Monday, July 19, 2010

Act like a man and get arrested

You don't have to look far for people constantly going on and on about how today's boys and men need to act right, get better, change, and otherwise "step up". Well the next time you hear someone making that complaint think about this story (via Orlando Sentinel).

Yes a 14 year old boy sees a little girl walking around lost and he decided to do precisely what the majority of boys are taught to do, help people. He helped the girl find her mom and shortly after the mom demanded that the cops be called and the boy be arrested.

Now for those of you who don't know part of growing up being a boy is that you get the idea drilled into your head that you are supposed to help people. Now while it is true that there is some patronization of presuming that people cannot help themselves and must be saved by the big strong boy/man.

The girl was 3 goddamned years old so that is not a factor here. So to be clear we are not talking about a grown woman here. We are talking about a small child wandering around by herself with no parent in site.

You see this is what boys and men are up against in a world of mixed signals. We are told that we are supposed to help people but when we do people presume the absolute worst faith and we end up in trouble. Make sure you read up on some of the other stories referenced at Glenn Sacks, including the story of the man that was charged with a sex crime for lecturing a girl after pulling her away from traffic.

So the next time someone, especially a woman, starts up about why don't men/boys do something when something bad may be about to happen think about what's going through the heads of those men/boys. its real easy to tell someone to "man up" when you have the privilege of not having your help presumed to be an act of the worst faith.

Apparently the person that coined the phrase, "No good deed goes unpunished." had the foresight to know about the predicament that today's boys/men would be stuck in.

(Just so we are clear I'm not trying to endorse the idea that only men/boys should be taught to help people nor am I saying that such a thing should be associated with masculinity/boyhood/manhood. No it should be associated with simply being a good person. My problem is that the perception of this help is heavily gendered when it should not be. Remember just because a lot of child abuse/assault is committed by men doesn't mean that most men are waiting to abuse/assault children. Most of us are regular guys that wouldn't hurt a fly. And besides most fatal child abuse is committed by mothers anyway.)