Content warning: sexual harassment and discussions on toxic masculinity.
This topic has been luring over my head for quite some time. So I thought it was time to address it as difficult as it is. We all know the saying "boys will be boys" or other quotes along the lines that justify men disrespecting women, whether it is just teasing or bullying in school, or sexual harassment.
Quite frankly, I don't care what you have to say in attempt to defend boys like them.
By saying "Boys will be boys" or a similar phrase, you subtly justify toxic masculinity. It tells women that toxic masculinity is normal. It prevents men from holding themselves accountable. It sends a message to men that it is okay to objectify women.
Read below for some examples of toxic masculinity, to prevent or correct yourself in the future.
"Boys will be boys."
No, boys will not be boys. This does not help a woman being objectified and disrespected by a "man."
By continuing to say "boys will be boys" or similar quotes, you are enabling toxic masculinity.
Engaging in sexual harassment.
In high school, I had my back turned to a group of boys as I was looking at a test review. This group who frequently harassed me (and threw coins at me another occasion), whistled at me. My teacher did nothing.
In college, a guy in an organization I used to be a member of ogled me at an event. I reported him to leadership, although I was hesitant. While leadership created a harassment policy, not much else was done.
A few months after the incident, he was elected as a leader for the next semester.
Others cared more about how trustworthy he was, rather than him objectifying a fellow member of the organization.
The more I look back on incidents like those, the more disturbing it gets.
Observing sexual harassment and doing nothing.
Watching toxic masculinity happen while doing nothing enables toxic masculinity. I guarantee if you had a daughter, and someone was sexually harassing her, there is NO WAY you would just let it happen.
Blaming the victim.
It is never the victim's fault. EVER.
Telling the victim to "ignore them."
Stop placing expectations on the person getting harassed in the first place.
Expect boys to hold themselves accountable, and tell them to not do it in the first place.
"Guys like what they see."
Just no. A guy " liking what he sees" does not warrant ogling a girl.
People have more self-control over what they see than you think.
"Not all guys are like that."
Why yes, you're absolutely right. Except your timing of that response is absolutely terrible.
It dismisses the issue of toxic masculinity at hand, but thanks for trying to sympathize.
"It's not just guys."
Right again. But toxic femininity isn't the issue of discussion, either.
Feel free to write an article about it or have a separate conversation with me if you're so passionate about it, though.
"They're just teasing."
Just stop right there. Last I checked, decent men don't disrespect girls. Harassment is not teasing. It's toxic.
Toxic masculinity is no accident. If you were offended while reading this, you are part of the problem.