Whistling on the street, cat calling, not taking no for an answer. Boys will be boys right? Nope.
We have all heard this saying time and time again. “They’re being boys! Don’t get mad! They mean no harm by it, they can’t help it. Stop taking it so hard!” etc, etc. I cannot even count how many times I have heard this speech (or the number of times I rolled my eyes while hearing it).
Few of us take the time to think about what this simple, common phrase really means. Boys will be boys? This phrase is used to excuse certain male behavior and implies that boys have inherent behaviors by virtue of being boys. It seems guys are given a free ride to act in a manner that would otherwise be less than acceptable. I think that these few words, although subtle, shows just how society condones the way men treat others, especially women, in whichever way they please. All people deserve respect and all people should treat others with respect. Pretty basic, right? I do not think anyone should be an exception to this rule.
So, boys get a get out of jail free card simply for being boys? I don’t think so. Boys do not get to act in whatever inappropriate or harassing manner as they please with no repercussions.
Boys will be responsible for their actions just like everyone else. Boys will respect one another and all human beings. Boys will not simply be boys.
This small phrase simply demonstrates the overarching patriarchal structure of our society, where men get to call the shots. Maybe we should all stop excusing men with this seemingly insignificant phrase and make people take more responsibility for their actions towards others.
Now, now, I can already hear the opposing chants, “but girls will be girls too!” This phrase is very rarely used, and if so, is used to indicate stereotypical “girl” behavior such as gossiping, sharing secrets. However, it does not excuse any behavior, especially when girls are mostly stigmatized for such behavior anyway. “Boys will be boys” has a stronger influence and is a much more powerful phrase for condoning inappropriate male behavior.
And anyways guys, wouldn’t you say “boys will be boys” is a little on the offensive side? You cannot control your behaviors toward others because you’re boys? C’mon guys, I don’t think you want that rep, do you? I think you deserve better than that.