You may have hear the term before “Boys Will be Boys“. When someone says this, what does this mean to you?
It’s a term used to express the view that mischievous or childish behavior is typical of boys or young men and should not cause surprise when it occurs.
Today we are going to talk about why that phrase is total BS.
There are numerous areas where the term Boys Will Be Boys could be applied: 2 young boys wrestling aggressively, a boy with an extremely messy room and lack of hygeine, or a teenage boy playing pranks on unsuspecting strangers. It’s often about recklessness and rowdiness.
When people say it, they are attempting to justify the reason why boys or young men act in these ways.
But for today, I want to focus on the specific topic of male behavior towards women. There is a lot of attention on this topic right now: lawsuits, people going to jail, political wars, and more.
It is crucial as a man and as a father, to teach your son how to treat other people in a positive way. [Lean in] If you don’t have this one down yourself, you need to do some work.
Let’s look at a couple of scenarios:
You are driving in the car with your 10 year old son and you are at a stop light. 3 young women walk across the street and you see your son staring with interest at them. You then make a comment about how they look.
While you may think you didn’t say anything inappropriate, you just taught your son that it is ok to judge a girl’s appearance. If you want to think it, that’s up to you, but don’t say it.
Here’s another scenario: Your teenage son is hanging out upstairs in his room on a weekend night. You go into his room and say “why are you hanging out here. Why don’t you go out and get yourself some.”
This totally objectifies women as if they are something to conquer for yourself. Teenage boys have raging hormones but maybe a talk about how to strike up a conversation with someone would be more valuable.
What your hearing in these examples is that we can say things to our sons without really thinking of the impact it can have on their perception and ultimately the treatment, of women.
You are also going to experience situations in which your son will say or do something that is not ok. It’s important you point out that what they say or did is not ok and discuss how they could have handled it better. You letting it go is saying that it is acceptable.
Even when they are young and before any sex talk, you should be having ongoing dialogue about appropriate behavior, communicating properly with others, and even sexual harassment.
Of course there are going to be large variances in what people feel is appropriate. But if we start our sons off right from a young age, we can drastically reduce the negative impact we are seeing in society from these situations.