Is The Steubenville “Rape Crew” Just “Boys Being Boys”?

It's okay... because they're boys.

It’s okay… because they’re boys.

It’s hard to believe that anyone would make a joke about rape. Even drunk, high, fucked-up beyond belief, it’s truly astonishing that a human being could mock a rape victim in such a degrading and horrifying way like we’ve all seen in the viral video starring Michael Nodianos. But he did, it was taped, he tweeted his own “wise cracks” and Anonymous took their brand of vigilantism all the way by exposing him as he drunkenly “joked” about the incident.

But hey, Nodianos wasn’t part of this alleged “rape crew,” so we can’t get too mad at him, right? Unlike fellow students Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, Nodianos wasn’t charged with anything, so him making light of the situation with a bunch of his buddies is totally acceptable! Why? Because boys will be boys, and that’s what boys do; or at least this is what society has taught us.

Boys are made of “snips and snails and puppy dogs’ tails,” while girls, as we know, are made of “sugar and spice, and everything nice.” Boys are dirty, immature and only think with their dick; they’re primal in their behavior, sexual, aggressive and if the jails prove anything, they’re far more prone to violence than women. But they’re boys; this is what boys are, this is what they do, and for that we should dismiss their actions and words. It’s their gender that gives them permission to get away things that women never would, and it’s this persistent mentality, this allowance of acceptance of such an antiquated belief that has created a monster issue within our society. From bullying to rape culture, “boys will be boys,” is often an excuse, and it needs to stop.

As I read everything I could get my hands on when it came to the Steubenville case, it was in the comments section of a few sites where I found the real disgust. It was one thing to watch a video of Nodianos hard at work trying to make his friends laugh with his vulgar and horrifying “jokes,” it was even further stomach-turning to see Richmond’s mother tastelessly post “Free speech this one for u get to let a whore b a whore Lmao…” on her Facebook wall, but what really pushed my already seething temperament over the edge were the comments from strangers that dismissed Nodianos’ behavior.

Although our comment section here at TheGloss didn’t share the opinions of some commenters on other sites, I was surprised to see the following two comments, in particular, on Jezebel:

“This is just boys being stupid because they are too young to understand the seriousness of the situation.”

 

“Yes, it’s tasteless and twisted and offensive. But as far as we know, it’s also just talk. As awful as these guys are — particularly the leading player, Mr. Buckeye — they are not necessarily the same guys who perpetrated this awful crime or were part of the so-called “rape crew.” They’re probably just a bunch of dumb high school kids, most likely drunk and/or stoned, making terrible jokes.

And as hard as it may be to admit it, this is how most people deal with tragedy when they’re among friends.”

I’m sorry. Come again? Are we excusing them? We have “just boys being stupid,” and “this is how most people deal with tragedy when they’re among friends.”

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    • lucygoosey74

      Thank you for this article, you nailed it! I’ve also been reading everything I can find about this horrendous event and I’m absolutely disgusted. I cannot believe how many people (or should I say monsters..they don’t deserve to be called people) stood by and let this happen, and then took it a step further by treating it like comedy. They tweeted about how she was “deader than Caylee Anthony” for fuck’s sake! I hope all these fucking assholes get exactly what they deserve. I’m just grateful that journalists like Prinnie have exposed these monsters for all the world to see.

    • Anne

      Hear, hear! Well said Amanda. Love this, and YES! Nobody should ever use that phrase again. It´s insane.

    • Maggie

      Agreed on every count. I know lots of men and boys who would never, ever, treat a woman in such a way, or joke about something so horrible. Real men do not rape, and real men do not joke about rape. “Boys will be boys” is never a valid excuse, and it is not normal behavior to sexually assault, molest, or rape anyone, let alone drag an unconscious, underage girl from party to party and take/post pictures of the awful things they did to her and laugh about it after. Even if Nodianos and the rest of the “rape crew” (I threw up in my mouth typing that) aren’t charged, they will never be able to escape their new reputation as piece of shit human beings. I hope it ruins their lives.

      • mredc2002

        A fitting sentence would be on the Guantanamo Bay football team!

    • Jim Mancuso

      To Mr. and Mrs. Nodianos: You did quite a job raising your boy! I hope you find the courage to face the community for damage his upbringing has wrought.

      • http://twitter.com/evilpixiedance Paula Grace

        they will never get it. all you can do with their ilk is get their names out online so they can never work in the fast food industry again and will perhaps be the shame of their trailer park.

    • rock

      I WOULDVE BROKE THIS LITTLE PUNK IN HALF ON VIDEO>>> I PRAY FOR THAT GIRLS FAMILY.. I WOULD NOT BE ABLE SLEEP UNTIL I GOT MY POUND OF FLESH FOR WHAT THEY ALL DID…EVERY SINGLE DAMNED ONE OF THEM…

    • dtp

      This was an awful crime, and when you witness, or know of an act this heinous, it is your duty as a human being to call the police. Sadly, when you see the video of these children acting so cruelly, you know they are lost forever, and will never understand caring, compassion, or kindness. These are people who ruin lives not only with actions, but with words. So often, the people we think to be evil are very troubled, and mentally ill, but in this case, these appear to be middle class kids from stable environments. To me, they are the pure evil in this world.

      • VigilanteJusticeInUSA

        “calling the police” doesn’t do much good if your police are corrupt freemason satanic criminal mafioso. If the “authorities” are corrupt criminal TRASH who protect rapists and other criminals, then it’s time for VIGILANTE JUSTICE.

    • http://twitter.com/jeanjohnlabgmai jean a labombard sr

      these felons are 1st class criminals &all deserve 2 go 2 state jail 4 20yrs 0r more where they’ll probably be raped by bullies bigger and stronger than they -where is nat’l orig. for women on this and their protest or is it ’cause boys parents are liberals so ‘boys will b boys’ ?-they’re monsters!

    • scootaloo

      This isn’t just “dumb high school kids”. It’s not boys being boys. It’s not about “making the wrong choice” or “freedom of speech”.

      It’s about evil revealing itself in vile, disgusting, inexcusable behavior. It’s about low life forms with no respect for human life. Anyone willing to write this off as anything other
      than contemptible needs to look at their own image in the mirror and ask a ton of
      questions.

    • Porkchop

      YES. We’re doing a disservice to these kids if we give them any kind of excuse. You can be protected by the 1st amendment and still be a total f***ing disgrace.

      • Stand Up

        But this Michael kid was a student at Ohio State University and they have a code of conduct. Boys will be Boys but the institutions needs to condemn this behavior. Sign the petition to ensure Michael Nodianos does not return to OSU http://tinyurl.com/a2f4j2v

    • Douglas McFarland

      I am rarely as impacted by an article as I was reading this one. I suppose I was already primed by being emotionally upset and outraged by the news relating to the incident but the article really adds an important point about the whole thing.

      As I read I found myself in total agreement with the author except for the very specific denunciation of the “boys will be boys” phrase. I know that this is the whole point of the article and this is why I am taking the time to praise it because it changed my mind. Anyhow as I read I felt resistance to that one notion of the authors. I thought to myself surely “boys will be boys” is a gut wrenchingly horrible excuse for rape or rape cheering/joking but that’s not the behavior it is commonly used to describe. I thought to myself well what behaviors is it used to describe? Cliche visions of boys putting frogs in their teachers desk drawer and dipping girls braided ponytails in their ink wells ensued. Then I wondered why my mind was resisting the notion that I ought to toss into the dustbin of antiquated phrases this one which I couldn’t recall having used much in my life or being particularly fond of. Reflecting again on the “Our Gang” depiction of boy behavior and how it seems society excuses many bad behaviors in boys under the “boys will be boys” notion and it it hit me that she is absolutely right.

      It is interesting how subtle and difficult our own prejudices are to detect. I think we often don’t realize the impact language has on how we see one another and what we expect of individuals in our culture. I don’t really know why my mind would instinctively rush to the defense of a common phrase. Anything I thought now would be made up after the fact. My guess though is it that it has something to do with familiarity. It probably happens all the time and I just don’t notice the irrationality of it and believe that I am rationally justified when really it is an unfathomable desire to defend commonly used words and phrases. Thanks Amanda Chatel it was a really well written article.

    • JennyWren

      I think it’s about more than just one phrase. I often hear people say that it’s women who say the nastiest things about other women- it’s one of those cliches that gets tossed around by people who don’t really want to think about or change their own actions in any way. And it’s dead wrong. I’ve been astonished by the nasty things men, especially adolescent boys, will say about women if they think they can get away with it.

      We live in a culture that tells young people, and young men especially, that the way to feel good about yourself is to put someone down. That to be strong you have to make someone lesser than you, that you have to have mastery over them. When I hear about what went on that night, I see a group of men who were acting out in the most appalling and vicious manner a fantasy of their own superiority and strength. Their ritualized violation and abuse of that young girl was a kind of twisted, demented vision of a masculinity that can only assert itself in aggression.

      It would be comforting to tell ourselves that these boys are “evil” or “monsters,” but that’s really just another excuse. Their crimes are despicable precisely because they are human, and they should be held responsible as people precisely because their was nothing inevitable about the decisions they made that night. So why did they make them? Why did they think they could get away with them, and why are people trying to make it so they do get away with them? This is about something bigger than a phrase. It’s about a culture in which we continue to not only tolerate but encourage this kind of behavior because we think it’s manly.

      • Stand Up

        take a stand and tell Ohio State not to allow Michael Nodianos (Pictured above) at their school for his little video http://tinyurl.com/a2f4j2v

    • http://www.facebook.com/jmpickett Joe Pickett

      boys being boys? Seriously? Look, I was a dumb ass when I was 16, 17 and horny, but I would have been horrified if I had been around something like this, and I would have done something about it. Making excuses for this behavior – whether it’s the boys who did it or boys who were just standing around laughing about it – is appalling.

    • http://www.facebook.com/davidcdiamond David Diamond

      Great article. I really like the idea of raising the bar for men. Why we let them (US) just do what they do and get away with it is more neglectful than empathetic. I hope this situation is brought to a wider audience because its horendous and needs to be rectified. We need a MENVELOTION!

      • http://www.facebook.com/MatthewMcVeagh Matthew McVeagh

        I agree. No need for expectations of men to be low, on some basis of supposed can’t-help-it troglodytism. As Amanda says it’s insulting. I see men behaving badly in public a lot of the time and am annoyed at how it’s ‘understood’ and tolerated while I make sure I would never act like that.

    • Tania

      I completely agree with you that excusing this kind of behaviour as “normal” or “expected” is extremely demeaning to men everywhere. I don’t know any man I associate with, of any age, who would ever in their lives think this was acceptable behaviour, and I am insulted on their behalf that anyone would accept it as a normal “man thing.” Men aren’t animals who don’t possess morals or empathy. A penis does not make someone a thoughtless beast whose penis goes where it wants.

    • winnieGillis

      First saw this on http://www.feministlawprofessors.com/2009/09/sexual-assault-prevention-tips-guaranteed-to-work/

      1. Don’t put drugs in someone’s drinks.
      2. When you see someone walking by herself/himself, leave them alone.
      3. If you pull over to help someone whose car has broken down, remember not to
      rape them.
      4. If you are in an elevator and someone gets in, don’t rape them.
      5. Never creep into someone’s home through an unlocked door or window or spring out at them from between parked cars, or rape them,
      6. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting
      people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.
      7. Don’t forget: it’s not sex with someone who’s asleep or unconscious – it’sRAPE.
      8. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone ‘by accident’ you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can call for help.
      9. Don’t forget: Honesty is the best policy. If you have every intention of having sex later on with the person you’re dating regardless of how they feels about it, tell them directly that there is every chance you will rape them. If you don’t communicate your
      intentions, they may take it as a sign that you do not plan to rape them and inadvertently feel safe.
      10. Don’t rape.

    • samoyedic3

      Oh big deal, some anonymous comment you found. I’ve yet to see any serious authority or editorial claim that rape or male aggression is acceptable because “boys will be boys”. It’s just an old trope feminists keep recycling so they can setup a strawman for their faux outrage.

      • http://twitter.com/nichobert nich obert

        Is your insinuation that feminists aren’t really outraged? Or did you just want to use the word faux and then stuck it wherever.

        Serious comprehension issues in your quasi-reading and faux uber commentation

      • jessica

        LOL. good use of the word faux there

      • http://www.facebook.com/MatthewMcVeagh Matthew McVeagh

        There doesn’t have to be a “serious authority or editorial claim”. Just ordinary people who perpetuate stupid attitudes that will ultimately have negative effects on women’s lives is enough.

    • CaptainGroovy

      I have been called crude and rude before but these sick SOB’s all need their A$$es kicked at least once a day for the rest of their life

    • Tina G.

      You should check out his Twitter…he’s a disgusting little asshole.

    • http://www.facebook.com/MatthewMcVeagh Matthew McVeagh

      Well said Amanda. You’re bang on.

    • RJFlorida

      Godspeed Amanda, you are truly making the world a better place with articles like this. No I am not being sarcastic. While others write claptrap about kimkourteykhloe you are making the world safer for women if only by a small amount.

      At least you are part of the solution and not part of the problem.

    • Person

      I don’t really think it’s good journalism when you can tell one paragraph in what sex wrote the article.

      • Jordan

        The first paragraph? what are you talking about? making rape into a joke? ANYONE male or female should understand that rape should never be made into a joke…are these the comments to which you are referring?

      • http://www.facebook.com/maria.jose.eyzaguirre Maria Jose Eyzaguirre

        What does voice have to do with being a good journalist? Not that I think it would even matter, but it’s an opinion piece, not a story in a newspaper. Voice is a part of that. How does the fact that this article is written by a woman make it “bad journalism”? It’s not like she’s trying to hide it, her name is write up there under the title isn’t it?

      • Nor

        I don’t think it’s good commenting when you can tell in one sentence the sex of the commenter.

      • Kundah

        I was totally unaware that sex could write

      • Jen

        If you really think that the author’s gender has anything to do with the validity of this article, then you just proved the point of the whole article. Congratulations, moron.

    • Ken Stewart

      Just “Boys Being Boys”? More like just turds being turds. Just need to be flushed at this point.

    • guest

      And people wonder why there is a feminist movement. Boys will be boys.. that sickens me. Congratulations men, you have absolutely no control of yourselves. Don’t fret though you manly men because its ok! Boys will be boys after all. Women aren’t people.. they’re just sex.Tell me, how is being too weak to control your urges considered to be strong and manly? Now im not saying all men use or agree with this statement, boys will be boys. I also know there a lot of decent and respectful men in the world. Im simply making a point and It would make me happy if a few people were angered by it. It should cause anger and humiliation to be thought of like that. Its humilating for women to be treated the way they are. Women are dehumanized and objectified as sexual toys. So I think as long as that continues and as long as the ‘boys will be boys’ excuse continues, men should be dehumanized and objectified as uncontrollable monsters. These societal roles must change. There is no longer a place for them. There never was a place for them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/doug.farrow.52 Doug Farrow

      certainly my children of either sex would cry out against any such behavior, but it feels to me that all this feminist outcry is woefully self-serving. Don’t you people ever consider the kind of world that has been created by “globalism” and U.S. hegemony? What went on that night would have cost those males about $20 in Cambodia or Eastern Europe. Nice to be a feminist when you are safe back in the old US of A, but open your eyes to the plight of women all over the planet and then realize your own responsibility. Global economics has become war and women as usual are the likeliest victims. As an American woman YOU are the oppressor. So think before you cast the first stone

    • Dumbfounded

      ok I understand your anger and disgust. I am a man and would never do or even justify something like this. The issue I have with your article is that A: you are attacking men as though we all act this way it simply is not true. Secondly I have only been respectful and as well as honest and open with the women who have entered my life and all of them even my own mother took it for granted and harmed me emotionally and mentally through manipulation lies deception and bad behavior. When most men who are nice and good end up experiencing the same thing from women the others look at that and say well I’m not gonna let them treat me that way. I am not saying its okay (but I am not condoning the behavior of women in the US which is completely unacceptable.) the actions of American women are the reason for their treatment. you people need to stop accepting double standards, misbehaving, as well as showing us that the old adage nice guys finish last is completely true because what reason do we have to be nice to you if you walk all over us for it? Seriously wake the fuck up.

    • Yeah123

      Guys getting away with stuff girls would never get away with? Ha, joking about someone being raped is never acceptable, but I’ve watch many girls get away with numerous things that a guy would NEVER get away with.