Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What is a boy?

We use ‘boy’ as both an identity and as a label. This issue is approached  at  many events by holding panel discussions on the topic; the most useful include other labels/identities so the differences are made distinct. The one major obstacle this approach encounters is that ‘boy’ means something different to everyone.

While there are obvious differences in opinions, the data can be used so that boys/non-boys can better serve each other. Hopefully this information will better define what ‘boys’ want, what is expected of them, and how they’re perceived by those with less experience.


Explaining the Data
This survey resulted in 145 submittals and 67 unique words. Many words were well represented and stand on their own. Similar under-represented words were combined.

service oriented (serve, service, accommodating)
dedicated (devoted, Loyal)
playful (playful, energetic,
mischievous, adventurous, young-at-heart)
sexuality & what they wear (sensual, sexy, hot, delicious, horny, clothing, full leather wearing,  gear. leather)
slave like (slave, owned)
Proud (proud, strong, tough)
Attentive (attentive, pleasing)

The remaining words were unique and consequently were difficult to combine. For this reason they were categorized as "other." Many were excellent descriptive words, but represented less than 1% of submitted terms. Words in the “other” category are explored in the two charts below.

boys/non-boys and those who are not sure if they are boys

with/without experience with boys

Data Analysis
As a boy, I’ve noticed that there is often a difference between how boys see themselves and how non-boys see them. Often this problem is simply semantics, but other times it’s a fundamental problem.

The chart to the above shows this problem. We combined non-boys and those not sure (TNS) in red, and boys in blue.

The emphasis on sexuality and what boys wear as a common factor for many boys was particularly interesting. In this survey as many boys thought sexuality, and gear (defined as all fetish wear from leather to sports gear) were as those who thought submission was important. Those not sure saw masculinity and confidence as uniquely defining qualities in boys.

The full details separating boys, non-boys and TNS are detailed in the above chart. You can also examine the un-edited data by downloading the full PDF of this report.

Those with no experience of boys were the only ones to choose confidence as a defining quality of boys. They also see dedication in place of being “service oriented.”

It’s interesting that those who know boys do not see confidence. Perhaps it’s because so many boys seek out mentors to help give their lives direction. In either case it’s a topic worth discussion. 

We also see that those with no personal experience of boys are more likely to see a boy as “slave like.” This means that boys and non-boys alike still have work to do to draw the distinctions between a boy and a slave.

A full breakdown of the differences between those with and without experience with boys is listed below.