I thought it would be worthwhile to talk about double standards. It's usually much easier to see them from the outside in than the other way around, and sometimes they are so impervious, one doesn't see them at all.
Just recently at Scarleteen alone, I've noticed some flowing by, like:
- Women who have multiple partners are usually seen as being "used," but men who have many partners are seen as "using." Yet, there is nothing to say this cannot go both ways, nor that anyone needs be being "used" at all.
- It's not okay to call someone fat...unless you're talking about yourself, and then it's okay to say that being fat is unappealing.
- "Virgins" should be commended, but those who make responsible active sexual choices are often not so. Yet it is often said that each person should choose for themselves what is best....but from that standard, do most people really feel it is?
- Women's negative body image is often attributed to male standards or media, but men with poor body image are just being silly, when they get the SAME messages.
- Men shouldn't be grossed out by menses...even if some women are.
It's so easy not to notice them, but it's really worth our while to do so, because they can very much undermine each of us really getting a gook look at the things we buy into...sometimes without even realizing it.
I don't think that the double standards surrounding virginity are quite so simplistic as "virginity is better," or "virginity is worse." I think it depends on your age, somewhat: there's a definite prejudice against teenagers having sex, and those who remain virgins tend to be commended, but as people get older that standard flips, and most people are going to wonder what's wrong with somebody who's thirty and still a virgin. This annoys me; if people are supposed to do what's best for them (and they are), then they're supposed to do what's best for them, regardless of their age. Having sex at 15 if you're ready for it doesn't make you a slut, or loose, or irresponsible, and waiting to have sex until you're ready for it, even if it means waiting until you're well into middle age, doesn't make you frigid or repressed or disordered.
Another double standard that I thought of: the fact that even successful women still have to deal with their appearance being judged more heavily than their male counterparts do. I've seen several magazine articles/newspaper stories about how so-and-so is a successful and intelligent woman, and she manages to be beautiful, too. One of them even praised its subject because she was showing that women could be beautiful and intelligent at the same time. So? It shouldn't matter that she's pretty if she's good at what she does. She should be profiled because she's talented, not because she's also nice to look at. You'd never see an article about how a certain man is brilliant, successful, and handsome.
------------------ To the rational mind there can be no offense, no obscenity, no blasphemy, but only information of greater or lesser value. -- Jennifer Diane Reitz
[This message has been edited by Lynne (edited 04-08-2001).]
I wholeheartedly agree with what you've said, Lynne, about the double standard with men's/women's appearances. I think we also see that quite a bit with regards to fashion.
Like, in the days leading up to a presidential inauguration in the United States, how much speculation do you see in the media about what the president will wear to the gala? Meanwhile, how much speculation do you see about what the first lady will wear? This sort of thing happens in Canada right now with Adrienne Clarkson, the Governor-General. Everytime she's scheduled to appear at some big public function, so much of the concern in the media isn't about what she'll say, but about what she'll wear.
-No one notices a het. couple cooing, kissing, or holding hands in a mall, but as soon as two guys/two girls start, everyone stares.
------------------ "I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat." (Rebecca West)
I like the way in Canada a 16 year old has access to a potentially dangerous weapon (a car), but can't vote. Or alternately how at 18 you are judged legal to vote and effect the future of your country but you can't drink or smoke.
Posts: 303 | From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Aug 2000
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At my school, even if you are 18 years old, you are not allowed to bring your own Tylenol or aspirin to school. You have to have a note from your doctor to take any over the counter meds, or you have to walk all the way to the elementary nurse to get some. But, these same 18 year olds can vote, smoke, and serve in the military.
What about many youngsters in America having access to guns. That car as a dangerous weapon idea reminded me of that. How about your allowed to smoke but ure not allowed to commit suicide (not sure if that quite fits).
Posts: 711 | From: England | Registered: Nov 2000
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A 16 year old in Britain can marry, have sex, have a job, joined the armed forces and die in battle, but not vote.
Posts: 394 | From: Manchester, Lancashire, England | Registered: Dec 2000
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Confused boy, in certain places, at certain times, suicide attempts have been punishable by death. Even more confused now?
Posts: 5122 | From: I *came* from the land of ice and snow | Registered: Aug 2000
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In Illinois, at 18, I can smoke, I can vote, I can have needles pushed through my ears [nose, lips, labia, clitoris, navel, you name it], I can drive a car, I can serve in the military, I can be tried as an adult in a court of law, I can rent an apartment, I can apply for student loans from the government, I can get a credit card or a bnak account--but I can't get a tattoo on my own body, nor can I put alcohol in it.
Minors are refused the rights to privacy, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right to drink, smoke, often to drive a car; the right to sign our own checks (often), the right to take our own medication, the right to book a plane ticket, the right to rent a car . . . sometimes we can't hold bank accounts in our own name.
Yet, children as young as fourteen have been executed. More and more teens are being tried on adult standards. We were being held to adult responsibility without being given adult rights.
As far as gender double standards:
-It's all right for girls to act "masculine", but not for boys to act "feminine".
-If a woman takes the lead in sex, she's assertive; if a man takes the lead, he's dominating. (or, in ore conservative circles: if a woman takes the lead she's a feminazi; if a man takes the lead he's a Real Man)
-If a girl speaks out too much, she's obnoxious; if a boy speaks out too much, he's being assertive . . . (This from my chem class, hah)
By the time I'm twenty one I can do anything I want (as long as it's legal), but if I'm still living at home my parents would be able to say "No, you can't get your nosed pierced, drink, or anything else I say)--silly emancipation laws. (Not that I plan on living with my parents when I'm twenty one).
By the time I'm 21 (and not living with my parents) I can do anything legal except protect my country and have an open love life at the same time.
Posts: 356 | From: Phoenix--name that plurally | Registered: Dec 2000
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i came across one when i was talking to my mum the other day. In australia the age of consent for amale is 18 and for females its 16. but theres an allowance of two years above or below the legal limit as long as one of the partners is consensual so a male can have sex with a female at 16 but yet he cannot have sex with another male until he is 18. i thought this was stupid. also girls can be married at 16 but guys haev to wait til there 18. i thought this was stupid and should be changed! equality of the sexes i say!!
Posts: 82 | From: Australia | Registered: Oct 2000
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Here's a double standard I noticed at boarding school (heavy male environment, might explain it, but still seems odd). Males are generally less accepting of gay men than they are of gay women. Even if they say they are ok they still generally seem to shy away from the guy slightly.(this isn't personal experince, just an observation). Anyone else noticed this? Implication being 'it's okay for women but not men', although a less prevalent view at uni (according to friends who are more out than me... ). Those people make me sadder/madder than people who have a (supposedly) 'valid' reason (eg religion) for homo/bi phobia (which is never good IMO). Calvin *rant over*
Posts: 54 | From: UK | Registered: Jul 2000
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Clav, I don't think it's so much that people are more accepting of lesbians than gay men; I think it's that many straight men are turned on by objectified and feminized images of lesbians--who seem to exist only to bask in the male gaze. I think many of the straight men who 'have no problems' with lesbians might offer a different opinion of butch women. Personally, I don't consider it a positive and accepting thing when strange guys query me about my sex life for their own vicarious enjoyment. By the same token, I think many straight women feel uncomfortable around lesbians, but simply adore fabulous stereotypical gay men (ala Will and Grace).
one other double standard: -It took the FDA like 12 years to approve RU-486 (used safely by tons of women overseas) but it took them like one year to approve Viagra (which they are now finding may cause blindness). -When I used to take dexadrine (like ritalin) my insurance wouldn't cover it but they would cover men's viagra.
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