It’s only a bit of fun. They’re just having a laugh. They don’t mean anything by it. Boys will be boys.
And everyone else’s heart breaks.
Recently I’ve felt myself losing patience with those sayings; the attempt to gloss over blatant misdemeanours. I overhear people making racist, bigoted or sexist comments, excusing the offence with a laugh.
That is how prejudice stays alive – resuscitated with laughter. But as time goes on, it’s becoming less and less funny.
I’m sure if you think back you will remember quite clearly the cruel, laughing words somebody once sent in your direction. I can still see the girl’s face and hear the boy’s snigger. Twenty-five years has not wiped that from my memory. Of course, it’s easier to forget when you’re the one who is behaving badly. All of us are guilty of that. I sometimes see the faces of people I’ve deliberately excluded, or the heads I looked over to find someone better to talk to. But never as clearly as the ones who hurt me.
What does the saying, ‘boy will be boys’ cover up? I’m pretty certain that there is a wreckage of women’s hearts and self-respect beneath those glib four words. ‘They’re just having a laugh’ cuts deep into somebody. And like my vague recollection of the people I’ve ever ‘unintentionally’ offended, the ‘boys’ swagger on oblivious. Tragically, it costs them nothing, but there is a price paid by the people they walk away from.
Mocking the disabled is another example, shockingly demonstrated by the ‘boy’ American president, who also made a joke out of a woman’s difficult account of abuse. He is watched by the world, and we’re outraged. But. Have we not committed similar offences in our own hidden thoughts? The wisest person that ever lived once taught that what happens in our hearts is as much of a deal as the visible act.
It seems to me that we need more real men and more respected, cherished women in the world. Next time somebody says, ‘it’s only a joke’ how about not laughing, and taking it seriously. How about being the bigger person.
So I say, it is a big deal, stop laughing, think about what you’re doing and