“The more you act like a lady, the more he’ll act like a gentleman” may seem like an outdated bit of womanly wisdom plucked from its time to illustrate the misogyny that once poisoned the hearts and minds of the nation.
But in a Houston-area school, it was an inspirational quote presented at face value, unattributed, in stark black lettering above a row of lockers.
That was the day Houston-based Twitter user Lisa Beckman posted a photo of the galling quote to her personal account. Her post lambasted Houston Independent School District’s Gregory-Lincoln Education Center, which teaches pre-K through eighth grade, for peddling the harmful idea that women and girls can be blamed for the actions of men and boys, and it received a lot of attention.
“It’s perpetuating horrible gender stereotypes, shaming women, and relinquishing boys of all responsibility,” Beckman wrote. “It’s sexist, misogynistic, and discriminatory!”
“I’m horrified,” she concluded.
Beckman told local news outlet KHOU11 that a friend took the picture and sent it to her. She subsequently wrote to the school and its board to petition for the quote’s removal.
The district acquiesced.
“The quote does not align with HISD values, and it will be taken down,” the school said in a statement provided to Houston Public Media. The phrase was removed Friday, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“The input of our community is invaluable, and we appreciate that this was brought to our attention,” the statement said.
An HISD teacher who wished to remain anonymous told KHOU11 that she was uncomfortable with the quote’s place in the school to begin with.
“To me it meant that girls need to take responsibility, not only for their own actions, but for whatever the boys do to us, as well,” the teacher said. “I just didn’t feel like that was an image of the equality and self-determination that, we as a district or myself as a mother, want to portray.”
News outlets are attributing the quote to Sydney Biddle Barrows, a famous brothel keeper, but HuffPost was unable to verify its origin.