Lara Prendergast is thinking along those lines and wrote in the Spectator that what Cooper is actually suggesting is indoctrination of boys with feminism. "Compulsory sex education in which boys are taught to be feminists is beyond silly. By all means explain that they shouldn't go round lifting up girls' skirts for a peek, but it's possible to do this without telling them they must call themselves feminists. They might not like that kind of prescription. Schoolboys do tend to be a bit...truculent."
However I don't think the behaviour cited by Cooper sounds very 'boys will be boys' truculent behaviour: "Whore, bitch, slag, slut," - these are the insults one teacher says she hears levelled at teenage girls on a daily basis. She described girls being "heckled if they dare to speak in class, their shirts forcibly undone, their skirts lifted and held by groups of boys".
The fact that boys, teenage boys might need to be told it's not really the done thing to lift up a girl's skirt is alarming, no? It does rather suggest that they believe everything is, or should be, designed for their pleasure and approval. Or that they're still in reception class.
we, as a nation, simply cannot afford to allow boys to continue to think this behaviour is ok
In her article Cooper mentions the struggle refuges are experiencing with the cuts, there has been an increase in the number of reported abuse and rape crimes and "one woman told me she couldn't get an injunction out against a violent ex because legal aid reforms meant she had to pay herself and she couldn't afford it." Put bluntly, we as a nation simply cannot afford to allow boys to continue to think this behaviour is ok, we cannot afford to dismiss it as teen boy hijinx. I mean this both economically speaking and emotionally.
Is this a call for indoctrination, or understanding? "Our children and teenagers need sex and relationship education that recognises the realities and helps them build the resilience to cope in an internet age....And yes, that means boys as well as girls. Men as well as women. No teenage boy should grow up persuaded that abuse is normal, or feeling forced to behave in particular ways to prove their masculinity."
We need to stop making excuses and dismissing abusive behaviour as simply high spirits. If that means bringing feminism to young people of all genders then I suggest we get on it.