Boys will be boys

Sydney Kaehler, Opinions Editor

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The popular excuse for boys’ actions—“boys will be boys”—should not be tolerated and not be given a free pass simply because of gender.

It’s a phrase that people usually don’t lose sleep over. It’s become just one of those things people say, and that’s why it is so tolerated in today’s society. The phrase “boys will be boys” is something that, without intending to, gives boys (and men) a free pass to act out.

People think of this phrase when, let’s say, two 5-year-old boys are flinging mud at each other, but once what was just a “little saying” has actually proven to have extreme consequences, including the dismissal of bullying and hazing of other boys.

According to Oxford Dictionary, the phrase boys will be boys is defined as “a phrase used to express the view that ill-behaved or irresponsible behavior is typical of boys or young men and should not cause surprise when it occurs.” It dismisses unacceptable behavior, and that is not okay.

Think about this perspective. What if the saying “girls will be girls” was something that people said. Girls can get away with their actions, and it’s excused because of their gender? Not fair, right? Either way, it doesn’t work. It’s a double standard, and no one should have certain expectations solely based on their gender.

Yes, boys may act rowdy as they grow up, but this phrase is in no way a viable excuse for harmful behavior in any context. They aren’t born as these brutes who live to cause harm and make mischief—they’re allowed to cry. They are victims of bullying, and sometimes their accusations are dismissed by “boys playful banter” or “locker room talk.” Although this phrase can reduce the effect of boys bullying other boys, the major problem of it is that it gives an excuse for sexual assault and harassment to other women. Men cannot be given a free pass for being rough or disrespectful towards a woman just because it is their “nature.” Are girls supposed to just brush off a catcall or a sexual advance just because “that’s what boys do?” Boys will not be boys. Boys will be held accountable for their actions, just like girls are.

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