Boys Will Be Boys
Allen & Unwin, $32.99 pb, 381 pp, 9781760632335
Clementine Ford’s Boys Will Be Boys is a timely contribution to feminist literature. Her central point is clear and confronting, and it represents something of a challenge. Ford writes, ‘everyone’s afraid that their daughters might be hurt. No one seems to be scared that their sons might be the ones to do it.’
The book makes the case for a change in how we raise both boys and girls, since how we are currently going about it – conditioning boys to expect a life of entitlement and privilege over their female and non-binary peers – is harmful to all of our children, regardless of their gender or sexual preference. Ford inverts the phrase ‘boys will be boys’. She explains how such an attitude, and others like ‘boys don’t cry’, puts emotional straitjackets on boys by prescribing only one version of masculinity, rather than allowing children to develop their own identity. This argument, this call for change, is Ford at her best.