Most of us have probably experienced the social double standards associated with sex. Guys who sleep with a lot of women are seen as charismatic players and girls who sleep around are seen as sluts. This sexual double standard implies that a man and a woman can both sleep with five people over the span of a month, and the man will likely be hailed as a ladies man while the woman will be considered a whore. This sexual phenomenon seems to permeate men and women of all ages. The comedy film “Easy A” perfectly depicts this double standard in a modern high school setting.
In the book “Hooking Up”, Kathleen A. Bogle interviews college students to gain insight on the differing social consequences of sex among men and women. Bogle sums it up quite nicely: “Rule number one for women is: Do not act like men in the sexual arena” (Bogle 103). Men suffer no social repercussions for sleeping with too many girls, and in fact it seems that “stigmatization occurs only for men who cannot ‘get any’” (Bogle 104). This double standard is also evident in the way males and females dress. Men who dress to impress are considered sophisticated and successful whereas women who dress too glamorously outside of major social events are seen as high maintenance, needy, and perhaps slutty.
In “Easy A” Emma Stone plays Olive, a high school girl who ultimately ends up “pretending” to hook up with many guys to increase their social status as sexual men. The men end up compensating for the fake hook ups with random gifts and money. Olive first pretends to hook up with her gay friend who couldn’t handle being bullied for being gay:
Eventually, Olive begins to develop a reputation as a slut who will sleep with anyone:
It almost seems as if this film was made just to address this sexual double standard. Olive and the guys she is “sleeping” with both are perceived as sexually active, but the female is stigmatized for it while the guys get praised. I noticed that this double standard in very evident at Vanderbilt. Why do you think this particular double standard exists? Does it exist for good reason or should something be done about it? Do you feel that it threatens equality between men and women in any way? How have you seen this double standard come into play in your life?