calling a girl names and making fun of her insecurities, is verbal abuse. They can’t seem to fathom the idea that touching a girl when she doesn’t want to be touched – grabbing her boobs as she walks down the corridors at school or thrusting an unwelcome hand up her skirt – is sexual abuse. Quite regularly, I’ve noticed that when a girl projects her voice about such issues, she is quickly labelled as crazy. She’s exaggerating about a situation which is ‘not that deep’. This crafty little silencing method, dismisses any negativity that was due to be exposed. It stops a girl from telling her tale.
We should teach our girls instead that when boys are mean, they are just being plain mean. We, as girls, shouldn’t be made to put up with this because ‘it is simply their nature’; it isn’t. We use the term ‘bad boy’ far too often, but having these types of boys (not men), chase after us is not an achievement. We should stop using such phrases to overlook and excuse this behaviour. It’s not justifiable and it certainly shouldn’t be justified by us girls. These boys need to take ownership of their own carelessly degrading behaviours, and not seek to normalise them. We don’t want the next generation of girls to be surrounded by these same idealisms, which have caused us so much pain. We need to break the cycle, or the tradition will inevitably repeat. A bad boy is not attractive and should not be romanticised; a bad boy is simply a bad human being.
So, to all the boys who this applies, please take responsibility for your actions and stop being mean to girls – even if it’s because you like them. Treating us mean, will most definitely not keep us keen.