A Houston school recently scrubbed a quote at the Gregory Lincoln Education Center that’s greeted students for years after it offended folks on social media.
A Houston Independent School District employee took a picture of the quote and shared it on Twitter, which set off a firestorm of criticism that ultimately convinced school officials to remove it altogether, KTRK reports.
The quote read: “The more you act like a lady, the more he’ll act like a gentleman.”
It was apparently too much for some to handle.
This is the wall at Gregory-Lincoln Middle School in Houston ISD.
It’s perpetuating horrible gender stereotypes, shaming women, and relinquishing boys of all responsibility. It’s sexist, mysogonistic, and discriminatory!
— lbeckman (@lbeckman) August 17, 2018
“This is the wall at Gregory-Lincoln Middle School in Houston ISD,” wrote lbeckman, an anti-gun activist who works in LA, Boulder, Philly and Houston. “It’s perpetuating horrible gender stereotypes, shaming women, and relinquishing boys of all responsibility.
“It’s sexist, misogonistic (sic), and discriminatory,” her Twitter post read. “I’m horrified.”
lbeckman also included a #metoo hashtag for good measure, and it prompted strong reactions both for and against the quote.
“I think we’re reinforcing stereotypes,” HISD parent Tish Ochoa told KTRK. “I mean, look at the climate in which we’re living in. We’re supposed to be teaching people to be responsible for their own actions. What is this teaching little girls?”
“I am a mother of a little girl, a 6-year-old girl,” she said. “I would ide if my girl went to the school and saw that.”
The quote, which appeared above a bank of lockers at the education center, was not attributed, but Ochoa and others believe it’s linked to Sydney Biddle Barrows, who was known as the Mayflower Madam for running a prostitution service in New York City in the 1980s.
The site BrainyQuote also attributes the quote to Barrows.
This outrageous victim-blaming message is painted on the wall of a MIDDLE SCHOOL in @HoustonISD, blatantly perpetuating the horrific myth that girls are to blame for sexual violence against them. Absolutely disgusting. Paint over it now. pic.twitter.com/p9D5EhkSqH
— Stephanie Wittels Wachs (@wittelstephanie) August 17, 2018
“This is outrageous victim-blaming message is painted on the wall of a MIDDLE SCHOOL in @HoustonISD, blatantly perpetuating the horrific myth that girls are to blame for sexual violence against them,” Twitter user Stephanie Wittels Wachs posted to Twitter on Friday. “Absolutely disgusting. Paint over it now.”
By the end of the day, district officials issued a statement to the Houston Chronicle that “the quote does not align with HISD values, and it will be taken down.”
Overnight, the sign was removed and it was replaced with a new message over the weekend, a quote from 21-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai.
“Do not wait for someone else to come and speak for you,” it reads. “It’s you who can change the world.”
District officials noted that “third-graders at the school this year will be reading her book, ‘Malala’s Magic Pencil,” KTRK reports.