Thursday, April 19, 2012

Boys Will Be Boys? Huh?

My love of NPR is well documented and I like to listen to it in the morning, when I'm in my car. However, I moved extremely close to my job, so my only chance to catch a story is when I run to get coffee or other errands, here and there. As such, I can admit I'm falling a bit behind on my current issue awareness. Today, I caught a snippet of Michele Martin's Tell Me More (one of my favorites!) Martin replayed a clip from another NPR program Talk of the Nation in which they were discussing the scandal involving Secret Service agents and prostitution.

The man in the clip, said something to the effect of "boys will be boys."

I rolled my eyes so hard, I pulled a muscle. Listen, I'm not here to discuss the Secret Service scandal, because, as mentioned, I know too little to do so, but I would like to tackle this "boys will be boys" shit.

I had to know more, so I tracked down the transcript of the segment Martin replayed. You can read or listen to it here. The man quoted was Jeffrey Robinson, co-author of Standing Next to History: An Agent's Life Insude the Secret Service. He said:
They're all probably looking for work as of right now. They certainly will never rise higher in the Secret Service. But I don't honestly think that they, at any time, exposed the president to any sort of real danger. I think it was simply boys being boys, and I'm afraid boys will be boys. I know, because I was one. I still am, I guess.
Uh what?

Seriously, I don't get this phrase. Can you possibly name one interpretation of this statement that isn't incredibly sexist?

NO. You can't. It's meaning is this: "We have lower standards for boys because they 1) can't be controlled 2) shouldn't be held accountable for their actions 3) and are allowed to partake in worse behavior than girls...and OH WELL. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. Those scamps!" It's sexist to both boys and girls (and men and women!) Girls are continuously held to higher behavior standards and are supposed to be perfect little pure angels. When they deviate from this, they are punished more severely. And boys are stereotyped as out of control, unethical, and incapable of responsibility.

It just sucks.

So thank god for caller Teresa, who at least attempted to speak out against that statement and mentality. I mean, we're not even talking about "boys" here. We are talking about grown ass men who have been entrusted to protect the life of the president of the United States. I think it's high time we hold ALL males to the same ethical standards as females. This is one area where I think that the phrase "Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition" has some value. My brand of feminism is about finding the best for everyone and removing stereotyped barriers, which is why I feel so strongly that we've got to abandon this phrase.

Add it to the list of things that need to disappear from our vocabulary.

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