Boys will be boys?

Will boys be boys no matter what or will they be boys only because the girls are letting them?

Why is it that girls have become so tough-skinned that they are willing and somehow able to be with guys who do inappropriate things (like, for example, looking at porn)?

I keep hearing about girls who accept many different kinds of things from the guys they’re dating because they don’t think it’s fair or realistic to have higher expectations. They complain about it and in many instances they are deeply hurt by it, but they figure that in order to be with a guy, they just have to take it.

I have a theory. Girls are obviously not as sexually oriented as guys. And the impression we get is that guys are so sexual that for them it’s practically out of control. Or, to a certain extent, it is out of control. So that would mean that girls really do have no choice but to be with a guy who is barely able to contain himself. Because that’s how guys are. And if he has certain urges and follows through on them, we can’t blame him because those urges are stronger than us girls can imagine.

I would have to say that I think this is horse doody. And I know guys who would totally disagree with this too. They will tell you that guys are definitely capable of containing themselves, acting appropriately, directing their energies in positive ways…

I think that one of the main jobs of women is to help men become better people. And us allowing men to act not nicely is defeating that purpose. I believe that if women finally had higher expectations from their men, the men would step up to the plate and try to be who the women expect them to be. Respectful, respectable gentlemen.

No? :)

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10 thoughts on “Boys will be boys?

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  1. As someone who has lived on both sides of the gender and hormonal divide and who knows a number of other people who have the same experience, I can say that it is difficult for cis-gendered (ie. non-trans) people to understand the tremendous impact of male level testosterone exposure. It is difficult for cis-guys to appreciate the potential negative impact of what I think you are describing as “acting not nicely”. At the same time, I think it is also difficult for cis-gals to fathom the pressing drive that men experience. The trans-guys that I know were utterly shocked to discover how powerful an impact testosterone had on their sex drives, moving sex from a more occasional thought to a very constant urge. And many of the trans-women that I know have experienced a reduction in the kind of constant sex drive that they previously experienced, having it replaced with a sexuality that was more situational, and more impacted by self esteem, self image, or other emotional or psychological or social factors than it had been pre-transtion.

    Generally speaking though, it is important to remember that there are large individual differences between both men and women. Some women having greater sex drives than others, which may be experienced in more stereotypically “male” or “female” ways, and vice versa for men. Culture and social attitudes also dictate what sexual behaviour is socially acceptable for men or women. Culture then can serve to make minorities invisible because people who behave or want to behave in ways that run counter to cultural expectations will tend to do so more privately. As a result, culture becomes self reinforcing, as individuals who embody an experience that is different from the cultural conceptual norm to self-erase leaving the dominant conception unquestioned.

    As it pertains to your question though, I think that understanding that hormones and other biological factors are really determinative of people’s sex drive can help people, both men and women, step back from their own experience. Being able to step back can help people examine cultural/societal norms and analyze what they think appropriate sexual attitudes and conduct should be.

  2. While you are defending men by saying that they can containe themselves and act appropriately you seem to be contradicting this later on when saying that it is women’s job to “help men become better people.” So, actualy, what you are saying is that they can’t direct their energies in a positive way without women’s help. It seems to me that women are damned if they leave men alone with their “urges” and damned also if they try and “help” them control themselves. Women, once again, remain a tool in the hands of men, who can be used for their benefit alone. Women, it seems, can either be the accepting and weak sex who let their men trample all over them, or they can be the woman that men look to for guidance and mothering instead of taking responsibility for their own actions.

    A song by Meredith Brooks comes to mind:
    I’m a bitch, I’m a lover
    I’m a child, I’m a mother
    I’m a sinner, I’m a saint
    I do not feel ashamed
    I’m your health, I’m your dream
    I’m nothing in between
    You know you wouldn’t want it any other way

    Your article depresses me because it supports the idea that women will always be forming themselves in accordance to the needs of men. We can never be anything in between, unless WE start taking responsibility for our own actions instead of always feeling a motherly responsibility for the men around us.

  3. Naomi,

    Thanks so much for posting a comment here! I must say I disagree. Maybe I got a different point across than I meant to.

    I think that women can be excellent facilitators for men to become wonderful people. That is not to say it falls souly on our shoulders or that they have no responsibility.

    But women DO have at least some responsibility in the process. And, for example, if we allow men to act inappropriately and still give them our love, attention and caring, then we are being irresponsible towards ourselves – we are being hurt – and towards them – we’re showing them that if they so choose, they can get away with acting “badly”.

    The same way that men have a responsibility when it comes to women. They must treat them in a certain way in order to help women be as wonderful as we can be.

    One guy I spoke to about this with tonight said that when he’s around a girl that he’s interested in, it makes him feel like he wants to be a better person. Then he said, actually when I’m around girls in general it makes me want to be better.

    Is that depressing? I thought it’s pretty beautiful. What do you think?

  4. I agree completely with Deena.

    I’m a guy, a fairly average one at that, and by no means is my sex drive constant or out of control. It’s certainly there, but this idea that it’s irrepressibly strong by default in men is just plain wrong.

    This false belief that the sex urge must be obeyed every time it rears its head is in effect free license for men to fulfill whatever guilty pleasures they want, without responsibility and without consequence. But that’s not reality — it’s a recipe for disaster. It’s lazy and irresponsible to assume that men can’t contain their sexual urges. I mean, think about it — if you really believe that they can’t, then you have to say that pedophilia and bestiality and rape are all acceptable, since those urges were uncontrollable. And if the sex urge can’t be contained, what of the urge toward violence? Boys will be boys, we say, so let them murder and torture just because they have an urge to do so? It’s insane, and it’s not fair to men or women. Society crumbles under that kind of a belief system.

    You see, letting go of the reins pushes men towards animalistic behavior, and they slowly lose their humanity in the process. (Men who are completely obsessed with sex are little more than animals anymore, really, and they often turn violent as a result. Just look at how many serial killers started out by looking at porn.)

    This has nothing to do with women forming themselves to fit the needs of men. What I’m saying is this: a lot of guys think they can get away with crap because they know that the girl will just sigh and turn her head, saying that boys will be boys. And if the girl is going to silently accept his porn habit or whatever it is, then he has no reason to stop. But if the girl puts her hand up and says no, the guy has to choose between his behavior and the girl, and much of the time he’ll choose the girl and become a better man because of it.

    We can’t give men a blank check to do whatever they want. But that’s sadly where society is headed with all this moral relativism and free license.

  5. Well said Dee! Once I got married, I was surprised to discover that while men do have strong sexual urges, they’re actually human and can control themselves. Imagine that.

    However, I blame religious teachings (in my case Jewish teachings – notice I don’t say Judaism since I blame the teachers) for making us religious Jews get the impression that men are wildly out of control. Yes, it’s important to have boundaries, but let’s give them a little credit.

    As for porn: in my opinion, a man who looks at porn is cheating on his spouse/partner. Why is it ok for a man to satisfy his sexual urges from images of other women, but not from having actual sex with real women? It’s not. It’s also insulting to the man’s partner; it’s like he’s saying “thanks babe, I think you’re nice, smart, and even pretty and it’s great hanging out with you. But I’m not completely sexually satisfied with you, so please excuse me while I do my thing with this magazine.”

    Give me a break. But like you said, a lot of these problems come down to women not having enough self-respect. We also seem to have been conditioned to think that if a man isn’t beating us, we should be grateful for whatever he is. No! Women: you are justified to expect more. So demand it.

  6. I agree with your point of view Deena. The phrases that come to my mind are gatekeeper and “balancing force.” Men certainly do behave differently around women particularly ones that they are interested in, but this is not necessarily a bad thing.
    Being a gentleman is a learned habit if you will. There are men who never learn this habit because the women around them never teach it. As they get older they try to find women who are not very good gatekeepers and they try to get away with as much as possible. These days it seems that is not hard to find so the behavior continues.
    Even worse I feel like a recent trend is that women are not only looking the other way but are in fact consciously or subconsciously looking for the bad boys and the good guys see this, are discouraged and eventually abandon their ways.

  7. Oh and as for the issue of sexual urges, I can only speak from a guys point of view but yeah I defiantly feel that they can be quite strong. If women only knew the half of it, they would be totally disgusted. But this doesn’t excuse bad behavior in any way. It is good (sometimes I think essential) for women to be aware of the stronger nature of such urges, but that doesn’t mean they should compromise on their values or do something they are not comfortable with.
    Ultimately urges can be controlled. This thing reminds me of the whole discussion about the Tsadik, the Rasha and the Beinoni in the Tanya. I feel ill-equipped to go into a full explanation of the topic as I only learned it myself recently and I am not well versed in Chassidus, but feel free to look it up. Ultimately we should realize that NEARLY ALL of us will always have the animal soul and just need to learn to control it.

  8. A (male) friend wrote this but asked that if I wanted to post it, it be posted anonymously. I think it’s such an interesting perspective so here it is:

    A girl can bring out the better aspects of a guy, but she can’t change him. I think it is actually kinda dangerous for a girl to think that she can help him be better ’cause at the end of the day she is not going to change him. In fact, I think that a lot of girls end up in bad relationships and ultimately bad marriages because of that kind of thinking.

    When it comes down to it, I think that your comments say more about girls than guys. The deal is that, generally, guys are more free to be who they are and, in a lot of cases, they are going to feel more free to do what they want to do. Your comments are a lot about women, ’cause the undertone is that women either don’t feel like they have that same freedom, or they actually don’t have that freedom. Deep down, I don’t think that girls are really all that different … they aren’t any better or worse.

    So, in my opinion, a nice girl is only going to end up with a great guy if he is really a great guy. If they also have chemistry and they care for eachother, then they will bring out the best in eachother … but only becuase those “best” aspects were already there waiting to express themselves. People need to find people who they can have that with. It makes it all the much harder to be single and Jewish in Vancouver!

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