Beyond the banter: More than just boys being boys

SUSAN K. SMITH | 11/7/2016, 9:48 a.m.
It has been quite interesting, listening to people, male and female, mostly White but some Black as well, defend Donald ...
Susan K Smith

Crazy Faith Ministries

It has been quite interesting, listening to people, male and female, mostly White but some Black as well, defend Donald Trump in light of the latest controversy swirling around him: his conversation with Billy Bush in 2005 about some of his sexual practices and beliefs.

What the tapes reveal is not surprising; Trump has “shown who he is” enough over the past year. While he touts his “good treatment” of women, his words have shown something different. He has come off as a spoiled, privileged, entitled, juvenile, arrogant college fraternity boy, used to using and abusing women and getting away with it. As Bush is heard in the background, snickering at Trump’s lewd comments, it was reminiscent of conversations I heard amongst fraternity boys when I was in college, with “wannabes” supporting crude behavior because they wanted to “belong.” To go against the popular boys, the jocks, would have almost assured the wannabes that they would never belong.

The banter, then and now, was sloughed off. If boys were talking like that, they were just “being boys.” If a woman was raped, it only happened because “she wanted it.” From middle school on, I saw boys turn into young men who embarrassed young girls because of the way they looked. I saw their actions and heard their words berating young girls because of their weight and their overall looks. I watched not only the wannabe guys laugh and support them, but the wannabe popular girls, too, let these guys get away with being crude and rude.

These guys threw their capacity to have sex with women around like the information was candy being distributed from a pinata. The more girls they had sex with, and could brag about, the more arrogant they became. The frat parties were always good places to have a sexual encounter with a willing or unwilling girl “wanting to belong.” It was the culture. It is still the culture.

What is most troubling in all that has been revealed about what Trump said and did in his sexual world is not that he did it, but that there are people, male and female, who are all too willing to forgive it, saying in essence that he was just being “a boy” doing what “boys” do. That women are defending him is even more egregious than is the fact that men are on his wagon.

It is a fact that people who are oppressed sometimes willingly participate in their own oppression. By not standing up for justice, by not being willing to get into the ring and fight injustice until it is defeated, the oppressed virtually let the oppressors have their way. While this is not an indictment of all males, it is a fact that for too long, the “boys will be boys” rationale has been used by men and women to let oppressive sexual behavior go unchallenged in far too many cases. “Boys being boys” is simply a euphemism for predatory sexual behavior to go unabated, acts of power which have led too often to horrific rapes of women. The culture has defended the apparent reality that men with hard penises are just acting as a man with a hard penis would act. We, the demographic group most affected by their raging power needs, have been told in essence to get over it. “Boys will be boys,” women have been told. It is what it is.