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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Double Standard..Am I a whore or not?

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Author Topic: Double Standard..Am I a whore or not?
fluffyprinncess
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Ok, I have within the last year become sexually active. I have been safe, always using condoms, but when I broke it off with my long time BF, I started having sexual encounters with other guys. My friends say if I continue this way, I will become known as easy or a whore. My case is that, I want to do these things! I am completly comfortable, and in most cases, I instigate the sexual encounter! I like and am COMPLETLY willing to do it, these guys aren't talking me into it!
So why am I considered a whore by society and they would be considered "cool" or "pimps" if in my shoes ? And am I out of line/ do I need to tone it down?
Thanks!

~*Confused by Double Standards*~

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logic_grrl
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I think this would fit better in "Sexual Ethics & Politics", so I'm going to move it over there, okay?
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Londongirl
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This thread got moved as I was writing my post, so here it is again:

I agree with you that there are double standards. Behaviour that is condsidered by many to be whoreish/slutty/tarty/loose/easy behaviour in a woman is often presented as "boys just being boys" for men.
However, these are stereotypes, and are not held by everyone. As you have said, you do not hold this view. I think what you therefore need to consider is a)what you are happy with, and b)how much does it bother you what other people think/say. You have said you are happy with your lifestyle, so I'll go straight to b): some people will judge you for your behaviour and may be unpleasant towards you, so I think the key question is, can you handle this?

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JamsessionVT
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Toning it down is definetly not neccesary, I know what you mean. I've never had sex, nor have I done anything close to it, but I have become a bit sick of the word "whore" and "slut", and even "b*tch" (as refering to a female. Sorry, but I had to mention it, too). The words in my mind are so deragatory it's not even funny, and for anyone to call another person that is horribly rude and uneccesary. People may have their opinions, but in my eyes they go too far by using words like that and letting everyone know that "Oh, yeah, she's such a slut/whore!"

I am also a bit PO'd at the fact (as LondonGirl mentioned) that when girls have sex with guys they are not in relationships with or are being "promiscuous" they are considered sluts or whores, but when guys do it, they're just bein' guys. I have found in most situations, there is some kind of gender based perference, usually woman being lower than men, or something that a man does is OK, but if a woman does it it's bad and therefore she is labeled.

Alright, enough of my ranting. I have very strong feelings about this type of issue. If you do not want to be labeled as a whore/slut, which people will do no matter how much you protest, you might consider trying to keep you sexual experiences to a minimum. As long as you are careful about it, and take the proper measures concerning pregnancy and STD's and STI's (remember, having sexual experiences with people who you don't know whether or not they have been tested is not safe nor smart...) than you should be OK. But I'd suggest, if you do not stop doing this entirely, to keep your number of partners down to one or two, therefore lessening the chances of catching an STD or STI.


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by JamsessionVT:
I am also a bit PO'd at the fact (as LondonGirl mentioned) that when girls have sex with guys they are not in relationships with or are being "promiscuous" they are considered sluts or whores, but when guys do it, they're just bein' guys.

You know, I've gone on about this in other threads but I may as well post it here as well.

I think we've all seen instances here on the boards where someone has referred to what "society" thinks, or "how things are," or things that work "in general." In this particular case we're talking about how when girls sleep around, they are whores, while when boys sleep around it is an acceptable (and even condoned) practice. According to whom?

Unless we're talking about rap music, which is certainly not representative of reality no matter how much it claims to be, I'm not sure this distinction exists. I'm even less certain that it deserves to exist. It all falls under the category of "Don't Believe the Hype."

Quite often we end up perpetuating things by unwittingly projecting our own perception onto what "society" thinks. If something seems amiss, "society doesn't like it." If we're doing something unconventional, "society won't allow it." The reality is that there are enough different social circles and enough different political persuasions to negate the idea of a broad-based monolithic "society" anyway. Even if you want to use the current Administration as a guide (ostensibly under the belief that it is run by men of the Judeo-Christian faith), they'd probably believe that sleeping around is wrong no matter who does it, male or female. Which, of course, is far removed from the belief of this board which is that if you are ready for it and safe about it, more power to you. So I'm really not sure we ought to perpetuate this nonsensical divide any further.

The bottom line here is the same as it is with much anything else. What is good for you is good for you, and that which you are ready for and ready to assume responsibility for is all well and good. And that cuts across all boundaries, be you male, female, both, or neither; and irrespective of what you look like.

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BruinDan, "Code Four, Baby," PHOM

¡Siendo padrote no es cil!


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Heather
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Eh, gotta pipe up here.

A distinction does exist, in both historical and modern contexts, and it's pretty intense. Calling it hype is pretty dismissive of a whole lot of women's issues -- a women's rights issues -- which center around the matter. If women's sexuality was equally as acceptable, for instance, I don't think we'd have seen Viagra immediately rushed into healthcare coverage while birth control -- hardly a new invention -- is STILL struggling for coverage under many plans. I could earnestly go on for days with examples of this, just in recent times. Entire books have been devoted to its impact historically.

Even as a female sex educator who pays attention to what goes on with her collegaues, as another example, our personal sex lives, and the extent of them, are often asked about or considered far more often than is the case with our male counterparts,

Maybe that distinction is being seen less now in some places, but it's out there.

HOWEVER, I would say that again, both historically and now, the distinction isn't so much "Lots of sex with whoever for boys, Yay! Lots of sex with whoever for girls, boo!" as it is that it is far more TOLERATED and less punitive for men than it can often be for many women, especially with younger men and women.

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Heather
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Just a few things for you to think about too, fluffyprincess.

Heaven knows what 'society" thinks of you as, or if "it" thinks much of your sex life or sexual choices at all. best, on a personal level, to deal with things immediately around your community.

But in terms of this issue, that double standards that do exist in this regard are INCREDIBLY complex and far-reaching, involving very long-running issues like paternity identification, like an agenda which wants women to be reproducing, like women's rights as a whole, cultural habits of asking women to be sexual reinforcers when it comes to rules and "good" habits, about the whys and hows of casual sex, et cetera.

It's incredibly complicated stuff, well worth looking into and reading about, if you're interested. But if you're having an immediate problem with maltreatment, it's best, generally, to deal with it in an immediate way, such as talking to your friends about WHY they feel the way they do, why they're concerned about what anyone would say about you, rather than them, how YOU feel, etc.


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by Miz Scarlet:
Maybe that distinction is being seen less now in some places, but it's out there.


Yeah, that is basically the point I am trying to make. Nobody can stand here and deny that a certain double standard exists, notably in your citation of Viagra vs. birth control coverage in insurance plans. (Mine is an exception to the rule, covering "family planning" but not Viagra or its clones)

But after doing an informal poll about a year ago on the topic and finding that not a single one of my friends (nor I) had ever encountered a situation where they were either encouraged to sleep with numerous women or condoned for doing so if they had already, I've come to realize that there is probably more hype about this in modern times than we may realize. I'm sure it's out there, but I think we can effectively counter it in our own generation if we want to.

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BruinDan, "Code Four, Baby," PHOM

¡Siendo padrote no es cil!


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Heather
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Hey, here's hoping. For real. Because that'd rock.

But thus far, certianly historically, definitely globally, and yep, even still culturally in the western world, it's hardly a non-issue. I don't think it's as simplistic as multiple partners or not, but overall, the scales are still yet close to even when it comes to sexual beahviour in terms of women and men.

Which isn't even to say the sword can't cut both ways, because it can sometimes cut as deeply, even with men, with things which are supposed to be, or are seen as, privledge. A good example of that is mandatory child support, for example. Women who abandon their children certainly often pay a very high moral price in terms of how they're viewed and treated, for instance, but they aren't legally obliged to pay for that abandonment monetarily as often (though there's more than one reason for that, some of which may be sound, and this isn't taking into account one or noth partners using birth control, and yet). In other words, while men in the US may be allowed greater sexual freedom in terms of casual sex or multiple partners, they too may have a price to pay for that freedom, even if it is not the same sort of price.

Seriously, I hope sexual double standards can be changed within the current generation. But I also don't think an informal poll amoung a given peer group -- especially from the vantage point of a group which only represents one gender, and the gender least effected by the issue -- is a very good guage of a very widespread and long-running gender and sex dilemma. In fact, you've probably already told more than one user here yourself, as has anyone who volunteers here, that the reason we're not keen with "polling" posts is for expressly that lack of releveance and accuracy.

Even if we could poll all of the western world and get a concensus that no, this double standard no longer exists (which would be unlikely), we'd have to then wonder why then so many people still experience it's effects here. And internationally, there are still masses of laws and customs that enforce and reinforce it, and a given generation spans beyond a given culture. Even just amoung these boards alone over the years a multitude of posts have been made about situations where indeed, this has been an issue, real, not projected. So, I'd say that while I'd love it if those things changed within your lifetime, that strikes me as exceptionally ambitious, especially within a generation which overall hasn't thus far been close to as politically active as many previous to it.

It's really not an issue of if men are encouraged to sleep around or high-fived for doing so. rather, it's a matter of if men who do regularly engage in multiple sex face the same sorts of social stigmas, familial and community consequences and approaches, or pay the same price women do for similar if not identical sexual behaviour.

I'm not trying to be argumentative or patronizing. Rather, I'm invested in not having issues which are very pertinent, which do affect a lot of people --- some very profoundly: heck, I've been effected by it in my own lifetime numerous times, and often am still -- and which have an incredibly long history be dismissed or swept under the rug, especially here. And if you're serious about countering something, acknowledging it exists and examining it from a multitude of perspectives pretty widely is usually very important.

So, perhaps it's more helpful, if it's really going to be examined here in the vein fluffyprincess first posted with, to ask other questions. Such as: women who are active with casual sex, what attitudes have you encountered? What challenges do you face with that? What are your fears about it, interpersonally or in a wider context? Men, same questions. In general, what attitudes and inequities, if any, HAVE people experienced, overheard or been privy too, directly or indirectly, on this issue? How do those things impact the personal choices people make? Etc.

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 07-13-2004).]


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Milke
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Might it be worth considering that a lot of the nasty stereotypes and double-standards out there are in fact being imposed by people who'd consider themselves victims of them? That while girls are worrying about who's going to judge them for being sexual, and feeling jealous of the boys who they presume have it a lot easier, those guys aren't speaking ill of promiscuous girls, or congratulating each other on their conquests?

There are so many things we treated as gospel in high school that I now realise were only given credence because people kept talking about them. This is one of them. I can't honestly say I ever heard a guy called a 'stud' or a 'pimp' in anything but a derisive way, and I can't say anyone really cared all that much about which girls were sexually active, and which were not. We just talked about how awful society was about that sort of thing, even if that wasn't the reality we were dealing with.

My experience isn't everyone's, but it is as valid as any other. I think a lot of what we're up against here is outdated ideas which we refuse to stop attributing to people who aren't expressing them, and refuse to let die.

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Milke, with an L, Mrs BD to you, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, WAOTA

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Heather
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While I would very much agree that those social stigmas and attitudes are very much enforced and reinforced by BOTH genders (as in, things like this aren't a matter of men being the ones crying "slut!"... I think it's very clearly brought about by people of all genders, usually towards one), I'd be reluctant to say it is people victimized by those attitudes who are creating or reinforcing them.

Might some? Yes. But it's pretty unusual for any group of people sufferring from any kind of oppression to, as a whole group, be the core group creating or furthering that oppression.

Again, this isn't just the attitude of one culture: it's amazingly worldwide, spanning an incredibly long run of history. While it's certainly a dramatic example, women in Pakistan aren't stoning themselves or asking to be stoned for being immodest or having sex before marriage. The world religions which uphold sexual rules for women which aren't applied as sternly or at all to men weren't penned by those women, and aren't led by them, either. Teenage girls in the States who are kicked out of their homes or verbally abused by their families for the exact same sexual behaviour their opposite-sex, same-age siblings have engaged in aren't somehow asking for or creating that inequity.


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Heather
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(While I'm here, since it just caught my eye, fluffyprincess, can you look at your sig line for a minute? Pregnancy isn't a sexually transmitted disease,and calling it that is going to be pretty hurtful to a lot of people, especially some young parents who post here and work their butts off to be good parents. Consider an adjustment, if you please.)
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bettie
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I am aquaintances with a group of young men (16-28) many of whom have great ambivalence towards sexually active young women. I have heard their locker room comments. There is talk of fresh meat when a new girl enters their midst. If she has sex with one or more of them the judgement is not on themselves or their circle of guy friends but on her. She is to blame for interefering with their male bonding ways. She is the one judged. She is their conquest. She is the slut. She not need even have sex with them to get this treatment. She just needs to be cute and friendly.

These are middle class, university educated people.

I think to deny that the slut stigma still exists in North America or to blame women for bringing it on themselves is erroneous.

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bettie
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I also wanted to comment more directly to fluffyprincess...

There are many pressures for monogamy and sex only when married. Where did these come from? Recently, I have done some reading about the biological/evolutionary reasons. I have also read about some of the religious and cultural reasons for this kind of pressure. It is very interesting. I don't blame any one person or any one gender. It is a complex situation and I think most people have thought or said derogatory things about sexually active women (especially the further they are from the idealized virgin) at one point in their lives.

However, when it comes to the reality of living with choices that go against these pressures and expecations, you can be left feeling isolated and frustrated.

The way I deal with it is by being honest about my choices. I cannot control what people say behind my back or in their heads. However, when the topic does come up I speak about my choices and why I make them. I use sex positive language. I try to demystify what it means to be a nonmonogamous gal.

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fluffyprinncess
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Thanks, and I will change my siggy if it will offend some, I didn't mean it in that manor, but I can see how some might take it the wrong way ;-) and as far as the replies to my question, it makes me feel better to know that it is not just me, and that my choice on nonmonogamy is not nessecarrily a bad one. I was really hating myself for a while, b/c I AM in the bible belt and people here don't look kindly on that not waiting for marriage stuff....Thanks again for all your posts and advice..Bettie, how should I defend my position to my worried friends? I'm flatterd they care enough to worry, but i'm being safe and know what i'm doing, how do i communicate that to them?

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Heather
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Ask them questions instead of defending yourself.

Their bias isn't your responsbility. But asking questions, rather than saying "It's okay for me to do this!" is usually more helpful.

For instance, you might, as I suggested above, ask WHY they think what they do. Ask why it matters to them since it's your sex life, not theirs. Ask if they feel your choices underwine theirs and if so, why? Ask what they're really concerned about. Ask if like I assume you have, they can find a way to accept your choices that are different from yours, like you do for them.


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bettie
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Just to add to Miz Scarlet's excellent set of questions (which I think will help make the discussion a bit more balanced)...

I try to live by example. So if people get to know me they see that I am responsible (not just safer sex wise) about making informed decisions. If they ask specific questions I do my best to answer them. I talk about having limits, boundaries. I talk about how I do not lie or hide the truth about my nonmonogamy with my partners or potential partners.

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acturexon
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re: fluffyprinncess sig
"Pregnancy, The worst STD!"

That's a horrifically foolish statement.

Assuming for the sake of argument that pregnancy is a disease (infection), then the ultimate result of pregnancy could never be human.

disease (n): an impairment of health or a condition of abnormal functioning

pregnancy IS a normal body function for females.


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[This message has been edited by acturexon (edited 07-17-2004).]


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wobblyheadedjane
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I have to start by saying coming in here, and tossing around the word 'whore' to describe out members is *NOT* okay here. Scarleteen is trying to provide a place for teenagers to come and get answers to questions, and participate in thought-provoking dicussions about sex and society. Getting caught up in semantics is not really conducive to the discussion at hand, give that if you had read the rest of the thread that the labelling is clearly not the only double standard. SOme girls are called 'whores' in school because they only look a certain part, despite never having engaged in sexual activity. Some people (myself included at times) were called it as sort of a generic insult. This discussion really isn't about whether anyone is engaging in 'illicit' activity (illicit being defined as "unlawful" or "not sanctioned"), but rather should there be a label at all? Especially in situations where participants are comfortable with the level of sexual activity and are making safer, educated decisions.

[This message has been edited by wobblyheadedjane (edited 07-17-2004).]


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fluffyprinncess
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I wasn't calling anyone in here a whore....i was reapeating what my friends call me and what society seems to see me as...k?
quote:
Originally posted by wobblyheadedjane:
I have to start by saying coming in here, and tossing around the word 'whore' to describe out members is *NOT* okay here. **No need to quote the whole thing**

[This message has been edited by Milke (edited 07-18-2004).]


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Milke
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fluffyprinncess, that's nothing to do with you, it's just a response to a post that's since been edited.

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Milke, with an L, Mrs BD to you, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, WAOTA

You who're so good with words
And at keeping things vague


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