I hear it a lot, boys will be boys. I do wonder what does that mean, that boys will be boys and girls bitches and we can all rest easy in our safe self designed boxes of denial. I heard it first at the school gates as a parent reacted to their child putting both of their hands on my sons back and pushing him full force into the ground. Was it acceptable behavior? In the eyes of this mother and son, yes it was! Boys will be boys after all. Parenting is a minefield, so why do we make it so much harder by imposing ridiculous extra rules on our children? If I get called to the school because my child is simply ,’being a boy’ can I rest easy at night safe in the knowledge that my child does not respect space, authority or other peoples right to simply exist in a world free from harassment? Given all of the media coverage of systemic and institutional sexual assault and harassment in many areas of society, are we ultimately teaching our children at the earliest possible stage that respecting other people doesn’t matter. They are the chosen gender, and on account of nature are therefore can assuage themselves of blame. Similarly, it wouldn’t be very ladylike to complain would it? No one likes a whinger.
I am 22 weeks pregnant and expecting a boy. This was great news to us, but the general reaction has surprised me somewhat. It has been a chorus of ‘Oh that’ll be weight off, boys are easier than girls.’ Frankly, I am scratching my head. I have both a boy and girl and they have been equally challenging in different ways.
But how do we buck the trend? I have to, my children are making me. I have a highly sensitive emotional empath that cannot understand the logic of violence on one hand and a boisterous, outgoing, physical firecracker on the other. I watch my son go into school most mornings through my fingers as he is off to traverse another day of other people invading his space and not respecting his space or things. They are their own personalities, gender doesn’t come into the list of their deciding factors, and nor should it.
Gender stereotypes do nothing but damage, so can we step away from the platitudes and teach our kids the basics, respect. Gender is not an excuse, there are no excuses, only stepping out from behind tired, useless and damaging limitations that we have created. I don’t know why we did this as a society, there’s probably a doctoral thesis in there, but its time to give it up. Is there room in our society for a sensitive boy and a vocal girl? I hope so, because guess what, they are fucking coming world, whether you like it or not. Buckle up.