In this new era of feminism, it is important for girls and boys to grow up with the mentality that they are equal. Yet Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston struck a nerve about gender roles during a speech at Melrose Elementary for kids when he encouraged the boys to be strong and encouraged girls to be silent and polite.
The discussion of gender roles is heavily debated and has especially come to light within the past several decades. Throughout our history, women have been told they need to be well-mannered and delicate while the men should be the breadwinners of the household due to their intelligence and strength. Nowadays, women are realizing they can be whatever the f*ck they want to be and that they do not have to conform to gender roles. It’s the views like Winston’s that can be a major step back for women and the fight for equality.
It is especially harmful that he projected his views onto elementary school children. Winston instructed only the boys to stand up, having them chant, “I can do anything I put my mind to,” while the girls sat and listened. It’s these comments and experiences that stick with young girls and crush their self-confidence. It teaches them that they are not equal and as valued as their male classmates and is a mentality some carry for most of their lives.
Winston doesn’t have a great history when he comes to treating women with respect. Back in 2012, he was accused of raping a female student at Florida State University and had two federal lawsuits. Yet, he was never charged and the cases were settled.
Fellow football players have gone on to defend Winston. Detriot lions wide receiver Golden Tate told TMZ that Winston was misunderstood and was trying to say that, “Hey man, lead your families. Step up when you see something that’s not going right.”
Yet, even if that is what he was trying to say, why were the girls still left out? Let me guess, women should just sit still and be polite when they see something that’s not going right, huh? Winston was not misunderstood and unfairly criticized. He is not the victim of this story, it’s the little girls who were in that room. He needs to realize that his words were damaging and unnecessary.
And it seems that Jameis Winston is the one who needs to take a step back and see that girls can do anything they put their minds to.
**Special thanks to Kevin Keelty Gartland for helping with the headline title!**