Here & there: Hey Harvey Weinstein, this is how real boys will be boys

Boy with a homemade bow and arrow in the Mihatovici refugee camp. Image from the war and conflict photography exhibit in Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik, Croatia. September 8, 2017 | Image courtesy of Kat Dayton, St. George News

OPINION — No more “boys will be boys.” Harvey Weinstein and Roger Allies, among others, have ruined that phrase.

Gross. Lecherous. Unconscionable. Those are the phrases that really come to mind when I think of those two. And the others like them.

Men in power who use that power to exploit others who are without it and vulnerable are not real men. They’re not real boys.

I know real boys. I’m raising three of them.

And when we talk about “boys will be boys,” I think of boys building mud castles at the park and making truck sounds while they play with their French toast sticks and needing a break to toss the football in the front yard between doing their math homework and their piano practice.

I think of boys who laugh at Captain Underpants and boys who make swords out of – everything.

I also think about the refugee boy with a homemade bow and arrow standing in the middle of a field pointing his wares up at an empty sky at the Mihatovici refugee camp for Srebrenica survivors.

The image was part of a traveling photography exhibit about several recent world conflicts from the Eastern Europe and Africa.  It was housed temporarily in a small, upstairs gallery up a long, narrow alley off a main square in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and advertised by only a small sign hanging from the entrance.

There were hundreds of compelling photographs in the exhibit: intimate headshots of deeply-lined faces and eyes that seemed to have seen it all; dead bodies left like forgotten papers on the street, shoes askew; entire neighborhoods of rubbled buildings.

It was all tragic. And heartbreaking. And powerful.

But the image I keep thinking about is that little boy with his wooden bow, juxtaposed with the expanse of the grey sky.

I imagine this little boy, a little boy housed in a refugee camp, was fighting innumerable physical and emotional obstacles then. His image now conveys that – and it also makes me think about how, among it all, he was still a little boy.  Playing with a bow and arrow. He was a boy being a boy. And that is a beautiful thing. A hopeful thing, even.

So let’s not let the Harvey Weinsteins of the world redefine what it means to be a boy, or a man.  Let us choose to cultivate the notion of “boys being boys” in its truest and purest sense:  lovely, thoughtful, funny, silly and physical creatures who, while liking to play with sticks and mud and bows and arrows, are also respectful, sensitive and decent human beings. No, good human beings.

Yes, boys will be boys, indeed.  Let’s make it a compliment.  Let’s make it an aspiration.  Let’s redefine it entirely.

Kat Dayton is a columnist for St. George News, any opinions given are her own and not representative of St. George News.

Email: katdayton@gmail.com | news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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2 Comments

  • Ladyk October 16, 2017 at 5:36 am

    The “boys will be boys” was ruined a long time before Weinstein, Ailes, Bill Clinton, a JFK and even Trump. There wasn’t one place that I worked or school I attended where I wasn’t told if I would only do one thing then my life would be easier or my grade higher or my raise would be better. In modeling school I saw it play out with several different girls who were informed that for one little favor they would receive the best paying jobs. There is a reason prostitution is called the world’s oldest profession. Men seem to have this thing that tells them that they can take what they want and that if the girl only protests a little bit or dosent stop him from pushing to the next base strong enough that they can just continue to advance. How many of you were told no or stop or please don’t do that only to keep trying to push it to convince her to let you? Now we teach our daughters that it is wrong to let you do it but you are going to try over and over and over and that well “boys will be boys”. As i raise my 17 year old daughter she is actually afraid to date because she doesn’t want some guy trying to touch her just because she agreed to kiss him. I have specifically tried to not to scare her over this but to let her know that it is enevatable and to just simply tell him no because those special moments should be saved for marriage. You tell yourselves that it is ok to try and even if she says no that you can keep trying because that’s what you are suposto do. That stop or no doesn’t really mean it. How many girls think about guys like this when they teach their daughters what dating is like? How many of you are worried about what your daughters are going to experience because you know first hand what guys are like? Why is it ok, I really want to know how you justify it in your own mind? What should we be teaching our daughters how to avoid the worst possible guys? How many little Harvey Weinsteins are out there. Would you even recognize yourselves if you were one?

    We must find a different way of behaving. There are girls out there who don’t mind this kind of game and I know you are going to ask how will you know which girl the next one you encounter is, is she one of the ones that doesn’t mind this kind of behavior? Trust me, she will let you know. You won’t have to wonder very long. As for the rest of us, please keep your hands to yourselves and teach your son’s to do the same. Boys being boys doesn’t have to mean they are predators looking for a victim. Let them be boys but teach them what a gentleman is.

  • Travis October 17, 2017 at 7:11 am

    Weinstein, Ailes, Bolling, Trump, Clinton, etc………PIGS, not boys!

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