Letter: Men must outgrow ‘boys-will-be-boys’

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As a woman, a sister to two brothers, a mother to a son and as a timeline cohort to Edgar Allen Beem, I want to tell him that I am energized and hopeful about the current historic dynamic going on between the sexes.

When Beem says: “I’m afraid most men are dogs, sniffing around and prone to stray” (“The Universal Notebook: I believe the women, but …”), he hits a nerve with many of the women I know. An age-old “boys-will-be-boys” mentality has allowed men to make unwanted comments about women’s bodies and to make sexual advances without consent.

My younger brother is 65 and he recently reminded me that as a boy he heard the men around him referring to women as broads and much worse. I wonder what words young boys are hearing the men in their lives using about women? If men really want to clean up the culture of “male chauvinist pigs” (a term used by Beem), it will happen in the company of men calling each other out and challenging each other to new and better behavior.

Patricia O’Connell

  • EdBeem

    I would never defend boys being boys, but I am concerned that the #metoo phenomenon just has our culture going from one extreme to another and neither extreme looks like anything like justice. For too long, we have ignored women and empowered men as harassers. Now, suddenly, all accusations are true, all accused men are instantly guilty and all are equally guilty whether rapists or back-rubbers. What we need is a system of due process that establishes the facts in individual cases and hands out appropriate punishment.