Those of us who are moms worry, a lot. It's part of the job description. We do our best to raise our kids and to teach them right, but we still worry. How do we know what they're doing when we're not around? How do they treat other people? In particular, we worry about what will happen in adolescence. Will our boys act like gentlemen or like animals? And how do we protect our girls? Boy/girl relationships can put teens, and their parents, through their paces. But an interesting recent study suggests that, at least when it comes to the modern boy's perspective on girls, we may have less to worry about than we thought.
The State University of New York studied 10th grade boys in an effort to learn how well they were really behaving within the context of boy/girl relationships. It turns out that most of the boys said they chose whom to date based on how much they liked the person rather than an urge to have sex. And when they did decide to have sex, it was most often because they were in love with their partner, not because everyone was doing it or because they were in a hurry to lose their virginity. (Read the full, original article here.)
Written from a fairly liberal, feminist perspective, the original article claims that feminists should be given credit for this improvement in boys attitudes. After all, the author claims, by becoming more engaged in activities outside the home, feminist women have encouraged fathers to become more active in the home and with their children. Here's a quote from the article:
"It's not feminists who argue that boys are mindless animals only interested in sex; no, that argument comes from your anti-feminist social conservatives, who manage to inject it into abstinence-only sex education:
One curriculum teaches that men are sexually aggressive and lack deep emotions. In a chart of the top five women’s and men’s basic needs, the curriculum lists “sexual fulfillment” and “physical attractiveness” as two of the top five “needs” in the men’s section. “Affection,” “Conversation,” “Honesty and Openness,” and “Family Commitment” are listed only as women’s needs."
Do you agree? Has our modeling of more balanced and egalitarian male/female relationships payed off? Can we put our worries about how our boys are treating our girls on the back -burner? Perhaps. Or were most boys acting like gentlemen all along and we just didn't know it because we had all bought into the "teen-aged boy as a sexual predator" stereotype instead of finding out how boys really felt and behaved in the world? Are the author's interpretations of this recent study accurate? Or do you think that we still have plenty to be worried about? Check out the full article and let us know what you think.