A little boy pulls a girl’s hair, and the girl is told, “if a boy likes you he will tease you”. A boy snaps a girl’s bra in junior high, she’s told to stop being so sensitive. The high school boys take off their shirts in gym while running because it’s so hot, the girls are told their shorts are too short and they’re “distracting the boys”.
Boys will be boys.
As a society, we routinely excuse the behavior of boys while overwhelmingly placing the blame on women. We need to dress modestly because boys could get distracted. We can’t flirt because a man could say we were “leading them on”. We need to go everywhere in groups and walk to our car with our keys between our fingers. We need to stay sober because a man could take advantage of us.
Boys will be boys.
This attitude starts early with boys’ behavior consistently being excused as “being boys”, but here’s the thing. Boys being boys doesn’t mean being rough, naughty, and disrespectful. So boys will not “be boys” in that manner if that isn’t what’s expected of them.
Boys Will Not Be Boys If They’re Taught
Boys Will Be Boys Implies Boys are Bad
Boys will be boys is never really used to describe positive behavior. My boys are sensitive, kind, funny, and gentle. No one sees Mr. C helping take care of his baby sister and says, “boys will be boys”.
Boys aren’t naturally bad. Boys aren’t naturally bullies. Boys aren’t naturally rapists.
Boys will be boys implies that the natural state of boys is violent and scary, and that’s just not true. Parents can teach their boys about body autonomy and consent. Parents can teach their boys to respect women.
Boys are not lost causes. Do not give up on your boys, Mama. Do not believe the world that tells you that your boys will be rude and disrespectful, and don’t excuse their behavior. Teach them when they’re little, and hopefully they’ll remember when they’re big.
Boys Will Be Boys Is Dangerous for Women
I’m sure you’ve seen the news reports of the recent events regarding a college athlete. The controversy around this case has been insane.
If you haven’t seen, the basics are that a woman was raped by a college athlete. There are witnesses, there is tons of evidence. He was sentenced to six months, which may turn into three months with good behavior. It turns out, the judge was also a college athlete.
Boys will be boys justifies rape and discounts victims.
Boys will be boys causes women to be on alert 100% of the time.
Boys buy condoms when going to college, while women buy rape whistles. This is the society that we’ve created by letting boys will be boys to continue.
Boys Will Be Boys is Insulting to Boys
Like I mentioned before, this phrase implies that men are animals who can’t control their instincts, and that’s really insulting.
To assume that a man can’t see a woman in a skirt without attacking her? That he can’t see a drunk girl and help her instead of taking advantage of her? That he can’t hear a girl in his class say “don’t touch me” and respect her no?
That’s not a world I want my boys involved in.
My boys will play. They will (and do, often) get dirty. My boys will wrestle. My boys will run. They will obsess over cars. They will become teenagers with raging hormones.
My boys will not degrade women and get away with it. My boys will not touch anyone without their consent without consequence. My boys will not snap bras, un-tie bikinis, or pants their classmates and be excused for simply displaying “boy” behavior.
I teach my boys to be respectful of all people. I teach my boys to respect consent. I teach my boys to learn, to help, to advocate, and to stand up for what’s right.
Apparently, to society, that means that my boys will not be boys.
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