‘Boys will be boys’ was my HSC body of work, compiled as a result of a mixture of personal experience and frustration at the effects of hypermasculinity on the early development of young boys. I wanted the piece to reflect my understanding of the ‘corruption’ of innocence, as young boys are faced with the promise of dominance but at the same time, the enduring expectation of being non-emotional, self-confident and aggressive. This is really problematic, eroding attempts to limit patriarchal dominance in the future as our next generation of boys are encouraged to uphold the same backward ideals. Young children are naturally very impressionable, and both boys and girls have, and will, adapt to such societal mantras as ‘boys are mean to girls because they love them’ or ‘boys don’t cry’. I strongly believe that we cannot reach a level of equal opportunity and respect for any gender, with whatever traits they wish to display, if these excuses continue to be promoted.
It’s a really important opportunity to be able to display this piece to a uni-wide audience. ANU students are renowned for their progressive and unapologetic attitudes, something that is unquestionably important for feminist purposes. The politically astute nature of this audience is something I really respect, and I’m extremely honoured to be able to express a major concern I have to this particular group of people. As the generation next to have children, and with the power to enact permanent change, I think it’s important to consistently discuss and share opinions on this prevalent issue in the hope of eradicating it altogether.