The new PSA Boys Will Be Better, written and directed by Jennifer Rau, takes on the “current climate of toxic masculinity.”
In an email to WYSK, Jennifer explains, “As a mother to a young son I created it as call to action for those raising and influencing boys to understand the responsibility we have to address and alter the cultural DNA these boys are inheriting.”
“Boys will be boys” has become a catchall phrase for certain kinds of behavior from teenagers and young men. And it’s not usually good behavior that we reference when we use this phrase.
In the era of the #MeToo Movement and the Kavanaugh allegations, this phrase proves even more dangerous in relation to sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. How many times do people use this phrase as an excuse? As a way to minimize unhealthy or toxic behavior?
Not only does “boys will be boys” provide an excuse for dangerous behavior, it reduces and flattens young men’s experiences — leaving less room for the nuances of the human spirit. Such a catchphrase should not be synonymous with bad behavior, and it should absolutely not provide an excuse. Each young boy is different, and we must reject this world of heteronormativity, where “boys” and “girls” are put in boxes and told how to behave in relation to their gender. By allowing this in our society, we are alienating people from one another, creating barriers instead of bridges.
Boys will not be boys. Boys will be better.