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Why “boys will be boys” is a myth—and a harmful one at that

“Boys will be boys.” It’s a phrase that's often used to describe the mischievous, competitive, or aggressive behaviour of some boys and men. However, when we use this phrase, we may not realize that we're helping to perpetuate a stereotype. In an era of increasing rates of suicide and violence among boys and young men, our cultural fixation on men being strong, autonomous, and emotionless deserves to be reevaluated. Adolescent development researcher Niobe Way has spent decades interviewing adolescent boys about their feelings, relationships, and the expectations they face to “man up” as they grow up. Her research findings highlight the fact that boys, like all humans, are empathic and yearn for close friendships more than anything else. Watch Niobe’s 2018 TEDMED Talk to understand how reimagining boys in the 21st century will free them, as well as everyone else, to see their own humanity and the humanity of others.

Credit: TEDMED

Date: 2019