I can’t tell you how much it warms my heart to think of this younger generation when I hear about stories like this one:
Lawrenceville School Student Body President Maya Peterson’s Instagram post of her dressed in L.L. Bean boots and a Yale University sweatshirt, casually holding a hockey stick, did not go over so well…
“You’re the student body president, and you’re mocking and blatantly insulting a large group of the school’s male population,” one student commented on the photo, which boasted hashtags like #romney2016 and #confederate.
She’s only a senior in high school and she’s already infuriating men to the point that they’ve called for her resignation. At that age, I could infuriate at most two or three men at a time. On a really excellent day, I could make a man feel like absolute warmed-over garbage in AP Lit, if I was feeling in particular need of sharpening my claws on something male. But this! This is varsity-level Frightening White Men; I was barely on the frosh/soph roster.
What makes things even more delightful is that this is perhaps the mildest joke in the world. Here is the picture that flung a hundred lax bros back on their mortified, teeny-tiny little butts (via The Root):
That’s adorable. That’s the mildest, most charming joke I can think of making at someone else’s expense, and I once found a three-page note in my locker sophomore year from my best friend Nicole’s boyfriend Jeff explaining how I’d made him cry the day before.
Here are the type of jokes that girls and students of color were presumably expected to shrug off during that same school year:
Those students said that they had been called things like “Negro amigo” or “n–ger.” They said white male students had called black students on opposing basketball teams “Trayvon,” apparently after the unarmed black, 17-year-old who was killed in Florida in February 2012, among other controversies.
This is, I believe, the closest we will ever get to a scientific study establishing that straight white men are born without a sense of humor; mocking the unjustly murdered is one thing, but putting on a Yale sweater and smirking is a bridge too far.
Why can’t white boys just take a joke? Lighten up, sweethearts. It’s all in good fun.
“Yes, I am making a mockery of the right-wing, Confederate-flag hanging, openly misogynistic Lawrentians,” Peterson replied. “If that’s a large portion of the school’s male population, then I think the issue is not with my bringing attention to it in a lighthearted way, but rather why no one has brought attention to it before…”
This is the best and the most wonderful girl in the world. She is a Valkyrie trapped in mortal form, and if she wants to have my job after she graduates college, I would like to make her a formal offer right now.
Tensions also rose when Peterson and 10 of her black friends posed for her senior photo proudly holding up the “black power” salute. The backlash from that photo is what, apparently, prompted Peterson to do the “Lawrenceville boi” photo.
“I understand why I hurt people’s feelings, but I didn’t become president to make sure rich white guys had more representation on campus,” she said. “Let’s be honest. They’re not the ones that feel uncomfortable here.”
Excellent; now that you understand how and why you hurt men’s feelings, you should be able to do it even more expediently the next time.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.