I was five years old when I first heard the phrase “boys will be boys”. I had been playing in the field near my school’s playground when a boy in my class ran up to me and pulled on one of the pigtails in my hair. When I ran over to the recess monitor and through tears told her what happened, I was told that “boys will be boys”. As a five year old I accepted this excuse and moved on with my recess time, but as I got older I came to the realization that ‘boys will be boys’ isn’t an excuse, in fact it’s a toxic mentality.
From a young age girl are expected to act prim and proper while their male counterparts are often permitted to be a bit more rambunctious. One of the problems with the ‘boys will be boys’ mentality starts right there. If a young girl were to push another kid on the playground there’s a good chance she’d be sat down and told to act civil and ‘ladylike’. Now, what if a young boy pushed the same kid on the same playground? He very well could be disciplined, but he might get away with it simply because of the ‘boys will be boys’ mentality.
The effects of this mentality can last long beyond childhood. When kids are allowed to get a free pass from their wrongdoings, it instills an idea that they can evade punishment as adults. Some of the boys who will go through their adolescents pushing around other kids without disciple – because ‘boys will be boys’ – will grow into men with no respect for boundaries. This can potentially lead to serious problems, such as domestic violence.
The truth is that boys have to be held accountable for their actions just as much as girls. Children must learn from a young age that violence is never excused on the basis of gender, class, race, etc. By letting go of toxic phrases, such as ‘boys will be boys’, it’s possible to prevent problems, like domestic violence and rape, ultimately resulting in a positive future for everyone.