Of boys and girls (good and rotten) and climbing trees.


Quote by Pete Wentz, Fall Out Boy

I have seen this meme posted a bunch in the last week and I finally decided to say something. I understand what they are going for: if you are a “good” girl don’t worry if boys are not interested in you. The right one will do the hard work it takes to climb to the top of the tree for a “good” apple, I mean girl. How many ways are there to dislike this meme?  I think this meme sells both young women and young men short. It feels over simplistic and trite. It feeds into the notion that some girls are “good” and some are “rotten”, some are valuable and some are not. Their goodness to rottenness is presumably determined by how high on the tree a boy (boys are neither good nor rotten you should note just brave or not brave enough) In this meme a girl’s value or goodness is confirmed by the fact that most boys are too intimidated by her “goodness”, but the right, brave boy will risk everything to “climb the tree” to get her. (Whatever that means)

What a pile of horseshit.

So girls in this analogy are objects to be taken, rewards for bravery and either “good” and worth pursuing or “rotten and easy” rather than complex individuals who have worth and value whether or not they have made all the right choices. Interestingly the “rotten” girls are referred to as “easy”. Easy is often used to imply that a girl is sexually promiscuous i.e. damaged goods. Certainly not worth climbing a tree for. What about boys who are easy? Are they rotten or are they just doing what boys do? **eye roll**

[I find it fascinating that he chose to imply that the girls place themselves in one camp or the other by virtue of their choices and actions. And that those actions determine whether they are good apples or rotten apples. But in reality he is the one either placing girls at the top of the tree (the Madonnas) or on the ground (the whores) based on whether or not the boys will risk getting hurt and climbing the tree for them. The Madonna/Whore complex is a thing btw. It is when a man can no longer see a woman as a whole person. She is rather completely classified by her sexual status. In this rubric women are one or the other, either the non-sexual feminine ideal (the Madonna) or the oversexualized sensual woman (the whore). The man in this instance cannot love the whore because he finds her morally lacking even though he wants to sleep with her and he cannot be sexually attracted to the Madonna, because that would turn her into the whore. Thus, girls are no longer seen as complex whole persons but rather they are defined by how they are perceived by men. In sexual politics, this way of classifying women as either Madonnas or whores limits women’s sexual expression, offering two mutually exclusive ways to form their sexual identity. This is totally unhealthy for both men and women and when we teach it as a sanitized morality play to boys and girls we do them a huge and damaging disservice.]

Funny, he says the “good” girls just need to be patient and wait for a brave boy who is willing to climb the tree to the top for them. Forget about whether or not the girls they have judged as being “rotten” and “easy” are actually awesome too. Or whether or not the ones they have judged as “good” and worthy are actually either. “Good” girls he says should wait for a boy to give them validation and approval. Thanks, but no thanks. Instead, perhaps we should teach ALL the girls that they are not some boy’s prize for being brave and not slumming it with a “rotten” girl. They are not an object to be possessed. Their value is not determined by whether boys think they are “good” or “rotten” but rather on the fact that they bear the image of God him/herself. Perhaps we should teach the girls not to compare themselves to each other and judge one another. Perhaps we should teach the girls to love themselves and each other.

It matters little what decisions the boy in this story has made. He is neither good nor rotten in this story. He is either afraid of being hurt (And who can blame him “good” girls are SO much work. One must be brave. One must climb to the very top of the tree!) or he is super brave. That “good” girl should be so grateful that he was willing to work so hard to pick her from the tree. But perhaps the biggest problem with the boys in this little morality play is that they are all judgmental, narrow-minded little jerks who alone get to decide which girls are worthy and which girls are easy. Thank God not all men are like this.

4 thoughts on “Of boys and girls (good and rotten) and climbing trees.

  1. Rose says:

    Honestly I think you are taking the analogy the wrong way. As I see it, the boy who truly wants a “good” Apple and truly loves the girl. He would climb up and get the apple. It is then if both of them decide if they truly want to be together. Well, yea, this is my opinion of it and pete wentz did a fantastic analogy .

  2. Sarah says:

    I was looking for pictures of apple trees on tumblr when I stumbled across this little jem of a quote and was astonished that it was posted without commentary, as if this was a deep, deep, meaningful quote. Which is how most teenage girls probably see it, since it is attributed to Pete Wentz.
    Thank you for putting into words what I can’t say with my limited knowledge of the english language.
    The whole thing is stupid, and simple, and basic, and, most of all, hurtful. How are you supposed to categorize yourself? Show me one teenage girl who sees herself as a top apple! Heck, show me even one woman who would! There is no way to win, you’re seen as either insecure and rotten or top and full of yourself.

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