Yes to some of this, but still one of the worst things you can say to a boy is that he’s like a girl. I wrote a story about how men are actually the more emotional ones and provided citations to scientific research. The vehement backlash from some men was quite telling. To allow yourself to have and express emotions is largely considered to be both feminine and weak.

Also, 90% of women are raped by someone they know and 1 in 6 women will be raped. Many boys and men still view women as prey, even if it’s only subconsciously. Patriarchy is at its core, a dominance hierarchy that is about much more than male/female relations. Boys are encouraged to be stoic, dominant and aggressive because they are taught that it’s a dog-eat-dog zero-sum world and if you don’t win, you lose. Girls buy into this too, but not in quite the same way.

“When Nicole Bedera, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Michigan, interviewed male college students in 2015, each could articulate at least a rudimentary definition of the concept (of consent): the idea that both parties wanted to be doing what they were doing. Most also endorsed the current “yes means yes” standard, which requires active, conscious, continuous and freely given agreement by all parties engaging in sexual activity. Yet when asked to describe their own most recent encounters in both a hookup and in a relationship, even men who claimed to practice affirmative consent often had not.”

The social system of patriarchy, built on a dominance hierarchy where only a few elites are near the apex of the pyramid, is a much larger factor than any power differentials between men and women, and it’s something that women participate in upholding as well. “Patriarchy is generally not an explicit ongoing effort by men to dominate women. It is a long-standing system that we are born into and participate in, mostly unconsciously.

We start socializing boys and girls differently from day one, or even sometimes before that, with the dreaded “gender reveal party.” Human beings are more alike than they are different but social norms related to patriarchy are still very deeply in place.

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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