Boys Will Be Boys

When my son was younger and even now that he is a teenager, I would often times ask my husband why the heck my son was doing whatever it was he was doing. I simply didn’t understand – why is he eating like a neanderthal? Why is he constantly joking about bodily functions as he makes continuous fart noises? Why will he not stop talking about Minecraft? I would just look at him wondering what the heck is wrong, only for my husband to reassure me that “That is just what boys do.” “He’s just a boy.” And, as my son would get older, my response was, “I don’t care. He’s my boy and therefore, he will not act like that!” Now granted, I look back and his behaviors were quite typical – climbing the walls as he only answered to the name ‘Spiderman,’ not focusing on school work because he is obsessively thinking about a video game, not cleaning the toilet after he pees all over it, forgetting everything I say that doesn’t involve a superhero character or new video game, and the list continues. However, there is a specific phrase I hear in my office often – “Boys will be boys” or with my couples, I hear “It’s because he is a man.” Women excuse their husband, their brothers, sons, friends, or colleagues simply because he is male. I do not understand. If men themselves are not going to create standards for them to live by, then who will? Us wives and mothers will set up a doctor’s appointment for the men in our family because they won’t do it themselves. We will tell them to dress appropriately for an event so as to not be ridiculed. We will tell them to mind their manners to show respectable behaviors. We set the precedent for what we expect. And yet, I wonder why we have expected or stayed silent about men’s predatory and demoralizing behaviors toward women. We expect them to behave in a sexually disrespectful manner. And so, as opposed to holding guys accountable when they are being complete @#$%, we instead train our daughters to deal with them in a certain way so as to protect ourselves.

I can understand that with all the current news, women now believe it is safe to speak out and #metoo. There is not one single woman I know who has not experienced some sort of assaultive behavior or harassment towards them. NONE! I am not here to tell my stories and say #metoo because I would be here for awhile. I would like to take a different path – I am here to hold men accountable. I do not want a group of women only telling their stories because the fact is, all women can relate. I don’t necessarily want a support group type of environment without a direction of what to do next. Just telling our story is not going to change the culture of men. Instead, I would like to begin by encouraging others to change the verbiage. People write “Women were raped or assaulted.” They are not writing, “ Men raped women.” We discuss how many young girls have gotten pregnant, but we are not saying how many men or boys impregnated those teenage girls. As though men are not part of the equation. We are focusing on what is happening or being done to women when we should be shifting the focus on who is actually part of the problem. Why are we not calling it out for what it is – “Man assaulted woman” versus “Violence against women.” There needs to be accountability directly towards men. And, when this occurs, they WILL know what is expected.

The next step is making sure I am doing my part at home. I am not raising just another boy. I am going to change the presumption that all “boys will be boys.” I will raise my son to respect women, to not touch them in an inappropriate manner, to not threaten them, to not speak of women in a derogatory way, and to challenge his peers to do the same. And, if I miss a beat, I am sure that his 4 sisters will remind him to be better than what society has simply accepted or excused!!

Stay tuned for more concrete tools to help our sons, brothers, husbands, and friends as to how to stand up for their gender by being better men…..we will no longer allow “boys will be boys” to exist!

Charise 

Charise Casiano

About Charise Casiano

Charise obtained her BA degree at California State University, Stanislaus and immediately pursued her MS degree at Mount Saint Mary’s College. During her college years, Charise left for one year to do missionary work. She traveled the United States troubleshooting with teenagers.