Speaking to a group of third to fifth graders, Jameis Winston of the NFL’s Tamp Bay Buccaneers said [in part] that “the ladies ‘pose to be “silent, polite and gentle…but my men suppose to be strong.”
In this era of radical political correctness and ultra-feminism, it is easy to see how Winston’s words (as expressed in my post’s title) could be taken out of context and construed as perpetuating certain gender stereotypes that have had negative social, economic and cultural effects on women.
As we delve into the body of the post, here are three questions I would like you to consider. (1) Was Winston telling women how to act—for all time? (2) Was he leading a movement to silence women? (3) Did Winston, in his attempt to deliver a well-intentioned and uplifting speech, reference a gender stereotype?
I have been incredibly blessed to have had a loving mother and father raise me. My father modeled, among many things, hard work, grit, courage, innovativeness, compassion and loyalty. My mother was the epitome of beauty, determination, resolve, strength, intelligence and kindness.
I have also had the good fortune of being surrounded by four beautiful women for a combined seventy-seven years (and counting). Interestingly, my wife is soft-spoken, polite and gentle. She is also strong, intelligent and classy. My daughters possess high mental acuity—they are beautiful; they are critical thinkers and problem-solvers; they are ambitious; and they love fun and adventure.
I understand that we live in a sport’s obsessed and entertainment drunken society. But why the hell do we look to athletes and entertainers to be role models? Since when did their voice become the voice of the people? Well, this shift started when some parents decided to stop parenting their children and allow other people to raise their children. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the problem.
This is not to say that athletes, entertainers and other public figures should be absolved from scrutiny relating to questionable levels of conduct. But it is one thing to chronicle misbehavior and achievement, and it is another thing to tether one’s entire reality and worldview to athletes and entertainers’ realities.
Love him or hate him, the reality remains that Jameis Winston is not the face of gender stereotyping. Conversely, his statements are a reflection of political, religious and culturally pervasive views, values and norms that have been perpetuated by men in positions of power since the dawn of human history.
Upcoming post: “You Have A Great Idea – Now What?”