Boys will be boys; because boys are daft as fuck and long may that continue.

Posted: March 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

I’m 28 years old, I’m 29 this year, yet I still refer to people as boys and girls, rather than men and women. Is that strange? I also use the word lad, dude, mate, guy, duck and any number of other local dialectical pleasantries. I refer to a night out with my friends as a ‘night out with the boys’, or a gig with my band as ‘a gig with the boys’. When I talk to students in my group, I often call them boys, lads or guys. Why? I have absolutely no idea, they are simply words I’ve grown up using.

When it comes to girls, I have a comparable number of jovial pleasantries with which to address them. There are even certain words that have versions for both genders: lad and lass, dude and dudette, duck and ducky, etc etc.

The funny thing is, the word ‘boy’ seems to defy age, I mean, technically, the word ‘boy’ refers to a child, but then I use it in contexts that refer quite clearly to grown men. In the same way, ‘a night out with the girls’ or ‘a girlie night in’ seems to defy age boundaries for women who get together.

Yet, there’s a phrase that is applied to men, or more particularly males, that seems to have no female equivalent: boys will be boys. I’ve heard it a lot in my nearly-29-years of life. I’ve heard it used in reference to me, several times in fact, throughout my life.

So what does it mean? Generally, I find it’s a way to explain away the absolutely indescribable stupidity of the male species. I don’t mean that in a nasty way or a demeaning way or in any way that would imply all men are stupid. I simply mean that, for some reason that even I, as a boy, cannot explain, we men like to do daft shit. And this isn’t just harmless stuff, men tend to do shit that is actually painful, for no other reason than ‘why not?’ When I was younger, I used to love wrestling, especially The Undertaker and Kane. They’re finishing move was called the Tombstone Piledriver, which consisted of falling to their knees, driving an opponent’s head into the canvas.

I used to love that move, so much so that I would instinctively drop to my knees, even without an unlucky victim to tombstone. It hurt like shit, especially on harder floors, but I still did it. Why? I have absolutely no idea, because I was a moron most likely.

See, there are moronic and idiotic behaviours and then there are moronic and idiotic people. I didn’t realise, until recently, that the words ‘moron’ and ‘idiot’ were actually used to classify mental retardation. I can’t remember which was worse, but if you had a low IQ you were classed as an idiot, a moron or something else that escapes me. See, you can do something moronic without being a moron.

I’m not an unintelligent man, I have 2 degrees and am a good teacher, yet I still do moronic stuff. Why? Because I’m a boy and boys do moronic stuff. It’s stuff that even we don’t understand and can’t explain, so how on earth anyone else is supposed to try I don’t know. We jump around in mud, we hurt ourselves on purpose, we build stuff with the sole purpose of destroying it afterwards (hello Lego!), we get hero action figures and use them to beat the shit out of villain action figures(hello Thundercats), we play games like ‘Ro Sham Bo’ (thanks South Park for allowing us to name it) where we try and inflict pain on each other by throwing stuff, usually a football, at each other’s privates, we find immature stuff funny, we laugh at our own jokes, we go out of our way to humiliate our friends, we make jokes about stuff that you shouldn’t joke about, we take tender, loving moments and make them awkward, etc. Why? Fucked if I know.

I’m not saying the above list is full of behaviours that women don’t exhibit, or that girls aren’t allowed to join in with boys that do behave in that way, it’s simply a way of explaining what ‘boys will be boys’ means. Having been a boy and now being a man, I can tell you that you never really lose that boyish spirit. Yes, maturity and responsibility comes and we get jobs, we get houses and cars and, some of us, get families to look after. But, through all that, we find humour in unfunny things, we do stuff that annoys people without even realising it. We do daft shit that even we struggle to explain. Why? Because we’re boys and, after all, boys will be boys!

But, recently I’ve seen something of a backlash against the phrase ‘boys will be boys’. There seems to be a movement of sorts that wants to ban its use, wants to stop it being used to describe the inane and stupid things the male of the species gets up to. I’ve seen something of a demonization of the phrase, a way to take the innocence away from what is essentially an exasperated cry at the frustrations of boyhood and instead apply a rather sinister, darkened meaning to it.

Some people are now saying that ‘boys will be boys’ is a way to normalise male violence against women, it teaches men from a young age that violence is an accepted and inevitable part of growing up, it tells men that being dominant is the norm and the best way to sustain dominance is to do so through outwardly aggressive behaviours.

I thought it was just the odd person, but it seems to be a rapidly growing sentiment – boys will be boys is a way of excusing violent behaviour and, apparently, teaches boys to be violent towards girls even when they are young.

I often think crazes like this, things that deal with banning words and trying to tell us what we are and aren’t allowed to say, disappear. Then I saw this article, it’s from Australia but it’s the bottom half of the article where my criticisms really lie:

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/boys-will-be-boys-does-violence-against-women-start-in-childhood/story-fnet08ui-1227237623130

The thing that immediately raises my suspicion is the opening anecdote. Sounds pretty terrible, right? A young girl simply wants to build something but the big, nasty bully of a boy tears it down, not once but twice. The, apparently, uncaring mother seems to nonchalantly brush off this display of destruction with a simple ‘boys will be boys’. So the demonization begins. One anecdote that, funnily enough, I’ve seen many times in numerous different formats. An apocryphal story that’s used as a basis to introduce a demonised view of male activity, how surprising.

It then mentions the latest tragic victim of domestic violence, somehow making a correlation between the two – if we let boys destroy things when they’re younger then we’re effectively allowing them to develop into murderers later in life. The theory goes that unchecked behaviour of males when they’re children leads to normalised violence when they’re adults.

I would be a lot more accepting of this kind of view if the article presented anyone who knew what they were talking about. Of the three people who contribute quotes to this piece, none of them appear to have had any dealings with boys themselves. One is a Sociology professor, the other two are government officials who clearly have an agenda. I’m not saying there’s nothing of merit in these views, I’m sure if you’re bought up in a violent family chances are that violence will become normalised but the contributors in this piece amount to nothing more than theorists and politicians whose basic understanding of this issue is ‘monkey see, monkey do.’

There’s some appreciation of this theory being a stereotype, but that’s only used as a springboard to promote bullshit ideas about needing to educate our young men.

The thing that pisses me off about studies like this is, and I know this is from Australia but it still applies, is the focus on men and men only. Yeah, I’m not saying it’s not tragic that 15 women have been killed this year already by partners, anyone who claims otherwise is a scummy cunt, but violence manifests itself in different ways.

When women are killed by their partners, it’s used as an excuse to demonise men and make domestic violence a male problem that only women suffer. But here’s something interesting, men commit suicide at 4 times the rate women do. What I’ve yet to see is a comprehensive study that links domestic violence to suicide. We know domestic violence towards men is prevalent, just as prevalent as towards women in some case. We also know that resources, helplines and shelters for men are absolutely non-existent, and if they do exist, they exist at a minute percentage compared to available resources for women. So, when men are abused, what option do they have? Certainly not the same options as women:

https://www.facebook.com/realawkc/photos/a.750223298367148.1073741829.750026295053515/858766820846128/?type=1&theater

We still live in a society that shuns male victims, we live in a society where male victims have very little political clout in their favour, we live in a world where men are routinely told domestic violence is their issue to solve. So why are we surprised that the suicide rate is 4x higher than that of women?

This is a case of people comparing apples to apples when it needs to be apples to oranges. Yes, women have killed their partners before, but it would appear not in the same numbers. However, why is it so difficult to make the connection between DV and suicide? Has it already been done? Have I missed something? If abused men have nowhere to go, and no-one to care for them, what other option do they have but to kill themselves?

So, ‘boys will be boys’ is used as a way to suggest that we excuse male violence from an early age, that it promotes and normalises male violence towards women, but once again there’s no consideration of the troubles and torments that men actually do go through in life. Instead, we see an everyday, well-known phrase co=opted to serve an agenda while minimising or ignoring the flip side of the coin.

As if to prove my point, we are treated to a list of ‘facts’ that are so full of biased language it’s nauseating. First of all, we get these facts with absolutely no supporting evidence whatsoever:

  • More than one in three women in Australia (39%) have experienced violence at the hands of a man since the age of 15
  • 32% have experienced physical violence
  • 19% have experienced sexual violence
  • One in five (22%) Australian women aged 15 to 64 have been the target of sexual harassment
  • 17% of women over 18 have been stalked by a man (ABS 2013).

 

Then, we get these statistics that come from the National Community Attitudes Towards Violence Against Women Survey:

  • The 2013 National Community Attitudes Towards Violence Against Women Survey found close to half of Australians think men rape because they can’t control their need for sex.
  • Around half believe the lie that women often make false allegations of rape or domestic violence.
  • Over three quarters say it is hard to understand why women stay.
  • More than 3 out of 5 Australians think that domestic violence is caused mainly by men being unable to manage their anger.
  • People in the 2013 survey were less likely than those in earlier surveys to recognise the reality that men are more often perpetrators, and less likely to recognise women are more likely to sustain levels of physical harm and of fear.

 

So, half of ‘Australians’ think men rape because they can’t control their need for sex, around half of ‘Australians’ believe the ‘lie’ that women make up allegations, etc, etc.

Well, I clicked the link to the 2013 survey listed and here’s what I found. There were three groups approached to collect information:

The survey comprised three components:

  • Telephone interviews with people across Australia about their attitudes towards violence against women;
  • Telephone interviews with an additional sample of people from selected culturally and linguistically diverse (SCALD) backgrounds; and
  1. Face-to-face interviews with Indigenous Australians.

That amounted to 13,001 people overall randomly sampled. Now, that’s just the sample group, not every person answered the questions (which, by the way, I can’t see listed so, for all we know, they could be utter shit). Here’s a breakdown of the estimated actual numbers:

  • 10,100 – 49.8% response rate, so in essence only about 5,050 people responded.
  • 2,501 – 33.8% response rate, so in essence about 840 people responded.
  • 400 – 37.2% response rate, so in essence about 140 people responded.

Australia had a population of roughly 23.13 million people in 2013 and roughly 6,030 people responded to this survey.

This is why you don’t believe statistics. If 6,030 responded to the survey and only half of those thought men rape because of sexual urges then that means 3,015 people out of 20 odd million think men rape due to sexual urges. They then take that number and claim it’s half of all Australians.

This is my issue with this article, it uses an apocryphal anecdote to start off the article by saying young boys are often allowed to get away with violent behaviour, which means they get used to being violent and, therefore, kill their partners. Oh, and they helpfully provide some really solid statistics to back their claims up. See why I’m beginning to get a bit annoyed at being shamed for being a boy, being shamed for having a side of my personality that, yes, is destructive but not to the point that I will kill people?

That’s not the only article that uses tedious links to try and associate the phrase with violent males:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/02/its-time-we-stop-using-the-boys-will-be-boys-line

Of course there’s the opinion-presented-as-fact opening which deals with every last goddamn female journalist on the goddam motherfucking planet whilst only linking to one of her own pieces! Actually, the tagline suggesting men are not overly violent, inherently cuntish animals is pretty good, but that’s about all that’s good about this article.

Then she links to three stories that supposedly support her claims. First, she links to a story that a police force in America mistreated women who reported rape. Of course, she treats this as fact and uses it as fodder for her ‘we say boys will be boys to excuse rape’ line of thinking. This despite the fact that, at the end of the linked article, that very same police force published a statement decrying the ‘substantial evidence’ as rubbish and nothing but derogatory slurs. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, of course they would say that but the point is that this is obviously something that is ongoing, an investigation is in place but, as of publication, hasn’t come up with a result. As such, any treating of this story as pure, unadulterated fact is a little dishonest.

Similarly, the second link is to a story about a man who complained about other men at his male-dominated workplace sexually harassing him. The implication made by Clune is that he was fired as a result of complaining about the behaviour.

First, the court report states that the supposed harassers actually stopped making the offensive comments when told they were unappreciated:

About a year into his employment, Doe reported to his immediate supervisor that the name calling was not appreciated and must stop. In 2006, Doe then complained to his co-workers about the horseplay and comments; they apologized and stopped making off-color remarks in Doe’s presence.

Which, to me, sounds like a pretty decent thing to do. The all-male workforce obviously has different ways of working, simply because men tend to bond by insulting each other. Here, they followed that stereotype until someone told them to stop. No problem. ‘Boys will be boys’ here simply means they were probably calling each other cunts and other such moronic comments.

This is where Clune’s dishonest agenda really appears. The linked report states:

Court first concluded that Doe was not subjected to an actionable hostile work environment because the EEOC could not establish that Doe was targeted based upon sex or that the comments were of a sexual nature.

It also states that:

because Doe  was discharged as a result of a RIF over three months after complaining to HR about the horseplay and foul language, there was no evidence that Doe was terminated in retaliation for engaging in protected conduct

Which shows that this line by Clune is a total lie:

The case of a US warehouse worker, identified only as John Doe, went to court with claims of sexual harassment and abuse in an all-male warehouse. When he was then dismissed, he believed this was part of a retaliation for his complaints.

He never to court, he complained first to his immediate supervisor, then directly to the men concerned and then to HR. He was dismissed along with 11 others due to financial problems the company was in.

Clune then suggests the courts ruled in favour of the company because they didn’t want to make ‘employers liable for “bad language” and “boorish” behaviour’.

Then, she comes out with this fucking winner of a line:

‘presumably because “boys will be boys”.’

First of all, what a huge assumption to make, especially considering the linked report contains absolutely no reference to the company being given a free pass for any abuse at all. Second of all, it’s an outright lie. The courts ruled in the favour of the employer because there was no proof that the sledging ‘John Doe’ got was of a sexual nature, plus when he complained the ‘abuse’ stopped. The court ruled in favour of the employer because they didn’t want to enact legislation that would drag companies over the coals for the, seemingly, few instances of offense caused to employees. You open the floodgates for any number of special snowflakes to complain over very little when you make that ruling.

When Doe complained, the abuse stopped. That’s it. It doesn’t need to go any further than that. This has got nothing to do with the courts not wanting employers to have to deal with harassment and abuse and everything to do with recognising that all-male workplaces generally have this kind of atmosphere. Doe didn’t like it and did the right thing, he approached the men directly and they stopped. I don’t know what else you want companies to do?

When you say ‘presumably’ as part of your article on ‘why we need to stop saying certain words’ you’re only showing that, not only do you have a massive misunderstanding of the report you have just fucking linked to, you have a complete inability to understand male behaviour and, more importantly, are undermining the entire premise of your article.

“Boys will be boys should be banned because of this really ambiguous story coming from America that I’m not sure is entirely relevant but I’ll stick it in anyway and then make a tenuous link to the phrase I want banning.” Real good journalism, well done!

The third story she links to is the ‘toxic’ culture in the Australian male swimming squad. Yeah, I’m not going to complain about this one, they do seem like cunts. That’s what happens sometimes, especially when you get young people who are very talented. I’m not saying all the time, but sometimes. However, I did do some research and, apparently, one of the female swimmers who felt threatened by the male’s cuntish behaviour was, herself, hospitalised during the 2012 Olympic games for excessive alcohol consumption:

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/more-sports/swimmer-jade-neilsen-reveals-how-teammates-drank-themselves-sick/story-e6frfglf-1226584279914

In that report, she claims ‘I did the wrong thing but I’m 21 and it’s not illegal.’ So, she uses her age and the fact it’s not illegal as an excuse for her behaviour, but the men in Clune’s article are not given the same opportunity to excuse themselves. Now, from what I’ve read there are conflicting reports over what the inappropriate behaviour actually was, but that’s what happens when you simply take the first thing you read as fact and overblow it. Jade Nielsen was also part of the ‘toxic’ culture of the 2012 Australian swimming team, but Clune simply doesn’t want us to know that. Why? Well, she wouldn’t be able to demonise men if she did.

Of the four examples of ‘boys will be boys’ being used as an excuse for abusive and aggressive behaviour, one of them is simply an unquantifiable opinion on her part, the second is a link to a investigation-in-progress-that-is-being-contested-by-the-police-force-in-question, the third is to a court case where she only presumes to know why the case was won by the employers, despite it stating clearly in the report she links to and the final example is a cherry picked incident where men, indeed, were being cunts and making a nuisance of themselves. However, in this story the actual specifics of the incident are unclear and she omits the fact that other swimmers, female swimmers no less, were involved in this ‘toxic’ culture.

Then, she decides she’s given us enough ‘proof’ and opens her next paragraph with this sentence:

The harm this little line can do is clear, but another under-reported consequence is that if anger and aggression are painted as normal male behaviours, men are not inclined to find appropriate ways to channel their emotions, which can sometimes lead to self medication or alcohol abuse.

Remember what I said earlier about there being no shelters or anything for men who are abused by their partners? Yeah, this ties into that quite nicely. Men try and find appropriate ways to channel their emotions, believe me. Unfortunately, male emotions are still shamed and demeaned and dismissed and all manner of horrendous shit that Clune seems absolutely unaware of. She claims men need an out, some way of letting off steam, some way of getting help before that rage and anger and hurt and pain spills out and ends up hurting someone else.

But when men do need a shoulder to cry on, when they do finally let out all the hurt and pain that they’ve been bottling up it often goes ignored, it gets dismissed with another simple, everyday utterance that we should really be putting more focus on, definitely more focus than ‘boys will be boys’- Man Up.

Yeah, it’s funny that Clune is all ‘oh, boys will be boys is totally responsible for all that anger men have, they’re told from birth that they need to be violent and that just fucks them up later in life’ without having any understanding that, actually, men do try to get help, they do try to find an outlet for their woes. Unfortunately, no-one cares, no-one seems to actually want to know when men try to do something about it.

There was a post on Humans of New York a couple of days ago where someone recounted a story of their dad after their parents’ divorce. He came to them upset and needing an outlet for his grief. They said they ‘resented’ him as he was supposed to be their shoulder to cry on, not the other way around:

https://www.facebook.com/humansofnewyork/photos/a.102107073196735.4429.102099916530784/899757546765013/?type=1&theater

That’s what waits for men when they try to be emotional. I’m not saying that’s always the case, but if we need to change anything, it’s not the theory that ‘boys will be boys’ ‘normalises’ male violence, it’s that, when men finally do try to open up, we still don’t give a shit, we still don’t accept men can be weak and vulnerable, we tell them to ‘man up’. When your own child resents you for feeling upset at the dissolution of your marriage then what’s the next step? That’s right, all the feelings you thought you could finally let out of the bottle go straight back in, this time even angrier and even more hurt.

Clune claims that the ‘root cause’ for this abundance of male violence is because we use the phrase ‘boys will be boys’. I think it’s much, much more complex than that, and simply blaming everything on a phrase that can be applied to so many different, brilliant situations is crass and unhelpful in the ongoing drive to try and understand the male psyche.

She decides to end on this rather daft sentence:

“Boys will be boys” might seem a harmless phrase to repeat, but with it comes awful consequences for both men and women. It’s time we stopped saying it.

It’s time we stopped publishing articles that are so agenda-driven that they become self-defeating. When your ‘evidence’ is nothing more than anecdote, apocryphal stories, ambiguous court documents and cherry picked cuntish behaviour then you lose whatever foundation you thought your article was built on. The two articles I’ve looked at in this entry were just two of the many, many results on Google that were all about trying to ban ‘boys will be boys’. In typical far-left fashion, banning words actually comes before delving deep into the problem.

Male violence is caused by any number of things, by suggesting that a phrase like ‘boys will be boys’ is the ‘root cause’ of it, and not having an awareness or an understanding of other, more relevant, causes is demonstrating not only a lack of knowledge about men’s issues but also, more sinisterly, a lack of any desire to do anything about it.

‘Boys will be boys’ is a harmless phrase. It helps to explain why boys and men do batshit things, why they treat their friends like absolute garbage, why they find humour in things that others would consider taboo. It’s a phrase that we use when we simply cannot explain something using any logic or reasoning. Boys will be boys because people, even other men, simply cannot explain why we do the shit we do.

It’s not a way of ‘normalising’ male violence, and even if, in some cases, people have used it in a context to which it is not suited, can you honestly tell me, or better yet, prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it adversely affects the lives of every single goddamn man on the planet? No, I didn’t think so.

This entry has become something completely different to what I intended. Initially, I wanted to prove examples, of what the phrase ‘boys will be boys’ actually means, examples of boys being idiots, doing daft shit ‘just because’. Ultimately, it was going to be a collection of stories from men and women about the boys in their lives being hilarious with the utter oddity of their behaviour. At 8 pages this is no time to do it. So, tomorrow (I promise) I will create a completely new entry with the sole purpose of providing examples of what I believe to be the true definition of ‘boys will be boys’.

I’m a boy, I do daft shit. I can’t explain it in any reasoned or understandable way. Instead, I will simply leave you with this:

Boys will be boys…and long may it continue!

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Comments
  1. WhoTheHell_Cares says:

    “Boys will be boys…and long may it continue!”

    Indeed, to quote Neil young, “long may you run.”

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