As a 'boy Mum', I've noticed such an overwhelming trend in almost anything from clothing, to books and television shows - boys are labelled as naughty. It's not even an opinion, it's a fact. Boys are completely negatively stereotyped in almost everything you see particularly when you compare them to girls which are more often than not given the 'sweet and innocent' brush. Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't all children sweet and innocent? I'm not stupid, my boys can be lary, rumbustious and adventurous but so was I when I was their age - and what on earth is wrong with that, they're children and I'd expect nothing else from them. What hurts though especially as a Mum of two incredibly soft, adoring and caring sons is that they're growing up in a world that is subliminally teaching them they're a little bit naughty and hard to handle.
If at this point you're thinking what on earth. Let's have a think to clothing slogans, now when I wander into the little girls sections which I have numerous times because A) I don't care what gender the clothes are labelled if I like something for my sons I get it and B) I of course have wondered if I'd have a daughter one day. Anyway, when I come across the t-shirts that say 'Daddys little princess' or 'Mummys angel' I think how lovely, how sweet, until I wander back into the boys and see I'm not quite greeted with the same it's more 'Mummys little monster' or 'I'm a terror' - nothing equal there and nothing even as subliminal as I thought. Shops pretty obviously brandish boys as naughty and I am not ok with that. It goes right back to poems such as 'Boys are made from slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails' where when you read 'Girls are made from sugar and spice and all things nice', it's hardly difficult to see who is getting the worse deal here. My second example, are books and television shows. I have a toddler, who like most his age is well into the likes of Bing!, Peter Rabbit, Fireman Sam etc. And until recently it completely skipped over my head that all of the 'naughty' characters are boys, Bing! never learns his lesson and is always up to something (or that god damn Pando) whereas the girls in each episode seem to be on some higher moral ground. Peter Rabbit has a sly old fox, always stealing things and generally being a pain - again he's male and Fireman Sam, yes you guessed it pyromaniac Normal - male. Shock horror, it continues as he'll grow Dora the Explora, Swiper the villian - male. Horrid Henry, always up to no good, male. The same continues into books, I vividly remember sitting in a doctors waiting room with John waiting for a scan last year, when I noticed a book called 'The Bad Sheep' I picked it up and without taking a glance inside I predicted the naughty character would be a boy, of course, I was right. If I can notice these labels and I'm not a boy myself (duh!) then I don't think it would take very long before my boys are clocking on to it too. It's unfair and it's encouraging a self fulfilling prophecy.
'So open your heart and give him a break, for it's moments like this, a man you can make.
Please keep this in mind, when you hear someone forget. He's just a little boy, not a man yet'
Lastly, I think you only have to search on social media to end up in a place where I'm gritting my teeth trying not to respond to such sexism and labelling. A few recently included 'Mums of boys, teach your sons to respect women', now of course I would be doing that, I teach my sons to respect everyone regardless of age, sex, gender, race. I felt it to be so offensive. My sons aren't even at school age and already it's assumed they're going to grow up disrespectful and rude, why aren't little girls being told to respect men? Isn't it a two way street. It's easy when you look at domestic violence facts that 89% of reported crimes are against women to assume that men don't respect us, but that is reported crimes and I'd put seriously good money that a significantly higher percentage of unreported domestic violence crimes are male victims, it comes again from Men being stereotyped as needing to be strong and not appear weak. Were as us as women and girls are portrayed as delicate little blossoms - completely untrue. Phrases such as 'Boys will be Boys', is often used in a context when a boy has acted out in some way or form, I've had it said to me recently when Noah was pretty adamant he wanted a toy in Tesco - the answer was no and he was being a bit fussy, nothing I couldn't handle. But a nosey old lady decided it was her turn to step in and in what she thought was something polite and understand, actually got my back up 'Boys will be boys' she uttered, insinuating it's only natural for my son to be causing a fuss - he is a boy after all. It took my entire strength not to turn around and yell 'Boys will be caring, considerate, helpful, understanding, loving, smart and soft - so if that's what you meant, yes boys WILL be boys'. But I decided making a scene in Tesco over ignorance wasn't worth it. I know I've grown up in a world of 'Boys don't cry' 'Boys are big and strong' 'Boys can't cook' 'Boys fight with their fists', and that's something I desperately don't want for my sons. My boys can be whoever, and whatever they want to be, I'll shield them from stereotypes as much as I can and whenever someone tarnishes them with a brush, I'll be right there to wipe the smear away. As long as my sons are hurting nobody, I am happy.