What does it mean to be a Deerfield boy?
Much more than at previous schools I have attended, boys at Deerfield stick together and almost always have each other’s backs.
Because Deerfield is not just our school, but also our home, there is an innate bond tying us to one another from the day we step foot on campus. Furthered by the gender division in both athletic and residential settings, it’s understandable that strong bonds develop among the boys.
There are indisputably both pros and cons to this “wolf pack mentality.” First and foremost— the pros. The changes we undergo while at Deerfield can be exciting, but coming of age is a time of high stress, experimentation, and self-discovery.
In the process of changing from boy to man, it is inevitable that we are all going to slip up from time to time. I am certainly not condoning breaking major school rules, but it is comforting to know that you can confide in your friends without repercussions if things do go wrong.
The intense camaraderie and support that exists between boys at Deerfield is admittedly hard to come by anywhere else. But for those grappling with your standard high school taboos (sex, drugs and Avicii), this is a double-edged sword.
From what I have witnessed, boys at Deerfield avoid asking questions or assigning blame. It is the duty of every Deerfield boy to protect one another–whether that means covering for a friend or keeping a questionable situation under wraps.
Although keeping a brother out of trouble will preserve his untarnished transcript and keep his parents at ease, it also promotes the mentality that the administration is our enemy.
Staying silent could be a gift– or it could prevent a friend from receiving the professional help that he needs. For me, that’s about where the positive aspects of Deerfield’s boy culture end.
Undeniably, Deerfield’s “bro culture” perpetuates hookups rather than healthy, long-term relationships with girls. The male solidarity on campus results in the degradation and objectification of women.
Hookups at Deerfield are often formed solely on physical attributes and are over well before the night is. Granted, having a meaningful conversation while grinding in a crowded gymnasium over the deafening music might prove difficult. But rarely is an effort made to build upon the relationship once the night is over.
Finally, the male dynamics at Deerfield glorify dip, violent video games and, at times, more serious substances. I’ll give violent video games a pass— they’re a fairly harmless, albeit unproductive way to unwind with friends. As for dip and e-cigs, however, I don’t think they are normal or healthy for young men anywhere.
It is overwhelmingly clear that peer pressure from older boys can be held accountable. Both dip and e-cigs are acquired habits. Most boys who enter Deerfield have likely never tried either. But by senior year, an astounding number of seniors dip frequently.
Is male biology to blame? Maybe. But I don’t know of many other (non-prep) schools where dip is still prevalent. It’s not breaking news that dipping causes cancer, eats away at your teeth and destroys your gums.
“Bro culture” at Deerfield bonds our boys closer than ever, but isolates them from girls and even, in some cases, responsibility and safety. In my opinion, the ideal boy at Deerfield does not align with the ideal boy outside of Deerfield.
In the strange land outside Deerfield, relationships with women have an emotional component. “For the Boys” becomes a mere joke among friends instead of a dominant way of life; and authority figures are respected instead of flouted. Hopefully Deerfield boys will join the ranks of this new world and become the Deerfield men we can be.