If you read the headlines at all, you might conclude that the boys are either violent or into sports. Today, my Google alert screams, "Teen to be tried as juvenille in Crofton boys' death," while also informing me that the Haddonfield boys soccer team blanked Gateway and that Rutger's Miehe won the 2009 Metropolitan Championship.
As a mom who blogs about boys, I'm reminded over and over again of the stereotypes facing our sons. Sports, violence, sex, music -- that's the focus of most news reports about boys.
That, of course, is just my unscientifc observation. However, a report commissioned by the organization Women in Journalism found that "the word most commonly used to describe teen boys in the media is yobs. Other common words were thugs, feral, louts, hoodies, evil, frightening, monsters, scum and heartless. More than 60% of the stories about teen boys concerned crime – 90% of which showed them in a bad light. Eighty-five per cent of a sample of 1,000 boys thought the press portrayed them negatively." (Did I mention that this is a British organization?)
One British journalist, though, set out to find the real boys buried beneath the sterotypes. Simon Hattenstone's article, "Teen Spirit: The Secret Life of Britain's Teenage Boys" is the most thoughtful, informative and sensitive piece of boy-journalism I've seen yet. It's a bit of a long read, but absolutely worth it. I guarantee it.
What do you think about Teen Spirit? On the whole, do you think boys are doing OK? Do you think the media unfairly presents boys as thugs or trouble?