I saw a post on Facebook the other day. It stated:

“Girls are like apples on trees. The best ones are at the top of the tree. The boys don’t want to reach the good ones because they are afraid of falling and getting hurt. Instead, they just get the rotten apples from the ground that aren’t as good, but are easier to reach. So the apples at the top think something is wrong with them when in reality, they are amazing. They just have to wait for the right boy to come along, the one who’s brave enough to climb all the way to the top of the tree.”

I wouldn’t bring this up except that I’ve been seeing this post everywhere for about a year now, and have never really paid much attention to it until now. At first, I found the post corny, but sweet in a you-go-girl sort of way. But now that I read it over again, I’ve noticed some strange things about its message/

“The best ones at the top of the tree” is misleading.

This implies that high maintenance girls, or girls who lead boys on or play hard-to-get, are somehow the “best” girls. It also implies that girls who do not perform these behaviors are somehow inferior, slutty, or “rotten,” as the post says, which is very demeaning to the outgoing and gregarious women of the world.

“So the apples at the top think something is wrong with them, when in reality, they are amazing” can be taken the wrong way.

A girl who is constantly ignored by boys could think something is wrong with her, yes, and she very well could be an amazing person. That much is true. But I ask you to reread point #1. This sentence could also mean that being “at the top of the tree” (and performing the same behaviors I mentioned) somehow makes you “amazing.” It does not: it makes you a tease.

“They just have to wait for… — …the one who’s brave enough to climb all the way to the top of the tree” is by far the most troubling statement of the bunch.

On the surface, this reads like a sweet ending to an encouraging message, but read deeper. Notice that these girls, or “apples,” are not encouraged to go out and find these “brave” boys. Instead, they are instructed to “wait for the right boy to come along, the one who’s brave enough to climb all the way to the top of the tree.” These girls are openly being told not to put any effort into their relationships and romances. They are being told that they should be content to sit around and wait for a boy willing or desperate enough to work through whatever barriers these girls put up (described in point #1) in order to reach them.

This is equally misleading to boys as well. Taken at face value, this last sentence tells boys that if they are romancing a girl and getting nowhere, that means she is an “amazing apple” and they simply aren’t trying hard enough. More likely than not, this particular girl is simply not interested and the poor boy is wasting his time. But now he feels like if he doesn’t keep trying, he is not “brave.”

And so, in light of this, allow me to offer a rebuttal: these boys—these “brave” white knights of tall courage and taller ladder—do not really exist. The “apple metaphor” puts high-maintenance, low-quality, and emotionally unstable women on a pedestal and holds any men who show interest in them to an inappropriately high standard. This is what the society wants to hold up as the ideal. The only males who can even hope to measure up, of course, are white knights, betas, and other clingers-on who have both the time and desperation to slavishly devote inordinate amounts of attention to these high-minded females, and will most likely be friend-zoned anyway for the first mopey bad boy that comes their way.

So yes, maybe we are now afraid of falling, because we have needlessly injured ourselves going for the high apples. Maybe we don’t always pay a lot of attention to the “good ones” at the top of the tree to wisely go after more low-maintenance girls, the fallen fruit, your so-called “rotten apples,” because they meet us halfway. If the “amazing apples” of the world put effort into making themselves a little more accessible, I imagine men might start passing up the “rotten apples” in favor of their purportedly riper fruit. And who knows—I may even invest in a ladder myself.

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