AggressiveBoy_032613-617x416Ah, first coffee of the day, how I have missed you. Let us never part again.

I have been reading up on aggression in boys for my shiny and exciting new WIP. It’s not as obvious as you’d think. There’s lots (and lots) of YA about nastiness and aggression in girls — especially the difference between the cheer-leading types and lesser mortals, and I really love that stuff. Recently, I read The Replacement, and enjoyed it very much — creepy fairy tale monsters etc. — but one thing I really enjoyed was the way the mc lusted after the ditsy prom queen type girl even though she was completely evil. Similarly, yesterday we went to see Justin and the Knights of Valour and again the boy’s initial love interest was beautiful but shallow and awful.

[Tangent: are there any Jane Bennet/ Dorothea Brooke girls around in YA? Beautiful girls who are also good and nice? Or maybe it’s the being obsessed by it that turns you evil? Dorothea was never remotely concerned about the way she looked — was she? — and there’s no description of Jane fussing endlessly over bonnets — that’s left to Lydia, who’s the Austen equivalent of the evil cheerleader. So, it’s a classic pattern(*). But then in chick-lit, so called, being obsessed by shoes is not a bad thing. Now I’m confused. Tangent ends.]

So, to return to the point (at last), it’s much harder to find stuff about boy aggression than about girl aggression. Possibly this is because boy aggression tends to be more straightforward and physical (=involves beating people up)? There’s the bit from Anna Dressed in Blood where the bad guy from school beats Cas up and tries to get him murdered by a ghost but I was hoping for something more low level. There’s the bit inĀ Finnikin of the RockĀ where Finnikin and Lucian fight because that’s what they do — but they’re basically friends and I was hoping for something a bit more negative… So I’ve been trying to research. EXCEPT, everything I’ve found is advice to parents for dealing with aggression in their sons (with the occasional bit of comfort that boys are supposed to be physical and just because they’re playing super-heroes/ war doesn’t mean they’re actually being aggressive so much as acting through scenarios, and the very occasional rant about the evils of gun control in the comments of blog posts about toy guns). Sigh.

Is there an in-between somewhere in the space between playful shoving (which boys seem to do all the time judging from (a) my observation of six-year-olds, (b) looking out of coffee shop windows when the secondary school kids are out for lunch) and big proper fights with punching and blood?

So how does a boy who doesn’t like another boy behave?



(*) Though it does seem to put girls who are interested in hats in a bit of an unenviable position.

4 thoughts on “Grrrr!

  1. Thaddeus White

    Hey, Anna. Whilst a paragon of virtue and never physically aggressive myself as a boy, I have a few ideas. A challenge to a fight at a set time/place between two individuals might be too near the proper fighting you want to avoid, but is worth mentioning.

    Single blows (punch in the stomach, slap to the face) by a physically dominant boy to another, who knows if he tries to retaliate he’ll get seven bells kicked out of him, is perhaps more what you’re after. Other things like seizing and then tossing a school rucksack (or something like an exercise book/phone) from a great height/out of the window might work too.

    Pinning an individual against a wall and spitting on/at them may also be what you’re after, or pushing/kicking them to the ground.

  2. admin Post author

    Thanks, Thad! That’s brilliant. You’re bringing back all sorts of memories from my childhood and things that went on in the background… Ah, school how I don’t miss you at all.

  3. John Brady

    Morning! I had two fights as a teenager. One, I have no idea how or why it happened. We grappled, threw a couple of ineffectual punches and then dusted ourselves off. Never had a problem again. Incidentally, I fancied his redheaded sister, but that wasn’t a factor. (She was the quiet type, not a bitchy cheerleader)
    The second was more serious. Three guys were persistently bullying me. The ringleader (this word is actually used in the psychological research) would block my way, throw insults and once took my coat off the rack and wore it around at lunchtime. His henchmen (term also used in research) generally did the insults. One day a henchman went too far and we swung punches in an uncoordinated manner. I got a black eye but the cliche is true – I never had the same level of hassle from any of them again.
    This may be of no use, sorry.

  4. admin Post author

    Hmm. I like the stuff about the coat (sorry — I’m sure it was awful at the time). I once had a fight with a bully, too. She persecuted me for ages (though when we first met she’d been really friendly) and one day she went too far — can’t remember what she did but it broke whatever had stopped me retaliating before, and I went for her and knocked her down (which was almost certainly down to luck — I can’t remember what happened — plus I was probably twice her size). She didn’t bother me again. My only regret was not having done it earlier…

    Maybe boys and girls aren’t actually so different…


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