Finding This Cute Might Mean You Support Harassment

If you’ve been on Twitter today, you’ve probably seen this tweet make the rounds on your timeline:

tweet

rejection snapchat tweet 1

This photo has been edited to protect the identity of the two subjects.

This photo has been edited to protect the identity of the two subjects.

The replies are full of people lamenting over the teen boy who, allegedly, continues to get curved by his crush. Some were suggesting this kid hook up with their younger sisters who are far nicer than the girl who rejected him. Others are posting supportive memes. One Twitter user jokingly asked, “Where this bitch live?” accompanied by a gif of a gun going off. While I understand the knee jerk reaction to sympathize with young, unrequited love, can we all take a step back for two seconds and think critically: There’s nothing wrong with this girl rejecting this boy’s advances, and demonizing her for setting up boundaries while encouraging him to breach them is incredibly creepy.

We all know some guy who has felt entitled to a female friend’s affection, and/or is encouraged to maintain this entitlement from others. We all know some guy who flirted a little too aggressively with some girl in grade school, to the point that even our limited pre-teen brains knew something about it was weird. We all know some guy who just can’t catch a hint. Do we know many girls who fit this description? Here’s an even better question: How would a girl who approaches a guy who clearly isn’t interested for years be received? Will she get sympathy, or will she be roasted for being some kind of crazy, obsessive bitch.

love-you

Something in our socialization makes it really easy for us to see intense romantic gestures from men as endearing. It’s not a coincidence that women are, in turn, encouraged to feel flattered by male attention, even if it is unwanted. It’s also not a coincidence that high school and college students have a very limited understanding of consent and that 44 percent of sexual assault victims are under the age of 18-years-old.

You might be thinking, “whoa, how did you jump from a kid getting curved to sexual assault?” For the record, I’m not saying that this teen boy is a future sexual predator. None of us know enough about him or the situation to come to that conclusion, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable coming to that conclusion. But it is clear that he isn’t taking his crush’s rejection very seriously, and that has a lot to do with a limited understanding of consent. We need to teach people, especially young boys, that “no” doesn’t mean “maybe” or “I’ll think about it.” It means no. It means that it’s not up for debate. It means that it’s time to swallow your pride and move on to someone else.

We need to be honest about the ways in which we’re teaching young boys and girls to respond to romantic and sexual advances and be more thoughtful about the behavior we’re supporting. The fact that young women have to tip toe around rejecting someone outright with vague language to avoid being characterized as a bitch or literally hurt and or killed is absolutely unacceptable. Anyone who is cooing over this young man’s ordeal is part of the problem: If you think his behavior is appropriate and should be encouraged, you support harassment, period. Seriously, imagine if you were put on blast on a very public forum just because you had the audacity to turn down a dude you’re not interested in. Does that seem fair to you?

This teen is still young, he has plenty to learn and a lot of maturing to do. But he and others who engage in this behavior can’t learn any better if they’re surrounded by people who don’t respect boundaries or observe the importance of consent. People–both men and women–need to focus less on sheltering men’s fragile egos and more on making sure they don’t feel entitled to women, no matter how nice they may be.

Should this prompt a discussion about consent? Or are people overreacting? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!

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  • Ivelise Rodriguez

    Yes this should spark a discussion upon consent and and boundaries because dear lord did i need them when i was their age. so many bad things happened to me when i was their age because i couldn’t set boundaries for myself. (later i found out that was a trait for Borderline Personality Disorder, something i got diagnosed with when i was 18)
    Though i have to comment on the messages which i have looked at. They are very Reminiscent of me and a guy friend of mine named Aaron who I was swerving for about 2 years and it was because for one; he wasn’t “my type” and then i felt he was overly “nice” which i felt was always a red flag. Aaron was VERY persistent and would not let up, i was mean, i was nasty i was rude and i just kept trying to push him away (of course at first i wasn’t rude and nasty but eventually since he didn’t get the hint and he just kept messaging me, i got that way). Aaron kept trying to talk to me and be a friend though i didn’t want any friendship that came from him and i wanted him to leave me alone. he did leave me alone finally for about 2 months in which he got a girlfriend but then there was a rough patch there and i was online doing a live feed and he got on and he commented on it and since i had a dream about him that wasn’t actually bad i told him about the dream and kept going with my stream. after the stream we messaged each other like human beings on common ground and we realized we weren’t too different from each other. we liked similar things, i used to go to his college, i listened to him and he listened to me and about 6 days after that live stream me and him started dating and we still are dating.

    I’m not here to say that this girl should give this kid a chance but i’m here to say that some guys see it as just persistence and not harassment (honestly, comparing Aaron’s messages against mine from back then, i would actually be considered harassing him for the tone and the language i used) maybe teaching them difference between the two also in order.
    Aaron and I have a happy ending, this story of the girl and this kid doesn’t :/

    The people that are attacking this girl are WAY out of line, they need to stop. these are things that happen in life. EVERYONE gets rejected but not often does it get broadcast to the world and made into this big thing. these are children at the end of the day, i’m 21 years old, and if i was still swerving Aaron and it got broadcast like that it would tear me to shreds on the inside, AND I’M AN ADULT so imagine what this girl is going though? these people have NO RIGHT to do this, this gives me a forced marriage vibe, like a shotgun wedding vibe. like “if you don’t date him we are going to find you and hurt you” like that’s no one’s business except their’s and she has her reasons for why she doesn’t want to date him or even give him the time of day (whatever they may be, valid to us or not they are valid to her and that’s all that matters) and listen if he still chasing her, that his business and not his family nor social media’s. Dear lord it is cringy and he should try and find someone else because she has made it loud and clear she doesn’t like him but he continues there, not sure why. Should he learn about something called “personal space”, “Harassment” and “boundaries”, absolutely! While he is at it, he should google “how to properly handle rejection”.
    the only question i have at the end of all this is why was the boy’s family member so inclined to share this situation with the world? like it was any of their business in the first place :/

  • Skylar Vanz

    Great article! I too have been a victim of harassment form my classmates (I’m in middle school). I think there should be conversations in Sex Ed about boundaries and consent. No one is too young to learn. Thanks 🙂