boys will be boys.

From the time we started kindergarten

and boys began to pull our hair

and poke our stomachs

and chase us at recess,

we were told it’s because they like us

and boys will be boys,

there’s nothing we can do.

By the time we’re fourteen

and boys begin to call us names,

our worth became defined

by solely what we wore.

Too little and you were a slut.

Too much and you were a priss.

But what about our intelligence,

our athleticism, our kindness,

our creativity, our opinions?

Those weren’t taken into account

because boys will be boys,

and there’s nothing we can do.

At the young age of sixteen,

they began to send us home from school

because our shoulders were bare

or our skirts were not fingertip length

or our collarbones were showing

or our pants were too tight.

We distracted the boys

from learning in the classroom.

But what about our educations?

How can we learn

when we’re pulled out of class

and sent home

for expressing ourselves

or wanting to be comfortable?

Now instead of focusing on school,

we spend more time

learning ways to make a skirt longer

or a shirt rise higher at the neckline

or a strap cover our whole shoulder

because suddenly,

our education wasn’t as important as theirs.

But boys will be boys,

and there’s nothing we can do.

Then we turn eighteen

and we’re living on our own.

We learn to fend for ourselves

and protect ourselves

because there are always men

who stare a little too long

and walk a little too close,

and we keep our hands

on the bottle of pepper spray we bought

for nights like these

because boys will be boys,

and there’s nothing we can do.

By the time we’re twenty,

the wolf whistles and cat calls

and the men that stare too long

and walk too close

become more aggressive.

And our little bottle of pepper spray is not enough.

And one night they get their way.

They strip us bare

and muffle our screams with their hands,

so later they can say

they never heard us say no,

they never heard us refuse,

so we must have wanted it,

asked for it,

liked it.

And we will scream once again,

and we will tell our side of the story,

even though this was not a story to be told,

it was our life.

We will tell them how these bruises on our hips

didn’t come from ourselves,

how these scratches on our thighs

didn’t come from our own nails,

how these scarring memories

didn’t come from a dream,

how we screamed no, no, no,

but no one heard,

just as no one hears now.

Because they’ll listen

but they won’t believe,

they won’t understand,

they’ll tell us

boys will be boys,

and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.


  • m.f.

**if you have ever been sexually assaulted or harassed or you’ve experienced something that you didn’t want to, please speak up about it. Know that there are people who will support you and stand behind you as you take a stand against these awful people in our world. 


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