Top positive review
Actively Thinking About this Stuff is Important
7 November 2018
Boys Will Be Boys was an interesting read - more, for me, like a mutually-indignant chat with an intelligent friend about one aspect of the problems with the world today than a scholarly work. There were some great figures I hadn't yet come across - I looked up the Geena Davis Institute and used some of their stats about perceived representation in a monthly report to our Board of Directors (one of the areas we deal with is family violence - alongside our service stats I try to provide something a bit thought-provoking: it's often difficult to find something relevant, educative and reflective of the wider Society issues every month) - though a bit more scholarly footnoting would have been useful for me.
I suppose that over time I have come to understand that one of the 'rights' of being in a privileged group - and I'm white and middle-class in Australia, so on the world measure I'm pretty damn lucky - is the 'right' not to have to think about it: not think about why things are as they are, who benefits from that and how, who loses out from it and how, and whether that requires me to do something different. And whether the overall effect is to harm society as a whole. I know I am lazy and don't do a lot of what I really should - I don't always think carefully about things, I haven't revolutionised my life over climate change, given my last dollar to lower socio-economic groups, or housed the homeless in my own town, and so forth - but some of those things are really hard and there isn't always a good solid basis for what would be effective. But I have seen that gender (and other baseless forms of ) discrimination does cause harm to women, men and children, and if thinking about things a bit more and changing how I do a few things will ensure that my nephew never gets himself into this kind of trouble or damages his relationships or gets suicidal or suffers a friend's suicide and my niece (or, being less 'tribal' - anyone else's children) faces less of that and hopeless double-binds less often than she would otherwise, then it's definitely worth feeling slightly uncomfortable about how my part in society may have perpetuated a few significant problems. This book can help you think. Not, I hasten to add, replace the need for you to think by indoctrinating you with femi-nazi ideas, but give you a few new perspectives to consider.
There was one bit I found terribly depressing, which was a listing out of famous or powerful men who were accused of things like sexual assault, and the consequences they experienced. Or, more accurately, the almost entire lack of negative consequences over the rest of their careers. It really did suggest that we have a long way to go before we deal effectively with people who do harmful things to others, and that a lot of the 'backlash' against gender equality moves may be about people not liking to have to feel uncomfortable and think about things, rather than having a good basis for their complaints.