We Treat Our Boys Differently

June 4, 2017
We treat our boys differently--
everywhere, from preschool to politics--
And I try to forget but I cannot
Because all the time I am reminded that

We treat our boys differently.
Because a girl speaking her mind is pushy and moody but
a boy slapping her is justified.
Because the male gaze is sympathized with and
the female body is an object.
Because he couldn't control his urges so
it falls on her to prevent his attacks.

We treat our boys differently:
It's not just pink and blue,
It's gentle and rough
Sweet and strong
Docile and dominant.
I am reminded all the time:
When I am told to cover up but he can wear what he wants,
When I have a nine o'clock curfew but he stays out till midnight,
When boys will be boys and girls must learn to deal with it.

I am reminded when he throws punches with no repercussions and then
I speak of this and they say stop complaining,
that I could've done more to keep him from hurting me,
that it is on some level my fault,
that it is just what boys do,
that it is a phase they all go through.

But is it a phase, a natural part of boys becoming men?
Because the boy that grinned while he hit his little sister will grow up to be
the man that harasses his female colleagues,
the man who yells vulgar things at the women he passes on the street.
Is that just what a man is? Is that just what boys do?

Or is it because
We treat our boys differently?

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