I’m so disheartened and horrified by all the places and people I see promoting the idea that boys, especially teenage boys, are slimy scum just waiting to mess with the innocent girls who pass their way. It’s not just the media, it’s not just Facebook and Tumblr. I hear this from people around me. I hear this from parents of boys. I hear this from parents of girls. I hear this in church, I hear this at boys’ groups, I hear this at girls’ groups. I read this in books and see it in movies.
As a innocent girl who fell into one boy’s trap, I feel like I have the right to say this:
Not all boys are like that.
Yes, there are boys like that. But that is not all of them. And I’ve been burned; I don’t play with fire. But consider this:
They are shy, and frightened, and bashful. They are awkward and clumsy and trying to figure out life while trapped in a pair of sneakers that fit last week but don’t fit now because they grew again. They are brilliant and creative and logical and strong and emotional and passionate and gentle. They smell like sawdust or books or boy sweat, or sometimes all three at once which is a little awkward. They hold the door open for me, they get upset when they see me carrying something heavy and want to take it to help me, they care so deeply that it scares them and they don’t know how to express it. They have such gentle touch for hands so big and clumsy.
If they are always treated as scum, they will be scum. If we, the females, the adults, the other boys, the people around them, never expect anything better from them, what could possibly motivate them to be any better?
Again, I know both sides of the coin here.
We need to teach our girls to speak, we need to teach them to protect themselves, we need to teach boys and girls both that no means no and that is that. We need to stop this notion that boys can’t help it and that it’s just the way they are because that is not true. That is not true. THAT IS NOT TRUE.
I was molested by one boy. One boy out of hundreds I have known, dozens I have been that close to. One out of hundreds. What happened to me was inexcusable, and I am still scarred from it, but that doesn’t make every single boy I know a potential attacker. They’re better than that and I know it.
Boys are capable of being so much more but by blanketing them in this mentality, we are hurting them. We are trapping them. We are damaging them and we are shoving any hope they have of being a decent human being down the gutter.
Protect the girls, yes. Please, for the love of all that you hold holy, protect them. Don’t let my sisters hurt the same way I do. Don’t let this happen to them too.
Protect the boys. Protect them from this kind of hurt, too. Boys are vulnerable too. Protect them from the idea that they are superior. Protect them from the idea that they are inferior. Teach them to respect other human beings regardless of age, size, gender, race, belief, or any other feature – they are a human. Treat them as such.
Boys are human. Treat them as such.
I will defend my sisters.
And you’d better believe I will defend my brothers too.
Because they deserve better than what they have been thrust into. They deserve more than being punished and threatened and verbally attacked by my relatives because they are my friend and they are male. They deserve more than being watched suspiciously from the corner of your eye because they are a male person that fits into your stereotype of teenage boys.
Boys, you deserve more than being slime and scum. You are so much more. I believe in you. I love you. I’m here for you.
You’ve told me to be a princess; to straighten my crown and stand up like I mean it.
You deserve the chance to be a prince, to wear your crown proudly and bear yourself with honor and pride and respect.
You taught me to fight, to defend myself, to say NO.
I will fight for you if you need me to.
~Love, Butterfly Emergent~