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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Society's Double Standard

In my (wonderful!) women artists class we've been continuously battered with stories of women who were told they weren't good enough, or couldn't do something just because it was a male-dominated world. We've learned again and again of all the inequalities separating men and women in the past, and even still today.

double standard
noun
1.any code or set of principles containing different provisions for one group of people than for another, especially an unwritten code of sexual behavior permitting men more freedom than women. (source)

Maybe the biggest double standard in todays society is the one mentioned above; that men are permitted more sexual freedom than women. A man who has a high number of sexual partners is generally praised. On the contrary, a woman with the same number of sexual partners is frowned upon, even by members of her own gender. This double standard is often partnered with the analogy:

"A key that can open many locks is called a master key, but a lock that can be opened by many keys is a shitty lock.”

Of course, in a society of equality, this shouldn't even be a topic of argument. Equal is equal. But the opinions clouding this topic remain vast and unwavering. Have we even really evolved from the time of Hester Prynne and her scathing, red A? Set to bear her punishment while the town stands around and comments? I'm not sure we have.

Hester Prynne in the Internet Age (The Chronicle)

In Easy A, Olive Penderghast decides to use the rumour mill to advance her social standing. When guys at school begin offering her money to say that they have slept with her, she agrees to go along with it. The guys' popularity soars, while Olive is belittled and called a slut, a skank, and a whore for doing the exact same thing.

It's hard to say how long we will be stuck living in the same world as Hester Prynne, it's been over 150 years already. Instead of putting our targets up on a scaffold in the town square, we use much more accessible ammunition like Twitter and Facebook, and hide from the consequences of our words behind computer screens.


"I want to say: we come from difference, Jonas,
you have been taught to grow out,
I have been taught to grow in.
You learned from our father how to emit, how to produce, to roll each thought off your tongue with confidence;
you used to lose your voice every other week from shouting so much.
I learned to absorb.
I took lessons from our mother in creating space around myself."


BONUS FEMINISM RANT: I found this article while doing some research for this blog. And I really, really, want to believe that it's satire. But I'm not entirely sure that it is. "Why Fat Girls Don't Deserve to Be Loved"

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