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"Boys Will Be Boys"

Updated: 4 days ago

TW: strong language and sexual assault mentioned

Dear Asian Youth,

“I believe that having a daughter does not make a man decent. Having a wife does not make a decent man. Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man. And when a decent man messes up, as we’re all bound to do, he tries his best and does apologize.”

New York representative AOC said this as she responded to Ted Yoho, her voice expressed clearly through the microphone, hands in front of her in a powerful stance. Wearing a sharp red blazer accompanied by bright red lipstick, she did not hesitate to speak her mind as she exposed the vast number of examples where men had degraded her as a government representative, a woman, a person of color, a daughter. Dark brown locks of hair cascaded over her back, behind her ears as if overwhelmed by the power Ocasio-Cortez held with her brilliant words. Prior to the speech, Ted Yoho had called her “disgusting, “crazy,” “dangerous.” These were words that a representative, someone who represents our beliefs and ideals, called Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Luckily for us, AOC is not a woman who can be put down by several rash and rude words, and instead, uses her position to help us. Because Ted Yoho didn’t just call her a “fucking bitch”––he was calling each of us women a “fucking bitch.” And for what?

As I listened to her speak, I laid still in my bedroom, staring at my screen, chilled. In many ways, she saw me––she explicitly and clearly explained how I felt about being a woman in the 21st century and the opportunities being a girl now gives me. I am lucky to be able to sit here and write this article without the threat of conservative men––some, not all––breathing down my neck and spitting, with stale breath, that I’m a traitor. But I also realize that we have a much longer path to navigate than we often realize because of how male supremacy has become so deeply ingrained in our culture.

Having a daughter does not make a man decent. Having a wife does not make a decent man. What AOC said on that day comforted me because it made me realize that not everyone believes in the normalities of boys being mean simply because they are boys, boys being rowdy because they are boys, boys being stupid because they are boys. After all, how much longer are we going to allow this behavior to continue?

A couple of days prior, tweets were going around saying “boys will be boys” was an entirely wrong mentality that we, as a society, have created and upheld. “Boys will be boys” commits to a long-lasting culture of misunderstanding, assault, and humiliation.

I think back to last summer when I learned how, a couple of years ago, a Stanford male student was caught on video raping a girl—it seems like the word “rape” has become stamped so permanently in our vocabulary that we throw it around without caution since it happens so often—and, despite the endless amounts of proof, the judge let the kid go. He came from a good family, had the “right” religious values, and was smart. Boys will be boys, right?