The Toxic Culture Of Boys Will Be Boys – Aren’t We Parents Responsible?

Posted: February 15, 2016

We all make mistakes growing up, but usually, a girl is held more accountable for her mistakes than a boy is. Why? Because boys will be boys? What rot!

For a very long time, I have either heard this statement or I have read it. Instances where a boy will kick over a sandcastle and everyone present will laugh and say, “oh, boys will be boys”. While destroying a sandcastle is the kind of behaviour we expect from a child, using the phrase ‘boys will be boys’ can become problematic in the long run.

Parents and other significant adults are the ones who are responsible for such statements. ‘Boys will be boys’ or ‘a man is a man’ is a statement that I feel should be avoided, and here’s why.

We all make mistakes growing up, but usually, a girl is held more accountable for her mistakes than a boy is. Why? Because ‘boys are boys’, they do such things, it’s in their nature? Come on now! We have for so long put boys on a pedestal where they get away with whatever it is they do. We ingrain this in them, that they can do no wrong, just on account of being boys. Which then becomes their way of thinking.

They might be doing something terrible, but it doesn’t occur to them that it might be terrible. They simply think it is fun and games. Normal.

Men have been catcalling women along the streets for as long as I can remember; they have been ogling at them, making kissing noises, doing anything inappropriate, yet they don’t see a problem with it.

Why? Because ‘boys will be boys’, and ‘men are men’ so what more do you expect from them? It is almost as though they think catcalling and inappropriate behaviour is just a natural part of their personalities.

This way of thinking has to stop. Let our next generation of boys not get away with their mistakes because they are boys. Let them be held accountable. Let them learn from their mistakes.

By shrugging things off with such statements, we are adding to the culture of misogyny. We are blurring reality so it suits men, we are creating this privilege that comes with being a man – almost like a get out of jail free card for doing whatever they want to.

Let me clarify. In this present day and age, I do hold men accountable for the mistakes they make, and I try my hardest to call out any injustice, or anything I find irksome. I can go on and on explaining to a boy why he is in the wrong, and sometimes, I get through with success. Other times, their ignorance is beyond my comprehension, so I stay put, albeit with my mind exploding and my stomach churning.

Regardless of what a boy is made to believe, if he has done something wrong, he should be held accountable. And he should be made to understand what he has done wrong. Because, alas, we live in a society where a boy grows into a man who cannot comprehend why catcalling is offensive to women.

Published earlier here.

Image source: college boys by Shutterstock.

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