He’s teasing you? That means he likes you. He pulled your hair because he’s trying to get your attention and doesn’t know how to? Don’t be mad — “boys will be boys.”
Sound familiar? I’m sure it does, because at one point or another we have all heard these statements, been told them or even used them. From the time we are old enough to play tag on the playground we are told, “boys will be boys” to excuse their actions. Why are we raising our girls to believe this?
People please wake up and realize that this is just not okay. We are creating a society that from the first moments has engrained in the minds of our women to excuse boys and eventually even men for their actions. After all “boys will be boys” won’t they?
Fast forward to middle school and high school. Friends will comfort each other saying things such as “he just doesn’t know what he wants yet,” or “he didn’t mean what he said,” etc. Girls spend hours trying to figure out why he said that or why he did that.
However, since the girls were little they were told if the boy teases you or messes with you, it’s because he likes you. We use the excuse of “boys will be boys,” and we tell our girls that this is just the case. So, why are we surprised there is such rampant sexism, abuse and rape in our society?
Imagine a girl staying in a physically and/or emotionally abusive relationship, and people are shocked that they stay. They have been told their whole life that “boys will be boys” or “that’s just how boys act sometimes.” It usually doesn’t require a huge step from this mindset to begin finding people who are justifying abuse or even rape.
There are men who believe rape is perfectly all right. This shouldn’t be a huge shock as we have recently seen in the news with the pro-rape groups. These men had a built in excuse for so many years that they have perverted their views even further. Yet, the foundation and justification has been there from the beginning… “boys will be boys.”
Women and men may feel threatened in their place of work or in a class at school because of the way men look at them, talk to them or even approach them. Supervisors brush words off not being too concerned unless physical actions are taken. After all we have an answer for that too: “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”
We need to end this mindset and stop having built-in societal excuses for these actions. We need to teach our children from the very beginning to respect all people. We need to instill in our children that women and men are equal and neither will have a “get out of jail free” phrase. Change starts from the very beginning and, after all, the children are our future. If we cannot agree upon changing this and ending the phrase “boys will be boys” then we have not come as far as we like to claim.
I’m saying we put a stop to this sooner rather than later. From the time they can drink out of a juice box, there is no reason why we should be giving our boys a “get out of jail free card” that lasts their whole life. Do something. Step up, speak out and teach this next generation the right way to treat one another.