Friday, November 13, 2015

'Boys will be Boys' and Comments On The Man Box

A previous post by a fellow peer discussed the tired old saying that 'boys will be boys' and how it manifested itself in college fraternity members. The saying is one that I heard before and never really thought too much about. After reading the post however, it reminded of a day not too long ago in which I was enjoying a day of with family at one of the Disney Water Parks. I was laziying along in the lazy river, when a group of young kids, about middle school age, suddenly ended up next to me. They were laughing and enjoying themselves and it actually pleased me to see that the one female in the group seemed not to care and was acting just as loud and boisterous.

At one point, a few of the boys who were stacking inner tubes, knocked them over purposely and suddenly they were tumbling down on top of me. I didn't mind, I actually laughed, what made me stop and think however is how they reacted. The boys in the group acted like nothing happened and kept on playing while the girl swam over to help remove the tubes and apologized. At first I thought, of course boys will be boys, after all their in middle school, and at that moment I realized how wrong the situation was and how early we train young boys and girls to fit into gender roles. These young boys were already learning how to become unapologetic and earn their place in the man box.

This led me to further think about the damage that the man box does. As we already know it assumes that anything outside the man box is female and feminine, and since anything outside the man box is inherently unfavorable and bad, that being feminine or female are unfavorable and bad. The box also places females at the submissive side of the binary cultivating a culture of violence.

The box is also harmful, however, because it completely erases non-binary identities and as a result, because it can be seen as an 'other', breeds intolerance and therefore violence which is actually a large problem in the community. While the A Call to Men campaign is doing great work, I believe at some point we need to take it even further and include not just violence against women but violence toward specific groups in general.


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