When a Teapot Becomes a Feminist Cause



Once upon a time boys who liked girls in elementary school and who couldn’t reveal their true intentions, would put their pigtails in an inkwell.

Years went by and there were no inkwells. Boys would pull girls’ pigtails.

That might have been the case when one little girl named Joni had a metal teapot thrown at her by a boy and ended up with a cut, a bruise, and some swelling.

Joni was taken to the hospital and a hospital worker saw her crying. To make her feel better, he told her “I bet he likes you.”

Mom, Merritt Smith, went to town, might have gotten the worker fired though that wasn’t her intention.

“As soon as I heard it, I knew that is where it begins,” Smith wrote in a Facebook post on Oct. 6 that has gone viral. “That statement is where the idea that hurting is flirting begins to set a tone for what is acceptable behavior.”

This is where it begins?

The hospital apologized of course and really went all out.

“Although we know the comment was made with no malicious intent, it is our wish to apologize and express to you that this is something we are taking seriously,” the hospital said in a statement. “This comment does not represent our philosophy as an institution.”

We have reached out to the family, met with the employee and their management team, as well as our leadership in order to understand the situation and take measures to prevent this from happening again,” the hospital said.

A lot of drama here. Speaking of teapots, isn’t this a tempest in one?

Smith appreciated that and said it wasn’t about attacking the hospital or getting the man fired.

“This is about all adults being part of the village and creating a culture where people know what healthy relationships look like and sound like, what it feels like to be in a healthy relationship,” she said.

A healthy relationship? A little kid threw a teapot for which he was undoubtedly punished and a worker tried to make her feel better.

“The fact is that stereotype about the boy who likes the girl pulling her pigtails has got to go,” one Facebook user commented.

It’s become a cause célèbre. What do you think? Overkill? Or is this nipping a serious and dangerous societal stereotype in the proverbial bud?

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