Boys will be boys

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 Let's change these very blatant stories we tell our children

about how "boys will be boys"

and so girls will not be girls.

 

It starts with a comment to a neighbor about how your son is noisy and disrespectful in class;

she shrugs and says "boys will be boys."

It starts with the school principal whose dress code bans girls from wearing spaghetti straps and shorts

because, as he says "boys will be boys."

 

As if that is some widely-accepted scientific fact

As if it is a force of nature like gravity or the orbit of the earth around the sun.

 

From the day they're born we raise our sons

to think that being a boy gives them a pass to be everything from disrespectful

and loud

and rowdy

and violent.

That they won't be held accountable for their actions because

"Boys will be boys."

 

And in the same breath we raise our daughters

under the philosophy that it is their fault if a boy does what we've taught him he has a free pass to do,

from spaghetti-strap snipping,

to bra-strap snapping,

to groping,

to rape.

That they are responsible for whatever awful things happen to them at the hands of men because

"Boys will be boys."

 

It ends with us telling our daughters that if a man pushes himself on her, it must be her fault;

she was showing too much skin, leading him on, he couldn't control himself.

It ends with a small town in Ohio, with a high school girl who is drugged, raped, and photographed

by a group of football players who brag about it on camera, like it's a joke,

while CNN bemoans their fallen sports careers while ignoring the life that they ruined.

 

We must begin telling our sons stories in which men are not wild animals

that men are not incapable of controlling their libidos around a woman who happens to be

wearing short shorts or showing a bit of cleavage.

It is as unfair to our sons as it is to our daughters to put the burden of rape prevention on girls,

instead of teaching boys that she is not "asking for it" with a skirt, a smile, or a string bikini.

 

We must teach them

that boys will not be boys.

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