What’s Sex Got to do With.. Double Standards (FINAL POST)

A double standard is “a rule or principle that is unfairly applied in different ways to different people or groups” (dictionary.com). I completely hate that there is a double standard especially when it comes to genders. Excuse my language but it is bullshit knowing that guys can do one thing and when girls then do it they get scolded or shamed. For our group project, my partners and I looked at gender double standards and there are a good amount. Clearly most people know about the double standards against women more than they do men.

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Seeing Double

Kathleen Bogle’s book, Hooking Up, devotes an entire chapter to discussing the double standard as it exists on college campuses. In it, she illustrates how women are seen as “good” if they do not have sex with many people, do not dress provocatively, and take things slow and wait awhile to have sex. A “bad” girl is one who may be incredibly sexy, but has sex with many men, dresses improperly, and has sex when she wants to. Bogle’s research has shown that men and women in hookup cultures want different things; men want only sex and women want relationships. Now, (setting aside psychological reasons like women being more emotional and getting attached more easily) some women are looking for relationships because they want to marry in a few years. Other women may feel the need to be in relationships to protect their reputations and not be labeled “sluts” for having sex. As far as sex goes, men can have sex as much as they want to without having to worry about any sort of social backlash; they have basically no rules. For women, however, it is a different story.  It is very easy for a woman to get a bad reputation– if she hooks up too often, hooks up with too many different people, hooks up with two friends (or frat brothers), dresses too scandalously, or behaves too wildly. When women do engage in these no-no’s, they are labeled as “sluts,” stigmatized, ostracized, and not seen as candidates for relationships. It seems women who want to be in relationships almost have to trick or coerce the men to be in them. Bogle found that guys are a little more willing to enter into friends-with-benefits relationships, although they are still worried about women wanting “more.” Because clearly men and women want different things, men want hookups and women want relationships, why do women not opt-out? Men are in a higher position of power within hookup culture, because that is all that they want. If women choose not to participate in hookup culture, they don’t really have any other options.

As an undergraduate female at Vanderbilt, I have seen, and even experienced firsthand, much of the double standard and differing goals of male and female students. One guy I’ve heard of is extremely well known for hooking up with lots of girls; people who talk of him almost regard him with a sort of awe. On the other hand, my female friend was once worrying about being seen dancing on guys at parties, as she didn’t want to get a bad rep like some other girls who were known for sleeping around. Guys really don’t have many “rules” governing what kind of behavior is acceptable. Hooking up with someone else’s girlfriend may make him mad at you, but you’ll still probably gain a lot of esteem from your friends. Really, guys can hook up with whomever they want, whenever they want, and not face much (if any) stigma. Girls, however, have to watch their steps. I do not agree with these labels or stigma, but I am describing what I see as dominant scripts here on campus. A woman who avoids sex and parties altogether may be branded a “good girl,” someone innocent and naive, or possibly a “goody-goody” who stands on a moral high ground above the other people who do engage in those behaviors. She can’t be too “good,” but woman cannot go too far in the other direction either. If she drinks and parties too much, she may get a name for that, especially if she makes a habit of getting “sloppily” drunk, passing out, or throwing up. If a woman has sex with too many people, she is seen as a “slut,” and then is less desirable. If a woman is looking for a relationship, she can’t have sex with the candidate too soon, or else he won’t see her as relationship material (I just want to point out that it takes two to tango here, he had sex just as soon as she did). Now, a woman’s safest bet here is to have a boyfriend (if she can snag one), or even a friend-with-benefits. She wouldn’t be judged for sleeping with too many people, or regarded as “too good” to hook up with anyone.

The problem is that a large amount of guys are not looking for relationships. They view college, especially the first couple years, as a time to let loose and have fun. Everyone just wants to party and live the college experience, right? I think that many freshmen, guys and girls, come into college with this mentality, but that over time, it gradually changes. I agree that girls are more likely to want relationships, but that there is no clear course to finding one when hooking up seems to be the only option.

I think this double standard is completely ridiculous, though the solution is not to start slut-shaming men equally. Men and women should be able to have sex whenever, however, and with whomever they want (with consent). No one should have to feel embarrassed about their sexuality. Having sex does not make someone a bad person. Our culture needs to recognize women as sexual beings with desires of their own who can make choices for themselves and do not need the fear of outside judgment to keep them in line. It is absurd to me that today, in 2014, men and women are still not equals. They may be protected from discriminatory practices by law, but in social situations with socially constructed rules and scripts for behavior, men are often favored.

How do you think we can work to eradicate the double standard? Why do you think guys do not seem to want relationships, but girls do? Does the double standard apply to non-heterosexual and non-cisgender people?

Slut Shaming vs. Prude Shaming: The Double Standard

Freshman year is a time to let go of your past, meet new people, and start a new life in a new place. Time to let go of high school, right? Well what happens when you finally get to college? What is the expectation of the social scene and interaction with the opposite sex? First off, there is certainly an expectation of “hooking up” in college that is almost unspoken. In a new environment without parental supervision and the ability to do what you want when you want, a lot can happen. Despite a new place and new times, there are certainly still double standards that present themselves.

Unfortunately, in today’s world we feel the need to have to label everything that comes through us. From “straight” to “gay”, or “slut” to “prude”, or “ugly” to “hot”, it seems as if we always need to categorize people. But what satisfaction do we get from this, besides making ourselves feel better or worse… A common theme I see in young people today is the need to “slut-shame” versus the need to call someone a “prude”. Slut and prude are two words that both share a negative context. To females today, no one would ever want to be labeled as a slut. However, on the contrary, no one wants to be labeled as a prude either. It’s a lose/lose situation. Yet, why is it that when women have multiple partners and are considered “slutty”, it is the worst thing in the world? While no one’s number should matter, the sexual standard between men and women is alive and well. Men who sleep around are considered players and studs and are admired by their friends for their “game”. While women, on the other hand, who sleep around are deemed sluts by both men and women and are then looked down upon. Now how is this fair? For some reason, however, in modern day men simply aren’t judged like women are when it comes to sexuality.

It’s interesting how recently, since taking this class, I’m more prone to noticing sexist ridiculousness of slut shaming displayed in movies. Some movies are beginning to address the double standard and expectations between men and women’s sexuality. Women shouldn’t be attacked for their right to say yes to sexual activity, and women shouldn’t be attacked for their right to say no; however, it is something that we will continually be scrutinized for no matter which way we choose. One movie that I specifically noticed calling out this double standard is The Breakfast Club. There is a scene in this movie that pretty much sums up slut shaming and the Madonna/Whore Complex all in one go. The Madonna/Whore Complex is one that either classifies women as virgin-like, similar to the virgin Mary, or whore-like. These are the women considered “sluts”. In The Breakfast Club, after everyone is berating Clare (Molly Ringwald’s character) about her sex status Allison expresses something that is so true in the world today. She says, “Well, if you say you haven’t had sex, you’re a prude. If you say you have you’re a slut. It’s a trap. You want to but you can’t, and when you do you wish you didn’t, right?” In Kathleen Bogle’s, “Hooking Up”, she addresses the double standard of men and women that exists today. Bogle discusses how women face judgment when they are promiscuous, while men have the freedom to be as sexual as they want. It is this type of negative reinforcement that creates the double standard between men and women.

Another interesting quote by Bogle is when she states that, “Rule #1 for women: do not act like men in the sexual arena… For women who are active participants, the hook up system is fraught with pitfalls that can lead to being labeled as a ‘slut’” (103). This double standard creates the idea that women are the prey for men’s predatory sexuality.  A man is supposed to try to sleep with a woman, where as a woman is supposed to resist the man or else be labeled a slut.  It is an idea that should be offensive to both men and women alike. So what kind of measures can we take to end slut shaming and prude shaming? I think we simply have to learn to relax and move at our own pace. No one can give into anyone else’s expectations and no one can enforce anything on other people.  A man or woman who wants to wait for marriage should not be shamed for their decision, and neither should a man or woman who is more open in the way they approach sex.  Sex shouldn’t be something anyone feels pressured into, rather it should be something agreed on by mutually two consenting people. All in all, I think once acceptance of each person’s sexuality and choices is made, slut-shaming and prude-shaming can be ended and avoided, and double standards can cease to exist.

Do you think this double standard between men and women will ever end? Or do you think women will always be categorized as a “slut” for being sexually active? Why do you think this is in the first place?

Race: Filipina Women, Asian Men, and Racism around the Globe

Racial hierarchies around the world consistently rank “whiteness” as more valuable and other races as less valuable. Being able to “pass” for white, which is a fluid commodity rather than a set racial identity, oftentimes opens up spaces of privilege while being perceived as “not white” in conjunction with being an immigrant, can be very limiting and harmful. For immigrant women particularly, racial hierarchies, in which whiteness is often valued and being “other” is restrictive, greatly influence their social experiences in the countries to which they immigrate. This racial phenomenon looks very different in different regions. In the United States for instance, Asian males, who in some parts of the world, are seen as white, are not viewed as “white enough”. As a consequence of being viewed as lower ranking in the hierarchy of male bodies, according to Kong, their bodies are desexualized, making it difficult for them to thrive and express their sexuality in this culture.

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What’s Sex Got to do With… Easy A?

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.

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What’s Sex Got to Do With the Question: Does This Shirt Make Me Look Like a Slut?

Deborah L. Tolman discusses adolescent girls’ sexuality and the double standard surrounding it. Girls are expected to be sexy but not sexual, just as one of Hannah’s viewers commented that they wanted girls to sluts when with them but celibate elsewhere. The same binary is being reinforced in both statements. Tolman goes on to talk about “sexual socialization” which determines when it is appropriate to be sexual and to what extent.

In the video above Hannah Witton explores the idea of “dressing like a slut”. It’s a question she’s been asked time and time again, what type of clothes make a woman look like a slut? From here she then questions what does a slut even look like? In attempts to find an answer, Hannah begins by trying a whole variety of going out clothes. This led to Hannah raising a series of thought-provoking questions, about what defines a slut and how one could even tell who is a slut based on what they wear. She took to social media to determine what is a slut, asking people on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook. Tumblr and Twitter users had fairly progressive definitions of what a “slut” is, acknowledging that it is a patriarchal concept and a derogatory term. Facebook users instead chose to describe a “slut” as a woman who has way too much sex or dresses like she does. Eventually she comes to the decision that there is no such thing as a slut, that every individual can decide for themselves how many people they sleep with. She furthers this statement, stating that the way a person dresses can in no way tell you how many people they sleep with.

This phenomena stating that the way a woman chooses to dress has anything to do with her sexual behavior is a very predominant ideal on college campus. While getting ready for a night out, I frequently have friends ask if the “shirt/shorts/skirt/dress” makes them look slutty; I’ve asked that question myself. As a female on a college campus, there often feels like there is a certain expectation to look attractive without looking too promiscuous. This creates a fine line between appropriate and inappropriate dress, with far different guidelines for the daytime and the nighttime. What often seems to hold the guidelines in place is the hook-up culture discussed by Bogle, females and males on college campuses seem to hold great value in who they hooked-up with (even if the definition of “hooking-up” varies greatly from person to person).

But why does what you wear have anything to do with your sexual history? For all you know, the girl in the teensy crop top and short shorts is a virgin and the girl in the turtleneck and jeans has slept with half the brothers in one fraternity. Does it even matter? Choice of dress and sexual history have no correlation or causation to connect each other, yet the impression that there is direct causation between the two seems to reign supreme. Is it that girls are told if they want to “get guys” they have to dress in skimpy, promiscuous-looking clothing, do girls who do want to have sex intentionally dress in those styles of clothing? Do you think the stereotypes reinforce the behavior or is there merit to the study?

 

Walk of Pride?

It’s November 1st. As I walk to breakfast, I see two cats, a schoolgirl, a pizza, and a firefighter. Wasn’t Halloween yesterday?

Though everyone knows these individuals are still in costume because they “shacked” or spent the night in someone else’s room, this walk of shame is taken lightly and even seen as humorous.

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