Education

St. Mark’s Student Creates a Stir With ‘War on Boys’ Editorial

Not a good look.

A ridiculous op-ed in the Remarker, St. Mark’s student newspaper, is apparently not going over well at St. Mark’s sister school, Hockaday. The piece is titled “Kavanaugh and the War on Boys.” Click here to read the whole thing, but here’s how it starts:

Boys will be boys. It was a phrase that used to be an admission of fact — that boys have natural tendencies to make reckless decisions, take enormous risks, and have unbridled ambition.

Now, that phrase is absolutely heresy to some.

Saying that one sentence could get you called a myriad of names from “sexist” to “rape apologist.”

In light of the Kavanaugh saga, the topic of the safety of our boys has come up again. Kavanaugh was put through a gauntlet of ridicule and slander. Even after an FBI investigation cleared him, he is still to this day called a rapist by some.

Boys, now more than ever, have to be careful to a degree bordering on crazed paranoia. It kills the essential part that relationships play in the path to manhood.

It’s not mentally healthy for boys.

Oh, and then there’s this:

Boyhood in general is under attack in this nation. More and more boys are taught that their masculinity needs to be curtailed. Boys can’t be in relationships anymore in fear of being called a rapist. …

Don’t make our identity a devil on our shoulders.

Instead, we should accept the reality that we can never take the boyish instincts out of men.

I’d like to make two points about this op-ed. Well, three. First, it’s terrible. It’s so terrible that I’m not going to bother pointing out precisely why it’s terrible. Because it’s obviously terrible.

Second, no one should be forced to have his high school writing follow him around online for the rest of his life. That’s why I’ve obscured the kid’s name, title, and face in the image of the op-ed I’ve linked to above. I’m so thankful that the internet wasn’t invented until after I got out of college.

Third — and this is the most important point — blame for this embarrassing article falls on the St. Mark’s faculty advisor who oversees the Remarker. This writer needed someone to save him from himself — and have a serious talk with him. Maybe, though, the wider attention this op-ed is generating will give St. Mark’s an opportunity to have a conversation with its entire student body about what the Proud Boys are and why one wouldn’t want to align one’s beliefs with theirs. Also might be a good idea to teach the boys that it’s pretty easy to be in a relationship without fear of being called a rapist.

When I refer to the wider attention the op-ed has generated, I’m going based on this Medium post from an anonymous Marksman that addresses reaction from the students at Hockaday. It begins:

The first aspect of the matter that comes to mind is the context in which the editorial exists and how that shapes its intent and content. As male students at a single-sex, wealthy, and exclusive private school in a bourgeois, primarily Republican area, we hold an enormous amount of privilege that must be taken into account when parsing our work. That op-ed was written from that place of privilege to an intended audience of male St. Mark’s students, so it did not pause to acknowledge our own privilege in the matter as opposed to Hockaday but instead launched into a largely misogynistic and overdramatic harangue of a supposed “war on boys.” … Again, this op-ed is objectionable but it was created solely for the St. Mark’s community and our unique privileges play a large role in how we interpret the content, so it does not take into account at all the viewpoints of outside readers like y’all at Hockaday.

The Medium post is actually on point, for the most part. But that introductory caveat about privilege is quite something. Again, it seems to me like St. Mark’s instructors have a lot of opportunity to teach here.

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