Growing up in a world where the bandwagon effect seamlessly finds its way into our lives, this very statement/phrase boys will be boys has created a roar. Allow me to give you a little history as to why this statement came to light. Back in 1959, it described childish behaviour on the part of boys. Do you think its interpretation now has the same meaning? Why has the original meaning gotten lost with time?
We have been taught ‘to not judge a book by its cover’. Yet this very phrase has been twisted and applied at the slightest mistake of a male. We most often judge this statement by its cover. Do you wish to live in a society where the fault of a single “human” is used as a shadow that lingers behind everyone? Why is the wrongdoing of a single male used as a yardstick to judge every male out there? He too is human.
Just like a girl is educated as she grows up, a boy too is brought up the same way. Parents do not differentiate between the two kids. We call ourselves a progressive society, yet function with a mediocre mindset. A human will be what you teach them to be. No statement or action can define you. You are what you learn and unlearn. Most often, we label a person due to their past mistakes, never leaving room to appreciate the changed person. Are you the same human you were 10 years ago? Everyone is maturing and understanding how society functions.
Let’s take a simple example: Anjali from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai always says ‘Rahul, he’s my best friend ya’. Why doesn’t she say ‘Tina, she’s my best friend’. She finds her haven in a “boy”. A person, girls are often told to beware off. A person who may be good at heart but labelled bad due to societal pressure and judgements. Another example: Aditi in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na has her Jay; Aditi from Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani has her Avi and Kabir. Do you think these girls have lost their mind? Do you think they fought with mobs and local men just by their strength? No. They knew they had their buddies supporting their craziness as well as protecting them. No matter how much you try, no person is an ideal person. No person is a perfectionist. No person is flawless. They are all HUMAN.
Boys, knowing they have flaws, do not openly show them but quietly work on them. They are the kinds who believe in the statement actions speak louder than words. As for girls, who are wired to be more vocal about anything and everything . More expressive, more demonstrative. Like we say, don’t rain on my parade. Boys, if expressive, are considered weak, vulnerable. Since childhood, we are brought up with the ideology-Boys don’t cry like girls. Why is a boy not allowed to show his emotions? Does everyone but boys have a copyright on emotions? Do they have to put on a facade? Does showing emotions make them “less macho”?
Being a girl, I’ve seen the atrocities of the world. I can vouch for the males in my life. They are the ones who will be there at any given time and bring you up when you feel you’re in a dark dungeon. Society loves labels. An act of another is a definition for an entire community. Due to this pressure, boys feel scared to speak up. What we do not realise is we are the ones who do not give them a comfortable space to open up. What kind of a world are we growing up in? Why cannot we have a sympathetic atmosphere? Not only will it make you a better human but will also make the world a better place to live in. Most people do not speak about the good that the males do, but are first to call out the bad. As times are changing, girls too have stepped up and are shattering those glass ceilings. The old meaning of males being the breadwinners of the house no longer holds true. Yet, they do share the load. We too need to share the load, when it comes to emotions and not just monetarily. Sometimes, a shoulder is all they need. Society often makes us fall prey to benevolent sexism. The idea is that boys should be there for anyone vulnerable, including themselves.
I stand by the ideology of a person penalised for committing a heinous crime. But let’s not blindly follow the herd mentality. Let’s not be cruel towards men. In the #MeToo era, let’s not lose the essence of the movement. Allow them to live. Allow them to grow. Allow them to be vulnerable. Everyone is so focused on finding the wrong in a person that they often forget to appreciate the good. Let’s not use the phrase as a pretence for anything and everything. Calling out the wrong is our right, but shadowing authenticity with bias is unacceptable. The next time you hear yourself saying ‘boys will be boys’ take a moment to think of the ones that surround you. Boys don’t always have to be chivalrous; they can be empathetic too. We are all wired to function in a certain way. Society cannot define who you are. And just like that, ‘boys are JUST boys.’
Vocal Every Pal
(Please note: I do not mean to offend anyone, neither take a stand for any sect. This is my opinion and I hope to open a new chain of thought for my fellow readers. Do share your valuable thoughts and feedback on the same. Thank you for helping me grow as a writer.)