Why Can’t Boys Be Boys?

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Why Can't Boys Be Boys?


Let’s accept boys who don’t behave like typical boys and
those who do.

A friend was telling me about his 4-year-old grandson who,
at a bookstore, wanted my friend to buy him a book in the Pinkalicious series.
As the name implies, these are definitely not in the typical genre of boys’
books. My friend immediately bought it for him.

We had a similar experience with one of our grandsons, who,
seeing a bunch of toys, asked for one that was very colorful and
delicate-looking. “I know it’s a girl’s toy,” he said, “but I want it.” My wife
and I bought it for him at once, without for one second giving him a hard time
about it.

I am totally on board with the idea that boys shouldn’t be
shamed for showing an interest in “girly” things. But they shouldn’t be shamed
for showing traditional gender preferences either.
And these days this is the case in many circles, as shown by the attack on the
expression: “boys will be boys.”

The onslaught against “boys will be boys” goes hand in hand
with the concept of “toxic masculinity.” Take a look at the 2019 APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice With Boys and Men;
the highly controversial 2019 Gillette
commercial
—extolling, among other things, a father breaking up a “fight”
between two boys who look to be no more than five; or Peggy Orenstein’s recent
piece in The Atlantic, “The Miseducation of the American…

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