Opinion: No one is obligated to say yes to grand gestures


Photo credit/ Sabrina Resuta

Assistant Opinion Editor Rachel Zarubski believes that people don’t have to say “yes” to grand gestures.

A story about a 14-year-old girl rejecting her classmate after he made a sign asking her to be his valentine made the news recently. The boy in question was autistic and also 14 years old. It was noted that the girl politely rejected him, though the boy’s mother tweeted about this event, emphasizing that she is not angry with the girl, but heartbroken for her son.

The boy’s class rallied around him and wrote to him things such as “you can do better than her” and “she should’ve said yes.” While it is clear that these students meant well, this is a toxic mindset. Girls are not obligated to say yes to a guy who asks them out, grand gestures or not. It’s great to rally around someone and offer support when they are rejected. But, trashing the girl who turned him down was not an appropriate response. Alternative options are talking to them about it, going somewhere to hang out with them or even something as simple as checking up on them offers support.

Some news outlets defended the girl saying she had no obligation to say yes, while other outlets criticized her. She is 14 years old and was gently rejecting him. Her rejection could have been so much worse because teenagers can be cruel at times.

On one hand, it is nice to see all of the boy’s classmates rally around him, but in this instance, it is wrong to do that. The students unintentionally promoted the harmful narrative that girls have to say yes to any guy who asks them out.

The girl’s feelings are also ignored, and because this story is widely spreading to other news platforms, she could potentially be afraid to reject anyone else. Being afraid to reject someone could be extremely dangerous. If a woman says no to a man’s date proposal, she could become a victim of a murder or find herself in another threatening situation. Luckily it was harmless in this case.

He also should not have done a grand gesture for her unless he knew she would like it. In theory, performing a grand gesture such as making a cute sign asking a girl out in front of everyone sounds nice, but the reality is it puts the girl in an uncomfortable position. His social awkwardness led him to create a grand gesture. He was likely influenced by romantic comedies because whenever the guy performs a grand gesture for the girl the girl falls in love with him. However, romantic comedies are not real life.

The poor girl is being villainized for turning this boy down, despite being kind about it. If she were to say yes, just to be nice, then it would have been difficult for her to break it off with him later.

It also would not be fair to him if she said yes because she was pressured into doing so. When faced with a gesture like this, the girl has two options: either risk getting villainized or say yes out of pressure. Those are both terrible choices that the girl should not have been caught between.

The boy is not the victim in this case, though it was an unfortunate situation. While I do feel sympathy for him, I also feel sympathy for the girl. It is unfortunate for the boy that he got turned down but that is a part of life. The girl was nice about turning him down and is being treated unfairly for saying no.

Ultimately, rejections are a part of life. People can be rejected for numerous reasons but should not let that stop them. One day, most people will find someone perfect for them, who will love them for who they are and vice versa.

No matter someone’s abilities, they are not entitled to a yes. The boy is still a young 14-year-old and just because this girl did not work out for him does not mean he is hopeless at finding another. The girl is unfortunately in a tough situation that will hopefully not come back to haunt her.

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