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Don’t forget about the double standard

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Posted: Monday, March 25, 2013 2:00 am

The person who created the double standard between men and women in terms of sexual relations has forever changed our society.

Christina Aguilera put this double standard into lyrics, “The guy gets all the glory the more he can score / While the girl can do the same, and yet, you call her a whore” in her song “Can’t Hold Us Down.” Aguilera sums up that this double standard makes it socially acceptable for men to have vast sexual experiences with many partners, but it’s unacceptable for women to do the same.

This idea has been heavily instilled in society and can be seen across genders as well as within them. I believe this double standard is unfair because there is no reason for people to pass judgment on others based upon their sexual life, curiosity or experience.

The reality of the double standard allows for a male who has sex with many partners to be considered “the man,” but a female who has sex with many partners to be considered a slut. The majority of negative names that are associated with a person who is sexually experienced are directed at females.

Slut, whore, skank, sloot, prostitute, loose, hooker, floozy and tramp are just a few of the names in the never-ending list for women. However, when analyzing the labels, there are only a few that are restricted to men, and they are not derogatory in nature. These include stud, player and hunk. The negative names that exist for men are derived from the root word for the negative names for women such as man-whore and man-slut. This reiterates the double standard by highlighting that the most derogatory labels for men come from the labels for women, which shows how society has a negative connotation for women who are sexually experienced.

Slut-shaming is defined as the action of making women feel guilty or inferior for engaging in certain kinds of sexual behaviors that go against traditional gender expectations. These gender expectations are derived from the double standard because men and women are encouraged to behave differently in regards to sex.

A woman can become a target for slut-shaming based upon the type of clothes she wears, the way she speaks, her reputation or her personality. What makes matters worse is it is not men who are solely responsible for slut-shaming. Here at UF, women are slut-shamed by other women due to common stereotypes.

For example, females will consider females who are in a sorority to be sluts because they socialize with fraternities. Also, women will give other women dirty looks or gossip about them if they are wearing provocative clothing at a bar or at a club. Because the problem of the double standard is occurring among sexes and not just across them, it makes it seem impossible any progress will be made to ensure gender equality.

I came to the realization it was not a person who created the double standard, but our culture as a whole. The American way of life has created different standards for the way men and women are supposed to act. In Michael Kimmel’s “The Gendered Society,” he explains “Gendered love, American style” has existed since the mid-19th century.

Love has been separated into two spheres: one for men and one for women. The spheres give guidelines on how genders have to behave. Women are supposed to ignore the physical aspects of love and focus more on talking and feeling, while men are supposed to focus on the shared physical activities and sex when in love. These different styles of loving create the double standard because they cause gender inequality due to pre-existing gender differences.

These gender differences make it acceptable for men to engage in sex more often than women because they are supposed to be more physical while in love. Society expects women to resist and not initiate sex because they are supposed to be more emotional while in love. This double standard will never make sense to me. This subjectivity women face has hindered our society by making women feel inferior if they engage in the same sexual activities men do.

In order for change to happen, more people need to be aware of the double standard and think twice before they judge others based on traditional gender expectations.

Paige Wolke is an advertising senior at UF. You can contact her via opinions@alligator.org.

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