It doesn’t do anybody any favors to generalize negatively when we’re trying to honestly and openly deal with the forces that keep boys/men and girls/women in unnecessary conflict. But it’s time for us guys to stop acting like we’ve got no personal responsibility here. It’s not fair or right or even true to say, Hey, this is how we were raised, and, well, Our biology is beyond our control, since All this sexism stuff is a systemic problem anyway…and, like, We’ve got our own relationship problems, so, yeah, We’re with you in spirit. I hear all that (and have heard it for years), but real change can’t happen without individual guys deciding to make good choices.

Boys are taught that “toughness” and “manhood” equal heterosexuality, and to exhibit “feminine” qualities as a boy is “gay.” What better way to wipe away any doubt of your heterosexuality than by bashing other kids and punishing them for being or “acting” gay? At its core, homophobia also comes from sexism: If women weren’t seen as lesser, boys wouldn’t bully one another for being “feminine.” So boys’ homophobic ridiculing or policing of each other’s masculinity is YET ANOTHER WAY that the patriarchy is such a bummer for everybody, of all genders and sexual preferences.

What is a boy? by Charles Aaron