Six Double-Standards Society Is Still Accepting

Consider this a follow-up to Eight Lies About Feminism People Still Embrace and Why.  My Eight Lies post was meant to shed some light on the sort of misconceptions people continue to hold and the ways they are perpetuated, and thanks to all of you (our wonderful readers), it got a fantastic response.  But they’re not the only lies that people are still clinging to.  There is an unbelievable level of willful ignorance when it comes to double-standards, ESPECIALLY those pertaining to gender and sexuality.

But fear not, ladies and gentlemen, and other genders not encompassed by those terms, I am here to talk about six serious contradictions that we see ALL THE TIME-~-in politics, in popular culture, in the blogosphere, and in everyday life.  (I promise, I’ll try to keep this one a little shorter than I did the Eight Lies About Feminism post).

CONTRADICTION #1:  The Slut Myth v Male Sexuality

This is the big one, the best-known one, the classic.  Society does not punish men for sleeping around, but labels women sluts and then uses this to discredit them if something happens.  I think everyone reading this can probably agree that rape victims never asked to be raped, and that such accusations are ridiculous.

But while we’re on the subject of society’s inability to deal with female sexuality, I just want to take a moment to talk about WHY.

FIRST, because society has determined that women are to be the caretakers of children, it is necessarily riskier and therefore “more careless” for women to have sex because they can get pregnant.  Society does NOT seem to ascribe the same level of responsibility for parenthood to guys, so it seems to be less of an issue for men to get women pregnant than for women to get pregnant (this is ANOTHER absurd double-standard, but I didn’t want to list it independently here).  This argument makes substantially less sense in a world where we have contraceptives, but whatever.  SECOND, because a woman’s value USED to be determined by her so-called virtue, female sexuality became something to be suppressed, instead of embraced.  And THIRD, because sex is painted as an activity meant to fulfill male desires, the concept of female sexuality becomes incompatible with this.

CONTRADICTION #2: The Slut Myth vs The Friend Zone

“The slut label is how society punishes women for exercising their right to say yes.  And anger about the friend zone is how society punishes women for exercising their right to say no”-~-unknown

First of all, it’s a woman’s right to choose who she wants to get involved with.  And if you’re not what she’s looking for, I’m sorry.  But second, being super nice to a girl in the hopes of getting involved with her isn’t actually nice; it’s manipulative.    And third, it’s not that girls go out of their way to date jerks, sending so-called “nice guys” to the so-called “friend zone”-~-it’s that some guys know how to get a girls’ attention and some don’t.

If you are a man in the “friend zone” and it is not where you wanted to be, instead of blaming the woman, why don’t you just pause for a second and think about what YOU did to end up in the friend zone?

And while you’re thinking about that, here’s a piece from Heartless Bitches International (which is another interesting blog to read when you’re bored) entitled “Why ‘Nice Guys’ Are Often Such Losers”.

CONTRADICTION #3: Domestic Violence vs Public Violence

For some interesting reason I can’t seem to pinpoint, domestic violence is a “domestic issue” that is poorly addressed by the courts; but if it happened in the middle of a park or on the metro, we would stop overlooking it.  This seems a bit ridiculous, since abuse is abuse and violence is violence, but is nonetheless an ongoing double-standard people seem to hold.

CONTRADICTION #4: Pro-Life…at All Costs

This will never stop making me angry.  Why?  Because it has been proven that having abortion be outlawed just leads to women seeking dangerous illegal abortions, which in turn lead to greater maternal mortality.  You can read more about this specific issue in a previous post of mine, Wake Up and Smell the Funeral Pyres.  On top of that, however, opposing abortion even when it could save a mother’s life or protect a mother’s health is dangerous.  It is not pro-“life”, and it prioritizes a fetus that cannot survive on its own over an autonomous adult human being.  It is an ABSURD double-standard to say that such policies protect life when in fact they simply prioritize one “life” (note: a fetus is not alive. It cannot sustain itself outside the mother’s womb yet) over another.  Just call it “pro-fetus”.

CONTRADICTION #5: “Family Values” vs Individual Well-Being

So, you think that a woman being abused by her significant other should have reported it?  Let’s talk about that for a moment, shall we?  First, people in abusive relationships may be too scared to come forward-~-they may have even been told that if they say anything or try to leave the relationship they will be beaten or killed.  Under those circumstances, these women (and men) don’t really have the option of coming forward.

But when they do, America has a nice slap in the face waiting for them.

First, it’s “why did you wait so long?”  And then, it’s “Divorce/single parenthood is destroying family values”

Divorce may be breaking up families, but it doesn’t just HAPPEN.  Things CAUSE divorces.  Conflating the cause with the effect in order to pin blame for something on a phenomena just makes no sense.  The REAL threats to family values come to things like spousal abuse, domestic violence, alcoholism and other addictions, etc.

On top of that, telling people (mostly women in this case) that they are “destroying family values” because they chose an option to protect their own well-being and/or that of their children is simply wrong.  This vague concept of “values” should never outweigh the well-being of actual people.

CONTRADICTION #6: “Family Values” vs Gay Rights

Here’s the thing about “family values”: they’re not that well defined.  No one codified them, we’re simply deriving them from the perceived values of the majority of the aggregate (translation from sociology to English: this is what we think most people believe).  But if I HAD to guess, I’d say that “stability”, “love”, “support”, “caring”, etc, are pretty fundamental to our understanding of the family in America.  Does that make sense?

So when people try to say that gay marriage threatens these family values, they’re just making up nonsense.  If anything, THEY threaten their own values by saying that not all love is equal, that not all support is equal, that not all loyalty is equal…and in doing so they devalue these very principles by creating a fictional hierarchy in which these concepts only apply to a certain portion of the population and can never be universalized, when these values themselves ought be universal.  This is just another example of certain elements of society trying to use pretty rhetoric to elevate themselves over another in a way that just makes absolutely no sense.

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~ by Randi Saunders on April 15, 2012.

3 Responses to “Six Double-Standards Society Is Still Accepting”

  1. […] Six Double-Standards Society Is Still Accepting […]

  2. […] and strongly oppose slut-shaming, for a lot of reasons.  Slut-shaming is the result of a miserable double-standard that we as a society should be trying to end, for starters; for another, it makes it difficult to […]

  3. I really loved this article.It addressed all the right things,and explained why they were there.Anyone who disagrees with these should reread it.

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