Growing up we've all heard the term 'boys will be boys' for some reason or another, or 'it's because they're boys.' When your parents tell you this when you're young you don't quite understand this, you don't understand why your parents hold you closer when an older man walks down the street alone, or get scared when any man looks at you, but as you get older you start to understand what they meant by 'boys will be boys.'
In elementary school boys and girls were in all the same, there was the constant 'boys rule girls drule' and vice versa but there was no 'boys will be boys' with the children at school, we all played together, nobody was distracted by anyone's shoulders or upper legs, we were just all kids, who played together, had fun, and tried to learn to write our names in cursive.
Sometime between our 5th-grade farewell and the start of 6th grade and our first year in middle school, it all changed, and 'boys started being boys.' The dress code got stricter, as girls start going through puberty and getting breasts (as normal as this is) we're targeted against for this. I wouldn't matter if we didn't want the breasts at all, we got them, and because of this we had to wear higher neckline shirts, and tank tops had to be 3 fingers width making sure no bra straps were showing or we would be sent home.
It only got worse from then on out, I completely understand there being a rule being against 'booty shorts' in school, but girls were required to wear shorts that were longer than their finger tip when there arms put to their sides, (if anyone checks this out, it isn't far from the knee.) Not only did wear these long shorts and thick tank tops in the 80+ degree weather that comes around both in the beginning of the school year and the end, but we would be sent home, losing our education for the day if we didn't.
If we questioned why the girls had such a strict dress code there were a small variety of responses they were able to come up with to justify this. "It's distracting" or (our classic favorite) "boys will be boys" as we got into 8th grade they actually told us "boys will think you're slutty for wearing short shorts"
The dress code has shown us a few things, we're objects for men to sexualize over, our shoulders are distracting, and a slip of the bra strap is as severe as getting into a fight at school (well they both result in getting sent home.) They've taught us that the education of boys is more important than that of the girls, we have to sit through an 80-degree day in an 85+ degree classroom in hot clothes because the boys may get distracted by our upper legs or shoulders because those are extremely sexual parts of our bodies.
As we get into high school we learn not to walk alone, ever. Especially not at night, but if we do, and we see a man walking alone, start walking faster, change sides of the street. Stay as far away from him as possible. Why? Because 'boys will be boys.'
The saddest part of the excuse we have been giving our children and women for so long is it isn't even an excuse. There is absolutely no reasoning behind it. Why are things the way they are? This sad excuse explains absolutely nothing other than there is something we obviously need to change. It's time to change to change the phrase to boys will not be boys, because girls won't let them. Instead of making excuses for the way young girls and women are being treated, stop it, and change it.