Boys Will Be Boys

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CSS 2023 Solved Essay | Boys Will Be Boys

Dr Aimeen, a CSS qualifier and Sir Syed Kazim Ali student, has attempted the CSS 2023 essay “Boys Will Be Boys” on the given pattern, which Sir Syed Kazim Ali teaches his students. Sir Syed Kazim Ali has been Pakistan’s top English writing and CSS, PMS essay and precis coach with the highest success rate of his students. The essay is uploaded to help other competitive aspirants learn and practice essay writing techniques and patterns to qualify for the essay paper.

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Outline

1- Introduction
The rhetorical idea of ‘boys will be boys’ mentality contributes to the perpetuation of toxic masculinity in a society, jeopardising the worth of gender egalitarianism and, consequently, making this hackneyed concept a staple of popular culture with an underlying directive of destructive stereotypes and begets an aggressive, unemotional, and unacceptable behaviour of boys.

2- Debunking the statement, ‘‘boys will be boys.’’

3- How does toxic masculinity relentlessly excavate the extent to which the world community is complicit in creating, reinforcing, and perpetuating a “boys will be boys” mindset?

Argument: By conditioning boys into entitlement, privilege, and power with the promotion of toxic norms

  • Case in Point: The brutal murder of Noor Muqaddam and the enabling environment provided by Zahir Jaffer’s parents and friends allowed him to think that anybody who denies him whatever he wants deserves the worst punishment

Argument: By creating a very narrow, rigid idea of what it means to be a man

  • Case in Point: In his book ‘The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity and Love,’ Hooks writes “The first act of violence that patriarchy demands of males is not violence toward women. Instead, patriarchy demands of all males that they engage in acts of psychic self-mutilation, that they kill off the emotional parts of themselves.”

✓ Argument: By showing the embracement of abuse, rape culture, and men’s rights nonsense via pop culture and the media industry

  • Case in point: The intimidating behaviour and unfair treatment of women allowed by then CEO of Sony Music Australia, Denise Handlin, by describing it as a “boys’ club environment”

Argument: By using not all men-a frustrating modern campaign- as a retort to outright the entire sexist approach

  • Case in point:  As per the saying of social activist and writer Jameela Jamil, “It’s true that not all men harm women. But do all men work to ensure their fellow men do not harm women? Do they interrupt troubling language and behaviour in others? Do they talk about women’s safety/consent with their sons?”

✓ Argument: By pacifying the improper, stereotyped understanding of manliness and, yet again, starting a tug-of-war between the two genders

  • Case in point: A considerable backlash erupted after Gillette launched a new ad campaign channelling the Me-too movement and undercutting toxic masculinity

Argument: By showing an apathetic attitude of victim-blaming

  • Case in point: The remarks given by the Police Commissioner of Lahore on The Lahore Motorway Rape case, blaming the woman for driving alone at such late hours

Argument: By creating certain assumptions about manliness

  • Case in point: As per Collen Clemens, “The biology of men does not demand that they become assaulters, and it does not necessitate that they speak about women in vulgar ways. Our constructed beliefs about masculinity teach them that, to “man up,” they must perform their masculinity in aggressive ways—or have their masculinity questioned.”

Argument: By entrenching this rhetoric as mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives

  • Case in point: The United States First Lady Melania Trump, the then President Donald Trump’s wife, publically dismissed her husband’s derogatory and demeaning remarks about women as ‘boy talk’

4- Suggesting a blueprint for a more egalitarian society with instrumental steps
5- Critical analysis
6- Conclusion

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The cliché concept of ‘boys will be boys’ is followed worldwide as part and parcel of what it means to be a man. It perpetuates gender stereotypes and excuses the discriminatory behaviour of boys, leading to a cultural tolerance for toxic masculinity. Today, the entire world, without re-evaluating the impact of this mindset, is afraid of girls and women getting hurt, and no one seems to be scared that the boys, with this very mentality, might be the ones to do it. For instance, in the case of the brutal murder and beheading of Noor Muqaddam, Zahir Jaffer’s parents have provided him with an enabling environment and a sense of power and prestige, allowing him to commit such a heinous crime. Suffice it to say, the negative impacts of this mindset are also eminent from the embracement of rape and abuse culture, victim blaming, psychic self-mutilation, and the contrasting ways in which both boys and girls are brought up. On the other hand, the controversial issues linked with feminism, either directly or indirectly, provide insight into the fact that feminists also have been using women’s cards for their own agendas. However, those controversies undeniably, do not hold water in front of this engraved, hackneyed patriarchal approach. Hence, there is a dire need to refocus on how the world society must set a blueprint for boys to be raised in a more healthy, answerable, and gender-egalitarian community. This essay argues how has ‘boys will be boys’ mentality become a get-out-of-jail-free card for men’s unacceptable behaviour and why the hard-nosed, destructive, and toxic attitude of boys must not be excused on the grounds of this entrenched rhetorical concept. 

“The boys in our homes and classrooms deserve better, and we, as the adults in their lives, must work to dismantle the cultural messages and societal structures that promote toxic masculinity.”

Collen Clemens– The director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Kutztown University, Pennsylvania

Theoretically, the statement ‘boys will be boys’ is an excuse for young males’ bad behaviour, implying that boys are naturally inclined towards toxic traits and cannot help themselves. This whole notion is not only harmful but also incorrect. All individuals, regardless of gender, can make conscious choices and exercise self-control. By suggesting otherwise, the world community reinforces harmful gender stereotypes and normalizes boys’ odd and intolerant behaviour, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. So, it has been long enough that the world is lingering on the shores of these myths, and now is the crucial time to step towards promoting equality and mutual respect for all.

In order to excavate the facets fabricating this concept, it is imperative to analyze the extent to which the world community is involved in creating and perpetuating the ‘boys will be boys’ belief system. To begin with, the noxious concept of toxic masculinity has made its way through the enabling process through which society conditions boys into entitlement, privilege, and power. Families and communities play a significant role in enabling gender-based violence in men by reinforcing traditional gender roles, normalizing violence, and valuing a culture of dominance and control. To illustrate, the brutal murder of Noor Muqaddam is one such example. Although such murderers and perpetrators, in most cases, are labelled as monsters, the fact is that they are normal humans and not animals whose actions are propelled by this hackneyed viewpoint. Consequently, when violence is seen as an acceptable solution to the conflict or a way to assert power, boys and men internalize these beliefs and use violence to maintain their manliness.

“Who comprises the society? Obviously, your first circle of society are your parents, extended family, and friends, the people who work with you and work for you. And if we look at how the events unfolded (in the case of Zahir Jaffer), everyone in that circle enabled him to do what he did.”

Afia Salam, senior journalist and media trainer

Next to it, the traditional gender norms and expectations can create a dangerously limited idea of what it means to be a man. When masculinity is narrowly defined as strong, unemotional, and dominant, it can lead to harmful behaviour, such as violence and aggression, and discourage boys from expressing emotions and vulnerability. In a gender-egalitarian society, men can express themselves authentically without facing any pressure to be acceptable to the world. However, this narrow definition of masculinity, on the other hand, can limit men’s experiences and opportunities in life. For instance, boys are told from the beginning that it’s a girly thing to cry or express emotions in front of others and that a man does not feel any pain or emotion. As per the saying of Hooks, “patriarchy and its insidious messaging teach boys to cut off the emotional parts of themselves, but if the world as their protector does nothing to stop this, then it might as well be the one handing them the knives.” Thus, by doing this, the world community creates a dangerous perception of manly behaviour and attitude that, eventually, gets engraved in them.

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Furthermore, when the media depicts aggressive and violent behaviour towards women or other marginalized groups as heroic, it sends a dangerous message to boys and girls. It glamorizes the concept of power imbalance and the toxic attitude of men, allowing the violence to continue. For instance, the then CEO of Sony Music Australia, Denise Handlin, glamorized women’s intimidating and intolerant treatment, for decades, by describing it as a “boys’ club environment” until multiple complaints were finally registered and acted upon. Although there have been certain series – Inkar, a Pakistani drama serial inspired by Khadija Siddique’s Case, depicting the ‘No means No’ perception – circulating online and empowering women to stand up against such behaviour, the culture of ‘bad boy’ behaviour is, undeniably, so trivialized in the society that it has minimized the impact of abuse in the pop culture. Thus, this ‘boys will be boys’ mentality is evident from embracing men’s rights nonsense through popular culture. 

Likewise, the “Not All Men” response is a common defence used by many individuals, particularly men, to deflect attention away from the broader issue of the ‘boys will be boys’ attitude and systematic sexism. While it is true that not all men engage in sexist behaviour, this entire viewpoint misses the root cause. The issue is not about individual men but society’s systemic biases and power imbalances. As per the saying of social activist and writer Jameela Jamil, “It is true that not all men harm women. But do all men work to ensure their fellow men do not harm women? Do they interrupt troubling language and behaviour in others? Do they talk about women’s safety/consent with their sons?” Arguably, men should not get to exclude themselves from the wrong side unless they are actively fighting on the right side. Thus, by using this argument, the actual conversation gets derailed, eventually hindering progress towards equality.

“While not all men are sexist, all women face the impact of sexism in some way or the other; so, the point is that there is a massive problem to be solved, and you can be a big part of the solution.”

Lawra Bates

Suffice it to say the apathetic attitude of victim-blaming points to society’s patriarchal mindset. It encourages the ‘boys will be boys’ viewpoint and promotes Gender Based Violence (GBV) crimes. Unfortunately, not all men’s movements are picking heat in the 21st century, while virtually all women still bear the blame for crimes committed against them. To elaborate, the remarks given by the CCPO Lahore on the Lahore motorway gang-rape case, blaming the woman for driving alone at such late hours, shows the entrenched rhetoric of sexism. It depicts that if a woman gets raped or murdered, it is primarily her mistake; that is why she was present at the crime scene in the first place. Consequently, the blame game plays a role in furthering the cliché mentality that boys will be boys. 

Adding more, whenever someone challenges this destructive sexist approach, the boys will be boys approach leads to a tug of war between the two genders. It is because most people take these efforts to promote a more constructive understanding of masculinity as an attack on themselves. One of the many case points is the backlash that erupted after Gillette launched a new ad campaign channelling the Me-too movement and undercutting toxic masculinity. On the one hand, the men, and even many women, outrightly opposed the campaign by claiming that the ad tarnished all men’s images with a single brush. But conversely, proponents of the ad argue that it is imperative to challenge this hackneyed concept and promote a more positive, inclusive definition of masculinity. So, the fact that the advertisement under debate has drawn such colossal criticism from people across the globe shows that this ‘boys will be boys’ mentality is a global problem. 

Moving ahead, the constructed beliefs of society and the assertion that the boys need to ‘man up’ also plays a considerable role in affirming this rhetoric. Arguably, boys are not born with disdain for girls and have an unapologetic and tender side to them. However, society forces this tenderness out of boys like it punishes forthrightness in girls, rebranding them as ‘sissy’ and ‘bossy’. As aptly said by Collen Clemens, “The biology of men does not demand that they become assaulters, and it does not necessitate that they speak about women in vulgar ways. Our constructed beliefs about masculinity teach them that, to “man up,” they must perform their masculinity in aggressive ways—or have their masculinity questioned.” Thus, one can say that these societal beliefs are complicit in creating and reinforcing a ‘boys will be boys’ approach. 

Finally, women as mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives often bear the brunt of toxic masculinity in their personal and professional lives. They are told to accept all kinds of abuse – such as derogatory remarks, sexual harassment, domestic violence, infidelity, and sexist comments – because it is just how men are. For instance, the United States First Lady Melania Trump, then President Donald Trump’s wife, publically dismissed her husband’s derogatory and demeaning remarks about women as ‘boy talk’. Contrarily, one must acknowledge that not all men exhibit toxic masculinity and cannot be attributed solely to one gender. However, there is an inherited culture for women to internalize negative comments and beliefs about themselves perpetuated by men in positions of authority, such as their husbands, brothers, and fathers. It sometimes leads to a self-perpetuating cycle of low self-esteem for women. As a result, this culture of demeaning comments and disrespect contributes to normalizing gender-based violence.

Considering the aforementioned precarious factors, there is a dire need to challenge this stereotyped approach and replace it with an inclusive and empowering belief system that encourages boys to develop positive attitudes, especially towards the opposite gender. By challenging these limited and harmful ideas of masculinity, the world community can create a more inclusive and equitable society where everyone, regardless of gender, can express themselves authentically without taking any pressure. So, practical measures such as creating awareness via social media and electronic media campaigns and defying this mentality at homes, offices, local communities, and globally have become the prerequisites. Hence, teaching children, particularly boys, about consent and respectful behaviour towards women and fostering a culture of empathy and equality should be the pressing priority for all societies globally. 

To articulate critically, the ‘boys will be boys’ mentality is problematic. However, it is also imperative to recognize that it is not a universal truth. Arguably, not all boys and men engage in toxic masculine behaviour, and not all men can be defined based on this concept. On the other hand, men, however, cannot exclude themselves from the wrong side unless they are actively fighting on the right side. Furthermore, it nips the emotions of empathy, emotional intelligence, and healthy relationships in the bud as it fails to make men realize the worth of gender egalitarianism. Thus, in a robust discussion analysis, one can deduce that using this phrase has real-world severe consequences, and the world community must stop it.

Boys are somewhere at a crossroads between the old rhetoric of what masculinity means and the new era of its concept. Unfortunately, it becomes a staple of popular culture with an underlying directive of destructive stereotypes and perpetuates aggressive, unemotional, and unacceptable boys’ behaviour. Nonetheless, it is high time that the world must acknowledge that all individuals, irrespective of gender, are accountable for their actions. Thus, instead of entrenching toxic gender norms like this, one should encourage young boys to embrace positive attitudes and traits. Only then the world community can create a gender-egalitarian society that acknowledges equality, promotes respect, and reinforces the implementation of policies encouraging non-violent behaviours and creating a bit of safe space for the victims of this hackneyed rhetoric of boys will be boys. 

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