I remember hearing the quote for the first time when watching The Princess Diaries. Which I saw in the theaters. No shame, love you forever Julie Andrews.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Said to a crying Mia, Anne Hathaway’s character, by a pretty rad dude who works for Julie Andrews’ queen character. His name was Joe. The scene has a kind of “yeah they’re gonna tease you, but you’re awesome! Like Eleanor Roosevelt! And awesome people don’t let crappy people get to them. So be awesome! And stop crying and go to high school!”
My initial reaction to that was “yeah! Mia’s awesome! Go fight win! Can Julie Andrews come back on screen now?” Loved the hell out of that quote.
That is a terrible, terrible quote. And so are all the ones that are variations on “don’t let the haters stop you from doing your thing.” (Love you Kevin G.)
This is the first but definitely not the last time I will need to say this: the world needs to stop placing the burden of feeling terrible on the victim. If someone is awful to you and you feel sad about it, that is appropriate and fine and maybe even good.
I respect the hell out of people, like Ellen Degeneres, who use the expression “my haters are my motivators.” Some people do legitimately take inaccurate, cruel, terrible things and basically turn that into energy to fight back and keep being awesome. Seriously, if this describes you, keep killing it and also teach me your ways like immediately. I am absolutely not telling you to get sad if you’re not. I’m just saying it’s totally okay to be sad if you in fact are sad, and it’s not your fault if mean things don’t “inspire” you.
When the world encourages that attitude, the “exude positivity regardless of how awful everything can be” is that the world is working at the wrong end of the problem. That if you’re teased, it’s YOUR responsibility to “not let it get to you.” To productively channel that sadness and then come out the other side better and different and perfect.
It’s the same concept that some girls and boys experience if they don’t wear the right clothes. They get teased for not wearing cool things and looking stupid. They go tell their parents they will get destroyed if they continue to wear their current clothes. Their parents “fix” it by buying the right clothes, and the teasing stops. Yay? Nope, not at all. The bullies might not be actively bullying, but they’re still being terrible. They didn’t get any nicer, you’re just now wearing the “right” clothes around the same mean people.
In time, those people will find something else to be cruel about.
I’ve seen this in basically all arenas, from abusive bosses to bullying, this concept that we should just ignore it and stay awesome and sticks and stones and you gotta keep ya head up and so on. The arena in which it seems to show up most is that of weight loss. I watch the hell out of some weight loss reality shows, including The Biggest Loser, Extreme Weightloss, and MTV’s I Used to Be Fat. Literally every single one of them has asked their contestants or stars about teasing they received, and use it to “motivate” them during their workouts. They did this to basically say “push yourself so that these people have no basis in calling you ‘fat cow’ anymore because you’ll be skinny!”
Why on EARTH are they not saying “yo, it’s super cool if you want to get healthy, and if a side effect of that is that you lose weight, cool beans. But those people, the ones who called you names? Assholes, every one, and you can totally cry about it. Wanna go find them and punch them? No, not in your ‘After’ shot, right now. When you’re still fat. Because they are not nice people and they have no right to tell you those things regardless of what you look like.” Probably because the One Republic song they play during the montage doesn’t fit that sound bite, or something. I don’t know.
Don’t tell people they need to stay positive when the world is being awful. All that tells them is that they’re failing on two fronts: whatever they’re being teased about, and ~*sTaYiNg pOsiTiVe*~
Nope. G’head and cry when people are awful. World? Tell people to not make people cry. Much better.