Why is there a Double Standard?

There is a definite double standard between men and women in the college environment. Kathleen Bogle states designates a whole chapter to provide readers an explanation and attempt to create an understanding for those of us who don’t really get it. So, guys are free to hook up with whoever comes at them (or whoever they go after) while girls have to be cautious to maintain a good reputation, one that does not include the words “slut” or “whore”. Furthermore, we are given standards to live by with no boundaries. Larry, a senior at Faith University, stated that a girl is considered a slut if she sleeps with twelve guys in a short period of time or if she hooks up with five guys in a week, which means a new guy every day. This statement really bothered me because I feel like that is not the least bit realistic. So where do these guys get these obscenely high numbers when being asked what a “slut” is? Do they think that girls are morally corrupt or do they use their numbers for background knowledge to make the estimate? The more important question may be: who are these guys to determine what the definition of a “slut” is? Why can they hook up with large amounts of girls and still be considered a bro? If guys are given the opportunity to define such a harsh term, we clearly have a problem in society. This double standard is very unclear which gives guys more freedom and girls more of an opportunity to be judged. I also found it displeasing that once a girl hooks up with a guy, she is talked about with the “bros” which could possibly place a target on her. A target that calls for boys to stay away from her or one that draws them in. It was interesting that boys who want to hook up look for the “trophy girl”, one that does not hook up often. My question is, if she does not hook up often then why does he think he’s something special enough to persuade her to hookup. Does it make her more of a trophy girl if she turns him down knowing she is just another girl to him?

By interviewing boys and providing statistics, it is known that boys don’t want to date in college. They want to “have fun.” It takes two to tango. Therefore, in the midst of trying to have their own fun they are putting the moves on many girls. In society today, a girl will do whatever it takes to try to get a boy to fall for her, even if that means hooking up. Maybe boys are essentially the start to this unfortunate domino effect. Let’s set up a scenario: A girl sees a guy at a party who she thinks is very attractive, they talk, he uses his sweet talking abilities, they leave and now they are in bed together. By the time the night is over, he’s a bro and she’s a slut?

This video displays the sexual double standard wonderfully.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baT3LWaSfuM

She explains that this double standard has taken place for a really long time. Even though both a man and a woman are involved in the act, the woman is viewed as promiscuous.

Earlier in the semester, we talked about sexual education programs in school. Many were not efficient and some schools did not have them at all. This woman in the video brings up a very important fact. Many young girls today are told not to be too revealing with their outfits because boys will get the wrong impression. Therefore, they need to be taught more than only abstinence in these programs. As I said, this sexual double standard is really not specific which allows anyone to say mean things. Even girls call girls sluts when they are not particularly taking part in any action that would resemble the actions of a “slut”. This is the time where we need to educate to stop this double standard.

My questions for you: How can we stop this double standard? Do boys instigate it? Why are they given the opportunity to define it? Should Kathleen Bogle have interviewed guys at different universities? Do you think there is any hope to end this double standard?

What does sex have to do with costumes?

Halloween is a holiday where children dress up and get treats at different houses. But once you pass elementary school it becomes an opportunity for girls to dress wildly inappropriately and appear as “sluts”. Somehow most costumes turn overly sexual, especially for women. Is dressing in inappropriate costumes socially acceptable or does the excuse of a party make it justifiable? Continue reading

What’s Sex got to do with……..Kevin Gates??

“Ho told me the other she sent a nigga to jail. I thought it was legal to beat your hoe.” These are the opening lines to Kevin Gates hit single ‘Sposed to be in Love. He goes on to describe the current state of affairs between him and his significant other.  In short, the young lady has decided that she no longer wants anything to do with Mr. Gates. She has even moved his belongings out of her home as a show of her seriousness in her decision to cut all ties with the narrator. In response to the young lady’s refusal to have anything more to do with him ,he declares that they are “supposed to be in love and ain’t no breaking up, and there ain’t no walking out”.

Throughout the song, Mr. Gates alternates between telling listeners that he will not allow his significant other the luxury of leaving him alone and describing the behaviors that led her to want to leave him. These behaviors include violence as well as lying and general mistreatment of her. This song reinforces the ideals of heterosexuality and power that plays out in our society everyday.

In her article  Sex and Power, Kristen Barber argues that hetero-sex is a mechanism by which men dominate women. She goes on to say that in order to understand the subordination of women in the United States, one must analyze the practice of heterosexuality. Heterosexuality enforces gender norms where men dominate women and women are supposed to adhere unquestioningly to this dynamic of male empowerment and female dis-empowerment.  In ‘Sposed to be in Love, we can see this dynamic at play. This song depicts a man exercising his dominance over his female partner. She no longer loves him and has decided to leave, but as the dominant party in the situation he feels as though it is his right to set the parameters of their relationship. Including, but not limited to, whether or not she can leave him. Rap music and songs like this specifically make way for such misogyny  to thrive.

This begs the question:What will have to be done before our society can see a balance in gender roles??

Stop Objectifying Me

In our society, we have a big problem with objectification; that is, seeing people (who have dynamic personalities, feelings, and characters) as objects that serve a purpose. The dominant conversation on this topic is the issue of women being objectified, primarily by men, in the media, pornography, stereotypes, and even in personal, everyday situations. In these cases, women are seen as symbols of sex, there to fulfill a man’s needs and look good for him. A woman may be catcalled on the street by males who see her as eye candy walking along for them. She may be referred to in country songs as a pretty little thing who shakes her “money maker,” or in rap songs as a bitch who will “drop that ass.” Explicit photos of women (meant for one person, but leaked) are often circulated through social media websites and cell phones without any regard to her feelings. Men go to see some movies because a famously “hot” or “sexy” actress is in it, not really caring about her acting skills, but just about her appearance. In many cases, pornography focuses on women being there to get the man to cum, not on mutual pleasure or experience. The continued objectification of women perpetuates the idea of women as being only as good as how pretty they are, with little to no regard to women’s skills, personalities, or accomplishments. Continue reading

What does sex have to do with…. Hair?

Hair and shaving in general helps define gender norms. Society says that women should have long hair on their head but should have hair nowhere else. It reinforces the idea that women should be innocent and pure, just like a child. Society wants women to express their sexuality but not act upon it. Women are supposed to be innocent yet seductive at the same time. They are supposed to be sexual objects rather than sexual subjects. The “good girl” ideal is brought up in “Adolescent Girls’ Sexuality”; “if girls want to be considered good, nice or even normal, adolescent girls are not (really) supposed to have sexual feelings of their own”(p.154). Young girls bodies are supposed to be viewed upon as desirable, yet not engage in their own desires. To keep this sexual image up, girls turn to shaving their legs. Shaving is just another way of society expecting women to change their outward appearance to make their bodies easier to identity. Shaving adds target these beliefs by showing women with long flowing hair shaving their legs in very seductive ways. Long hair is a defining characteristic that is used to show which gender you associate with. Women with short hair are sometimes seen as elderly or a “dyke”. Short hair has become less of a stereotype due to a trend in famous actresses cutting their hair off.

file://localhost/Users/KaraLucenti/Desktop/no-shave-no-shame2.jpeg

While on women lack of body hair shows femininity, on men it is the opposite. The gender norms for men say to be hairy is to show their masculinity. As it talked about in “Sexualizing Asian Male Bodies”, hairless bodies are seen to be feminine, homosexual or asexual. The desexualizing of Asian men is due to their “softness” The importance correlation between body and masculinity are clear. To be masculine every part of your body needs to match expectations. Just like females the amount of hair that is on your body is how people judge what sex you are. Men with long hair on their head and no hair on their legs are viewed as homosexual because society places people in binaries based on gender, sex and sexuality. Due to society connecting sexuality to masculinity, once act can cause men to be seen as homosexual. If men aren’t explicitly masculine, they are right away viewed as the opposite of that, which is feminine .

What’s sex got to with the manic pixie dream girl?

The manic pixie dream girl (MPDG) archetype is recurrent in numerous films. The most popular and recent examples of the MPDG are in 500 Days of Summer, Love & Other Drugs, Garden State, and Almost Famous, which we covered in class a while ago. The narrative of the MPDG follows a typical pattern. According to Wikipedia, they are cinematic “creatures” that are usually bubbly, weird, and quirky, and they exist solely to uplift and support a sensitive, brooding man. For the purpose of the film, MPDGs are typically static characters that serve as the romantic interest for the person that really matters, the male protagonist. They are girly and cute and encourage men to embrace life by teaching them about the happiness and adventure that life brings.

I can’t speak for anyone else’s experiences, but regardless of how much of a feminist critique I can offer on the MPDG, I still love movies featuring this stock character. I always end up liking her, rooting for her, or seeing parts of myself in her. I assume that lots of women and girls feel the same way when they watch films with MPDGs. Moreover, I also assume that men also like the MPDG, considering her desirable and attainable. This is troubling and potentially problematic because it relates back to issues of sex, power, and “compulsive heterosexuality,” topics that feminist scholars Adrienne Rich and Catherine MacKinnon explore in depth.

All aspects of society, as Adrienne Rich argues, act as social forces toward heterosexuality. In other words, society romanticizes and normalizes heterosexuality. Rich calls this “compulsive heterosexuality,” and it’s a way of thinking and behaving that goes unquestioned. For Rich, every sexual desire and behavior in a patriarchal society is related to gender dynamics and ultimately expresses male dominance or women’s resistance. Catherine MacKinnon goes one step further and insists that sex is a tool used by men to control and manipulate women.

“To the extent that men have the power to define what desires, feelings, and behaviors are sexual, they can define women’s sexuality in a way that positions them as subordinate. […] Women’s sexual liberation involves fashioning a sexual life that reflects their own needs, feelings, and desires.” What does the MPDG have to do with what these feminist scholars have to say?

Kristen Barber, “Sex and Power”

MPDGs are defined in terms of men and their purpose throughout a film is to help men pursue happiness. They are assumed to have already figured themselves and the world out, and as a result, MPDGs are static characters who are not concerned about themselves, only their male interests. MPDGs, with their eccentric personalities and their hyper-femininity, are the center of male desire. What does it mean that the MPDG is super feminine and cute? What does it say about her gender and sexuality that she exists to serve a man.

As we’ve learned in class, the film industry is like a microcosm of the larger patriarchal society and they have a lot of power and influence in media and culture. Those in the film industry send subtle messages about culture to the public, especially creators of movies with MPDGs because these films with this stock character are inherently structured around particular values about gender and sexuality.