Boys will be boys. It’s a phrase that’s often used to excuse bad behaviour, or to write off men and boys as being inherently wild and unruly. But what does it really mean?
For some people, it simply means that boys and men are wired differently than girls and women. They’re more physical, more impulsive, and more likely to take risks. This doesn’t make their behaviour right or wrong, it just makes them different.
For others, the phrase is seen as a way of excusing bad behaviour. If a boy gets into a fight at school, or if a man hits his partner, it’s sometimes said that they can’t help it because “boys will be boys”. This is not only victims of this behaviour, but also society as a whole.
The phrase can also be used to make light of sexist or harassing behaviour. If a boy pulls a girl’s hair or calls her a mean name, it might be brushed off with a “boys will be boys” comment. This trivializes the hurt caused by such behaviour and makes it seem like it’s not a big deal.
“Boys will be boys,” a common phrase that distributes blame away from male perpetrators of aggressive attitudes and actions, supports a pernicious rhetoric that a young male going through puberty will engage in acts of aggression, have a detached and uninterested attitude, and develop views of intense homophobia and sexism as part of an established biological norm at this phase of adolescence during which the proportion of time spent in this age group rises.
It is essential to unpack the implications of this phrase in order to better understand how it functions to excuse and even normalize male violence.
The first part of the definition emphasizes a typical and essentialist understanding of what it means to be a boy or a man, one that is based on outdated ideas about gender. This way of thinking about boys and men suggests that there is a fixed set of characteristics that all members of these groups must display in order to be considered “normal.”
These characteristics include aggression, lack of emotion, homophobia, and sexism. This not only puts pressure on boys and men to conform to these narrow ideas about gender, but also reinforces the idea that boys and men who do not display these characteristics are somehow not “real” boys or men.
The second part of the definition suggests that these characteristics are not only typical of boys and men, but also that they are unavoidable. This is not only untrue, but it is also dangerous. It suggests that there is nothing that can be done to prevent boys and men from being aggressive, detached, or homophobic. It also suggests that any violence or aggression committed by boys and men is not their responsibility; it is just something that happens as a result of their biology.
This phrase needs to be retired because it is harmful and inaccurate. Boys and men are capable of so much more than what this phrase suggests. They are capable of empathy and compassion. They are capable of being kind and caring. They are capable of being respectful and inclusive. It is time for us to redefine what it means to be a boy or a man, and to create a new normal that includes all boys and men, regardless of how they identify.
Chapter 4 looked at gender differences and the harm caused by the phrase “boys will be boys,” in the American school system. From the truth about why girls appear to do better in a structured classroom than boys, to the consequences of bullying and how until recently, either a blind eye was turned or, in many cases, it was practically encouraged for the (supposed) greater good and cohesion of the team or group.
Now, while much has changed for the better in recent years concerning how we deal with gender issues and specifically how we handle young boys in school, there is still a lot of work to be done. In this chapter, we will take a look at some of the ways that boys are socialized to be “men” and how this can sometimes lead to harmful behavior. We will also discuss what parents and educators can do to help boys grow into healthy, well-adjusted adults.
First, let’s start with a definition. When we talk about masculinity, we are referring to the socially constructed ideas and beliefs about what it means to be a “man”. These ideas are different from culture to culture and can change over time. In the past, masculinity was often defined by physical strength and aggression. Today, we are starting to see a more complex definition that includes things like emotional intelligence and empathy.
One of the biggest problems with traditional ideas about masculinity is that they often encourage boys to suppress their emotions. They are told that “real men” don’t cry or show weakness. As a result, many boys grow up feeling like they have to bottle up their feelings, which can lead to problems later in life.
In order to help boys feel comfortable expressing their emotions, it is important to create a safe and accepting environment at home and at school. This means letting them know that it is okay to show their feelings and that you will love and support them no matter what. It also means teaching them how to express their emotions in a healthy way.
One of the best ways to do this is to model healthy emotional expression yourself. If you are comfortable talking about your own emotions, they will be more likely to feel comfortable doing the same. You can also encourage them to express themselves through creative outlets like art or writing.
It is also important to teach boys about consent and respect for others. They should know that it is never okay to force someone to do something they don’t want to do, no matter what. This includes things like physical violence, sexual assault, and emotional manipulation.
I’m curious to learn more about the differences in behavior that exist between the genders, particularly when it comes to studying. Because unlike boys who frequently exude a measure of overconfidence and swagger, females are less confident in their abilities and are more ‘self-selecting’ for the harder courses.
It’s no secret that boys and girls are different. We’re raised in different ways, we have different interests, and we even learn differently. But one of the most interesting differences between the sexes is in how they approach learning.
Boys tend to be more confident and outgoing than girls. They’re often more likely to take risks and to speak up in class. Girls, on the other hand, are usually more reserved and less likely to take risks. They’re also more likely to second-guess themselves and to doubt their abilities.
This difference in confidence level can make a big difference in how well boys and girls do in school. Boys who are overconfident may not study as much as they should and may not do as well on tests. Girls who are less confident may not take challenging classes or may not speak up in class even when they know the answer.
So why is this difference in confidence level between boys and girls so important? Because it can have a big impact on what kinds of careers they eventually choose. Boys who are confident and outgoing are more likely to go into fields like business or politics, while girls who are more reserved and less confident are more likely to go into fields like teaching or social work.
This difference in confidence level can also be seen in the way boys and girls approach learning. Boys often want to learn things that are concrete and that have one right answer, like math and science. Girls often prefer subjects that are more open-ended and that require interpretation and communication, like English and history.