Where do I even start?
The past few weeks have been filled with sexual assault in the news. There was the case of the high school student in Florida who had sex with several boys in the high school bathroom while dozens more watched. As a former teacher, that got under my skin. I’ve had students sneak away and have sex though. Yes, even at a Christian school.
But this? The Stanford rape case? Is making my blood boil.
Few things in life get me fired up, but raping a drunk stranger in an alley, behind a dumpster? And then passing it off like she wanted it, like she liked it.
Pause. What woman in her right mind feels it would be just a great idea to have sex in an alley behind a dumpster? I mean, seriously. And with a stranger, no less.
But beyond the absolutely enraging details is the complaint of his father that jail time and a national sex offender registry is too steep a price for “20 minutes of action.” It’s a ramped up ‘boys will be boys’ (with an added sprinkle of ‘my son would never hurt a fly.’)
I have a major problem with “boys will be boys.” In fact, everyone should, especially the boys.
Boys can’t keep it in their pants.
Boys can’t get their minds out of the gutter.
Boys can’t stop thinking about sex.
Boys can’t help it if she’s dressed sexy, what did she expect?
You know boys… they sow their wild oats.
Boys watch porn.
If I wanted go feminist here, I could say, “Oh yeah? Well, girls can do that too!” And to be truthful, it does bug me when men write me and say, “You really need to consider the men in this. You don’t know what it’s like for us. You don’t know what it’s like to have all of these hormones surging through our body. You don’t understand what a woman’s body does to us.”
No. I’ve never been a man, but you’ve also never been a woman. Besides, that isn’t the point.
The ‘boys will be boys’ culture is not wrong because it’s not inclusive of women. The ‘boys will be boys’ culture is wrong because it destroys women and men.
In a ‘boys will be boys’ culture, rape is funny, because women don’t matter.
It is a culture that puts the hormonal impulse of the male above all else. It is an attitude that celebrates a lack of self-control and a reckless headfirst dive into hedonism. It is a culture that breathes objectification of women. It is a culture that excuses, even celebrates, the depravity of humanity.
To be clear, there are some instances where ‘boys will be boys’ definitely fits. Just the other night I was watching my cousin’s two sons, ages 1 and 3. We were outside when I spied a bottle of soap and a bubble wand and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to blow bubbles. I mixed the solution and started blowing bubbles. It was such a sweet moment.
Next thing I know, an excavator crashes into the bubble solution, contaminating it and turning it into a carwash with shovels of dirt being added. (Meanwhile, the one year old has the bubble wand in his mouth).
Before I could react, the garden hose was aimed, full blast, at the tiny bowl holding muddy bubble solution. In a matter of seconds, a high-powered fountain was shooting up in the air, dousing the concrete patio, myself, and the boys. They, of course, were delighted, and rushed for the bottle of soap to be able to do it all again.
Boys will be boys.
But when it comes to sex, decency, and respect for the life, health, and well-being of another, “boys will be boys” does not fit.
It does not fit when a teenage boy gets drunk. It does not fit when a young adult drives 100 in a 55. It does not fit when a husband cheats on his wife. It does not fit when a drunk college student is raped in a back alley.
Excuses breed acceptance; acceptance breeds expectation; expectation breeds performance.
Pretty soon, a man’s ‘manliness’ is defined by how reckless he can be instead of how responsible.
It leaves us with a culture of reckless, irresponsible, ego-centric, porn-saturated males, who are fairly convinced the world revolves around them and women are simply baby-making, sandwich-making, orgasm-giving bodies. After all, boys will be boys.
God, give us the desire to see a culture of men.
As a sister, I firmly believe that part of my ‘job’ here is to help my brothers be better men. I teach them how to respect a woman not only by how I respect myself, but also by the expectations I have of them. They were raised to be defenders of and respecters of women. That was an expectation, and they have met it.
I have brothers in Christ who are much the same. I just finished having this conversation with a woman in my small group the other night. We talked about how tight-knit our group is and how the men in it are real men. Surely they have their issues, and they are not perfect, but they are defenders. We thought, in particular, of a time when one of the women in our group was attacked by another man. The way our guys rallied around her to support her, care for her, and protect her spoke to their ‘manliness.’ They stepped up to the plate.
See, there are two ways to make things equal. You either take from the higher one or add to the lower one. The feminist movement would like to say ‘boys will be boys? well, then, girls will be girls.” But when ‘boys will be boys’ and ‘girls will be girls’ you just have a bunch of children fighting on the playground at recess. Everybody needs to grow up.
When boys will be boys, we have college freshmen and their fathers thinking it is perfectly acceptable to assault a stranger in a back alley behind a dumpster and then whine about getting caught and blame it on the booze. When boys will be boys, we excuse the inappropriate touches, kisses, and words. When boys will be boys, we have a culture that revels in immaturity and shirks responsibility. When boys will be boys, nobody wins, nobody is free, and nobody is better.
When boys will be boys, we run out of a resource we so desperately need, something so crucial to our society and even to who we are as women. When boys will be boys… we run out of men.14