Observing how young males act in social groups, the cultural anthropologists Ruth Borker and Daniel Maltz have written: “Nondominant boys are rarely excluded from play but are made to feel the inferiority of their status positions in no uncertain terms. And since hierarchies fluctuate, every boy gets his chance to be victimized and must learn to take it.” For us, it sure worked that way.
As psychologist Joyce F. Benenson observes, boys, especially neglected boys, often band together to cause trouble. “Male groups are formed initially because male peers are so drawn to one another, and away from everyone else,” she writes. “They may fight, they usually compete . . . . Even boys with behavioral problems, who cannot follow any adult authority’s directions, group together, through graffiti writing, skateboarding, or gang fights.”