Boys Will Be Boys

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For those who might have noticed, I apologize for my silence and absence. I’ve been dark for a while since I started law school.

If you aren’t familiar with law school, it completely takes over your life. I seriously struggle to be engaged in conversations that don’t have to do with law school since it’s now so out of my norm to be talking or thinking about anything else.

Until today.

I was particularly inspired by a dear friend and fellow student/sufferer of mine. She asked, jokingly, how anyone could really expect a guy to stop (sexually) with a girl when things were heating up.

Let me put it into more perspective…

One of the classes we’re required to take is criminal law. We cover a handful of crimes, one of which is rape. We were discussing the requirement of consent in regards to a Mike Tyson case we’d briefly covered in class. Tyson and a woman were flirting and kissing, which he took to be consent for just about everything else sexual and ended up raping her. Obviously that argument didn’t stand up in court as the jurisdiction called for affirmative consent for sex, not merely foreplay, and he was convicted.

This is where the offhand comment comes into play. Her commentary went something like this:

How can we seriously expect boys to stop when we’re allowing them to do other things? Yes, you can do this and that but not sex! How is that realistic? What a buzzkill!

Now I’m not immune to the ignorant comment here and there. I’ll be the first to admit, I say stupid shit occasionally. Alas, I, too, am human. However, I appreciate when people bring my ignorance to my attention. And like the good friend that I am, I called her out. But the comment stuck with me because I know she’s not alone.

If there’s one thing I’ve come to understand, and develop a love-hate relationship with in law school, it’s policy. Policy is the underlying reason that justifies why all of our laws are in place.

And the “boys will be boys” policy is absolute bullshit.

Allow me to demonstrate. Imagine you were out with someone, flirting and kissing and enjoying yourself, and your only intention was just that, you weren’t ready to go any further. But the person you’re with wouldn’t accept that. They take your actions as an indication that it’s acceptable to go further and decide to have sex with you based on that premise.

Without your consent and despite your refusal.

Now imagine later down the line that you are one of the brave few to take that asshole to court to try to get some recompense for the injustice that you most naturally feel you deserve.

You relive the encounter by telling your lawyer, your opponents lawyer during his heartless deposition, and, possibly, a room full of strangers to prove how and why you didn’t consent. And after all that, the judge tells you he’s not guilty because

Boys will be boys

Because you indicated through flirting and kissing and heavy petting, and perhaps even what you were wearing, that you in fact actually wanted more and got just that. That, dear reader, is the policy behind that notion.

We can’t accept this idea. It cannot be the norm. Sure, it must suck to have hormones racing at the speed of light only to be forced to come to a full (cold) stop. But that has to be acceptable compared to the alternative of giving license to anyone who’s getting ramped up and can’t stop.

The implications of such an acceptance would speak of a society that is out of control. Literally. That’s like saying,

“Well I got the notion that I hated him and was so wrapped up in my emotions that I stabbed him repeatedly until he stopped moving. It was his fault, he angered me!”

and then totally getting away with murder.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why provocation is not exculpatory!

Beyond a sexual context, it’s damaging to boys themselves, and a bit insulting. When a boy throws dirt in another child’s face or tries to lift a girls skirt or beats the shit out of another boy for not being manly enough – we’re essentially saying they’re perverted assholes and that’s just their nature,

Oh well!

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Much like any generalization applied to an individual based on a superficial identifier (skin color, socioeconomic status, age), assuming a person is going to be a heartless asshole since they were born male does them a disservice. Gender is just another way we identify ourselves but it does not control who we are. That remains up to us.

Unfortunately, I know a good amount of boys who give in to this idea. One friend of mine asserts he’s an asshole who lacks feeling. It breaks my heart when he says that because not only does he internalize it over time but it gives him an out anytime he actually IS being an asshole. He doesn’t feel guilty because he’s consigned to the fact that that’s just what he is.

And that makes me sad.

The gender movement is more alive today than I think it has been in all of history. Organizations like HeForShe and Happy Hippie Foundation are blazing the way in getting rid of gender biases. I can only hope that these notions catch on like wildfire so instead of shrugging our shoulders and saying boys will be boys, we’ll say

Boys will be held accountable for their actions.