Being a Stud vs. Being a Slut……

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One of the most important takeaways from this article is the use of people centered language. I find it really interesting that the people don’t see the differences in language that demonize women for their sexuality. Woman a forced into a condition of either being a virgin or a prude or they are considered slutty for having sex. Meanwhile, men have a really opposite experience. Men who don’t have sex are seen as inadequate or undesired but when they do they are praised for their cunning, charm and more. The double standard is more favorable towards men because men at least have an option for positive regard while woman are, metaphorically speaking, in between “a rock and a hard place”.  Because of these ideas, it creates a situation for women where they feel they need to rationalize every sexual act they participate in or they internalize the double standard and begin to identify themselves as sluts. It’s very sad to see how the double standard affects the women’s own perception of their sexuality.

Another problem that I gauged from the double standard is that women are generally thought as to be a docile, submissive, “prey”. I this belief emerges from the Bible and other similar religions. In Christianity, the bible says that men are the head of the household and that women should follow the orders of their husbands. Although many of these ideas may seem outdates, remnants of these ideas exist in the way we behave. Our attitudes in society have a narrative that girls are need to be led astray by a man to let go of her values and have sex when in actuality a girl is acting on her sexual impulses just as much as a man would. This also eliminates the narrative that women can prey on men or be dominant of their sexual acts.

The double standard is very dangerous because it also eliminates the narrative of male rape. If men are always preying on women, the idea that men can be raped by women is impossible. However, we know that male rape is something that happens in our society. This is very dangerous because rape has been a crime that has been thought as only being a crime against women. In recent years, this idea has changed but it’s very alarming to think that it’s only been in recent years that this mentality that women were incapable of rape still existed. Having a double standard that paints a group as weaker than the other can really limit the protections afforded to the dominant group.

An interesting point that the article made was about woman’s bodies being constantly under a state of “conquest”. This statement was pretty profound, however, it resonated with me because it’s true. Woman are constantly at odds with different groups in society who are trying to colonize their bodies for their individual interests. All of these acts by these different interest groups are groups trying to exert their power against women as if women are not able to control what happens with their own bodies.  I find it very insulting that these double standards exist because it implies that women in my life like my mother and sisters do not know what to do with their bodies and I know that they do.

I also thought the commentary the author made about heterosexual sex was the only kind of real sex that existed is a sentiment that is really pervasive today. There is a very specific definition of “sex” in our society that is very heteronormative. If I could ask the author of this article a question it would be, “How can we define sex in a way that in gender neutral?” Defining sex as something that is gender neutral would be very beneficial because I think it may help with language around dominance and submission.  For example, if sex was defined as an exchange between two people rather than a man preying on a woman, then it would really remove the assumption of a gender power dynamic.

The purpose of this article was made clear in the final paragraph. Valenti wrote this article as a call to action. As a man, reading this article was very impactful. I was unaware of the impact my double standards could have on women and how they experience the world. There are a lot of changes I can make to ensure that I do not reinforce double standards with my language and actions.

I think it is very important for people to read articles like this because they can really enlighten people and change their perspectives. We are all human beings and deserve to be afforded the same rights regardless of people’s varying beliefs. Although this idea seems like common sense, there is going to have to be a lot of explicit education and changes in the representation of women in media. Woman need to be represented in media as positive, powerful icons rather than images that reinforce these sexist ideals.

If I had to ask some questions from this article, I would ask:

How can we remove the notion of “purity” around women since it is so deeply rooted in religion?

How does this affect women who want to uphold traditions of virginity until marriage?

What are ways that larger populations of people can be made aware of how these double standards affect women?

Resources

http://www.alternet.org/story/86736/he%27s_a_stud,_she%27s_a_slut%3A_the_sexual_double_standard

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Sexual Agency and Experimentation

Deborah Tolman’s Adolescent Girls’ Sexuality brings to light the idea of sexual subjectivity, or a young woman’s sense of self as a sexual person who is entitled to have sexual feelings and make active decisions about sexual behavior. Being sexual subjects requires young ladies to have more agency with their sexuality–to be active agents in the choices they are making. It also requires that these young women have sexual well-being, including sexual and reproductive health, comfort with one’s body, feelings and desires, and awareness of and having the freedom to act upon sexual desires.

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“Guys are just homophobic” and that’s not changing anytime soon

Adolescence is a difficult time for everyone. All young people struggle to find themselves and to define their identity. However, while adolescent females struggle to develop their sexuality and identity in a society where they are expected to sexy but not to have sexual feelings of their own, or rather they are supposed to be sexual objects but not sexual subjects (Tolman 153-158), males also face many difficulties because they are very restricted by a need to protect their masculinity by never appearing too feminine or weak. If boys lapse or deviate from the social standards, they risk becoming a target for unrelenting homophobic harassment. In order to avoid this, most young boys work very hard to convince others of their heterosexuality at all costs.

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Final Concept Analysis: Social Constructions

When we began discussing social constructions in class, I was wowed. Of course, I have been living my whole life immersed in society and accepting all the messages it was sending me, but I never realized that all of it was just made up. We do, know, and think so many things that allow us to function within society, but most of this was learned. I didn’t inherently know that I was supposed to wear clothes when I left my house, brush my teeth twice a day, or eat three meals a day. I wasn’t born knowing that I was a white, German-blooded, Catholic female who lived in the US, and yet, I’ve grown up with these things as facts of life. Really though, those are all social constructs that have been made up by people and societies who’ve lived before me and taught to me by the people around me. Continue reading

Final Reflection: A Post on Society & Sex

Upon being asked the question of what the most important and influential concept to understanding the relationship between sex and society covered in this semester, I began to think about all the different concepts talked and read about in class. When thinking about everything, I began to see connections between different terms that came up throughout the semester that were discussed that I had never seen before. The concepts are all fairly different, yet are all still related in some ways because of the manner that society has been formed over the years. Agents of socialization, sex education, social constructions, and heteronormativity have all become interconnected, creating an environment of hostility towards people who do not identify as heterosexual.

The agents of socialization people are exposed to impact their views on everything in life. However, their views on sex are affected more so than some other aspects of life are. The socialization of sex and sex education has a more prevalent impact on how a person forms their ideas and views on sex. The environment a person was raised in, their religion, schooling experience, family, friends, and the media all heavily influence the formation of what sex means and should mean to a person. But, this can be dangerous- with the amount of societal constructions (such as what “good” or “normal” sex is, gender, etc.)  that exist today, it is easy for the manner in which a person was socialized to negatively affect their views on sex or gender. For example, many religions do not condone homosexuality, so if someone is raised in that environment, it is likely they would judge and discriminate anyone who is homosexual.

SInce gender is a social construction, it easy to stereotype and discriminate against those who do not fit into the gender binaries that exist today (boy and girl). So, those who appear as  lesbian, gay, queer, bisexual, or transgender are easily stereotypes and judged. The heteronormative ideals that are held by the majority of the people in this country also lead to stigmas and discrimination. When people who have other sexual orientations other than heterosexual, they are often mistreated by society and can even be susceptible to violence, sexual violence in particular (as seen in the video of the transgender man who used the bathroom of a New York McDonald and was beat for it by the manager, yet was charged for a misdemeanor when in actuality he was the victim ).

Over the years, this problem has perpetuated. It has become easier for discrimination and violence to occur without any repercussion on the perpetrator. The connections between these terms and these societal constructions and manifestations all lend to why society is as it is today and why people discriminate, act violently toward, and outcast nonheterosexual people. Having a good understanding of all these terms allows for a person too see the interconnectedness and understand why these horrible things occur. It allows for people to be aware of  the problem and not lend to it or be an enabler.