Breaking the Boy Code

In That Moment You’re Scared: Boys and Hazing

Episode Summary

Fifteen-year-old Chad tells his story of being hazed, explains the fear underlying boys’ choices to stay silent and describes what it takes to stand up to a culture of violence. Joined by Clementine Ford, author of Boys Will Be Boys, and Michael Kehler, Research Professor in Masculinities Studies at the Werklund School of Education.

Episode Notes

Chad’s first experience with hazing was on his first night back at summer camp. Older boys grabbed him and his friends and told them to strip to their underwear. He tried to refuse but had to fight his way out of their grip, then left the cabin to the sound of the senior campers yelling, “Don’t be like him!”

Chad told a counsellor what had happened, but it wasn’t easy. “You don’t want to be a snitch,” he said on the podcast. “What’s holding you back is fear.” The risk of angering older peers in the moment and being ostracized from the group afterwards makes boys hesitate to speak out, and then the pressure to fit into a narrative of dominance and invulnerability compels them to bury their feelings deep inside.

If incidents of hazing could be said to have one thing in common, it’s silence. More than half of all boys experience hazing before they leave high school, but according to research, 92% of students will not report any kind of hazing to an adult. To put it bluntly, boys aren’t talking about hazing—at least not with experienced role models and mentors who could help them end ongoing cycles of violence.

It’s time we changed that.

Continue reading on Medium

Further Reading

Clementine Ford recently published Boys Will Be Boys and is a bit of a firebrand on Twitter or Instagram. You can support her work on Patreon.

Visit Werklund School’s Masculinities Studies webpage to learn more about Michael Kehler’s work and feminism-based gender research in Canada.


Clementine Ford, Macho ‘pranks’ and the devastating cost of male emotional repression

Clementine Ford, Boys Will Be Boys

Phil Christman, What Is It Like to Be a Man?

Cavetown, Boys Will Be Bugs


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Audio excerpts from Radio New Zealand. Supported by Next Gen Men.