One Thursday last month, during the lunch hour at H.D. Woodson Senior High School, half a dozen teenage boys have gathered to eat pizza and talk about hollering at women. “From where I come from, you holler at a girl,” one student tells the group. “A girl can’t be too upset when a guy is paying attention to her.” “It depends on the type of girl and whether she has respect for herself,” another says. “Some girls will say, stop. But they like it, for real.” “If she’s wearing short shorts, booty shorts, short skirt, with the thong showing, she wants it,” another guy says. “Can’t blame it on the boy. She knows what she’s doing.
“But what if it’s hot out?” This is Kedrick Griffin. He’s here to play the 37-year-old devil’s advocate on a subject that’s generally considered normal behavior for a teenage boy in the District of Columbia. This exercise has come almost at the end of a year-long District program called the “Men of Strength” club—MOST Club, for short. The same pattern is repeated with groups of boys in public middle and high schools across the District: Come for the pizza, stay for the deconstructions of masculinity.