The main focus of my inquiry group is how stereotypes speak to, inform, and revise our sociocultural context. I want to focus specifically on sexual double standards and relationships.
Double standards most definitely exist in society today. Whether we like to admit it or not, and whether we recognize it or not. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t go along with the gender stereotypes that exit today. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I think they’re okay. It’s just that it’s become normal. We see stereotypes in all types of ways, and sometimes we don’t even realize it because we see it so often that we don’t think anything of them. That is until we are stereotyped in a way that we feel is unfair and we stop and think ‘wait a second..that’s not true. Why would someone think that about me?”.
This has recently come to my attention in a personal way when I fell victim to this stereotyping. For some reason, my boyfriend gets really bothered any time I have contact with another guy. I’m not talking about physical contact; just contact. He would get so upset if a guy texted me or liked my instagram picture. At first, I was like ‘okay, I guess I can see where he’s coming from’, but then I changed my mind when it started getting worse. I started feeling like he was accusing me all the time of something that I wasn’t doing. What made it even worse is that I wasn’t doing anything that he wasn’t doing. He has friends that are girls. Girls text him, snapchat him, like his pictures on instagram, etc. The only difference was that I wasn’t making him feel like crap for it. When I would bring that up to him he would say “it’s different for guys”. HOW?!?!? This really just got to me because I cannot seem to understand how it’s okay for guys to do certain things but not okay for girls to do the same things, which is why I chose to look further into double standards. I want to find more about why they exist, who is to blame, and how they affect relationships.
In trying to get to the bottom of sexual double standards, this study determined that woman are mainly responsible. The female control theory is the idea that girls refrain from sexual acts in order to protect their reputations and basically to raise the “value”, and they persuade other girls to do the same. But would girls need to raise the “value” if we considered each other as equals? The article suggests that girls consider other girls competition for potential mates, and are more likely to compete for a males attention.
If we could consider each other equals, we would wouldn’t have to put other girls down or make them feel bad about themselves or their choices. I think we would also be able to better recognize when a guy likes us for us.
This article found that from a sample of students, those who didn’t push for abstinence, believed that premarital sex was okay for males but not okay for females. Im wondering, though, if women shouldn’t be having sex before they’re married, but men can, who are these men supposed to sleep with? Married women? Does this mean that these students believe that it’s okay for women to be unfaithful? If not, then how did they come to the conclusion that it’s okay for males but not females?
The study says that girls are called ‘sluts’ and ‘bitches’ if they initiate sexual actions, but boys are congratulated and encouraged. It seems that girls can’t win. Boys “perceive girls as sexual objects”, but shame them for engaging in sexual behaviors. It was even found that things considered to be acceptable behaviors for males, such as making sexual passes at other boys’ girlfriends’ or to their own, was not considered acceptable for girls.
This study shows that when males were called “sluts”, it was in a much more congratulatory manner than it was for females. It also shows that when females are labeled “sluts”, they are basically shunned, and people tend to distance themselves from said “slut”. They mention that it is possible that the participants may have felt that they had to give a ‘socially acceptable’ response to the questions. But if these students feel like these double standards don’t exist so much on college campuses (which is where this study took place), then why do they think its more ‘socially acceptable’ to answer questions in favor of the double standard?
People always feel like they have to do or say the right thing, and sometimes that means saying things that you don’t believe to be true. What are we afraid of, though? Nobody likes to be judged,but ironically, in this situation, these students who were trying to avoid judgement, they were casting judgement on others.
In thi article, Labossiere says, “America is the place for freedom, liberty, and equality…unless we are talking women, sex, and relationships”. He realizes that women keep getting belittled and getting the “short end of the stick” when it comes to sexual double standards. He agrees that women contribute a lot to the double standards and gives the example or how they raise their daughters vs. how they raise their sons. But are mothers being sexist in how they teach their children, or are they teaching their daughters how to be a “lady”. What defines a “lady”? Is it avoiding promiscuity? Can a woman be sexual and still be considered a “lady”? Labossiere thinks that most men agree and wouldn’t want to change the double standard because they feel it gives them a sense of freedom.
Sexual double standards are “crippling relationships” because men don’t realize that women are actually very similar to them, and have similar experiences as them. They don’t realize because women are afraid to talk about it. You can’t be in a relationship without trust and honesty. Women should be able to be open and honest without being judged by their significant other.
Laura Bates talks about sexism that we see on a daily basis maybe without even realizing that its sexist. We have be “programmed” to think things are normal or acceptable when they’re not. Bates mentions that when she spoke up about an incidence where she was toughed inappropriately on a bus, she was told to stop overreacting. Was she overreacting? She says that she was on a bus and that if she hadn’t been on the phone with her mother, she probably wouldn’t have said anything about it. Was she trying to get attention? If so, was it the right kind of attention?
People love to broadcast their business on social media these days. Good and bad. Obviously, these people are trying to get attention. They want people to know that they graduated college, or that their boyfriend broke up with them. The question is, what kind of attention are they drawing to themselves. If Bates was trying to reach out for help on the bus that day, that’s a totally different type of attention then if she was trying to show people that men want her.