DionRabouin.com (sort of)

The Myth of the Double Standard

Posted in Opinion by dionrabouin on January 12, 2009

Allow me to begin by stating that I do believe in the existence of a sexual double standard between men and women. I give credence to the idea that when men are promiscuous and have multiple sexual partners they are labeled as pimps and players and other such honorable nicknames that afford them great regard amongst their friends. Women, conversely, are derided as sluts or tramps or other pejorative monikers that are not so pleasant. What I opine herein by referring to the double standard as a myth is not that it does not exist, but that its existence has been greatly exaggerated.

A myth, by definition, is not untrue or without merit, it’s simply a hyperbolic expression of that truth. To hear the illustrious dictionary.com tell it a myth is “A traditional, typically ancient story…that serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the psychology.”

I am not for a moment trying to convince you that this so-called double standard doesn’t exist, my point here is that it’s unfair to blame or bemoan men for its existence. Women’s unfortunate position in this so-called double standard is no one’s fault but their own and I’ll explain why.

Sleeping around, as a girl, is like being a pitcher in baseball and bragging about how many home runs you gave up. It’s like “Ooh, look at me I can get the ball in such a great spot that the batter will hit a home run.” It’s not impressive because you’re giving the batter what they want; it’s the same thing with sex. As a girl you’re socialized – however unfairly, and believe me I will get to that – to abstain from sex and to not have it. As men we’re socialized to go after sex and to have it as often as possible. So, just as the hitter is trained to hit home runs – even if the hitter isn’t trained to hit homeruns, if you throw a giant whopper over the plate, he’s gonna nail it eventually – the man is trained to (actively) want, e.g., go after, sex.

When you give the man sex, you haven’t done anything profound or impressive, you’ve just gotten in line with his objective and helped his cause. You’ve gone against your idealized objective and this is why you get chastised by your teammates. A batter who doesn’t know any better will continue to think that every pitcher he faces is going to be looking to further his objectives and couldn’t possibly take seriously another pitcher, because why should he?

The so-called double standard actually makes sense. This is why when women have a lot of sex they’re called easy, not because of some underlying, patriarchal inferiority complex that we’re reinforcing through sexuality, but because it’s easy to get what you want from them. When a homerun hitter hits a lot of homeruns and is championed for it, it’s because he’s scored against an opponent who was attempting to keep him from his objective.

When a man scores, it’s impressive because he won. When a girl has sex, she hasn’t won. She may not have lost, but she certainly has not scored a victory. For a girl, having sex is like scoring on an open goal, of course she was able to score: there wasn’t any defense. No man is trying to keep girls from having sex with him, and if there are men out there – which I will concede to the existence of – having sex with them isn’t really a victory either because no man has had the lifelong sociological preparation a woman has.

But getting to the sociological implications of this opinion, who then is to blame for this sociological disparity of sexual ambitions? I’ve heard some academics suggest that the primary socialization of chastity in girls is done by fathers, and honestly I think that’s complete hooey. Sure, fathers don’t want their daughters to be thought of as the town tramp, but think of how much more actively mothers attempt to instill chaste virtues into their daughters. Beyond the parental sphere or primary socialization, the world of secondary socialization points distinctly to same sex peers as the ones who enforce labeling and gender norms and ideologies. This, then. is also where females get the idea that sex is impure and uncouth, long before they even get to a point where they’re having sex.

There are sluts in every age group; I’ve heard of sluts at elementary school. The idea of slut labeling – and for the record slut labeling can be any number of terms that are essentially the same thing, slut is just the most popular – takes place mostly in junior high and high schools, where there are still large numbers — 50 percent high school and 90 percent middle school — of girls who haven’t even had sex. These names and labels are coming not from male peers, who are more the recipients end result of deviance and labeling than the purveyors. Of course, all the guys in a given area know who the sluts are and may even begin rumors that begin a “slut’s” reputation. But the taunting, the name-calling and the enforcement of consequence for slutty behavior is formidably perpetrated by females.

I will admit that the so-called double standard does act as a role sustaining instrument; it does create a framework for reinforcing sexual norms of men and women, but the primary intermediaries of this policy – that is, the oft whined about double standard itself – are females.

As a man I will attest to the fact that there are certainly repercussions for being known for sleeping around with a lot of girls. If found out, men face the same repercussions as women: a reputation for sleeping around, and a reputation for being “slutty.” The same things happen: a lot of women are reticent to sleep with you, many women don’t take you seriously as a potential relationship partner, and you are generally given less respect by the community of ladies who are in the know about your habits. But men – the team we play for – celebrate our achievements because they realize just how difficult it is to have sex with so many women, even if most aren’t putting up a great deal of fight.

Women still think of us as dogs, sleaze, players, man-whores, etc., when we sleep around, but fellow men fete our worth and achievements. Women – the team they play for – chastise, insult and degrade other women for being known as promiscuous with a lot of men. Instead of reveling in the quantitative accomplishments of their peers, as men do, women routinely reprimand fellow women for sleeping around. A lot of female literature I’ve read has noted the stark dissonance in men’s and women’s reactions toward men who are promiscuous. But little, if any, has typified the similarity between women’s and men’s reaction to women who sleep around. The same disdain from one team to the other for having a lot of sex exists; it’s just the reinforcement from ones peers – their team – that is different.

I accept the reality of the so-called double standard in our current world of dating. I would like to point out though, that in our current world of dating, men are expected to ask the girl on the date, pay for the date, buy the drinks, go in for the kiss, buy the presents on “special days”, make the move to have sex and if everything goes swimmingly, propose the engagement. There’s a lot of responsibility on our shoulders and all that’s really expected of a woman in all that is to show up and be herself. Yes, I know you have to wear those God-awful high heels and your super-tight clothing and make-up and push-up bras, all to deceive us about what you really look like. But for what you’re getting in return, it really doesn’t sound like a terrible investment, right?

I’m not even talking about the glass ceiling and the improprieties of a woman making 70 cents for doing the same job as a man who makes a dollar. That’s an indiscretion that comes with men being the bigger, stronger, more rational ones who went out for centuries — if not millenniums — to kill the food and fight the wars. Sure, now women are fighting the battles and are sometimes (I mean that to say that sometimes they are, and sometimes they aren’t, not that men are more often) more capable and qualified to do an essential job than a man and they should be paid accordingly. But progress is a slow process, ask any black person in America, we still haven’t gotten our 40 acres and a mule. That’s not what this is about.

This piece is directed to all the women who bitch, whine and moan about how they can’t get their rocks of with legions of unidentified strapping gentleman because of the so-called double standard. Think about the fact that it’s unfair you can’t screw the hot guy you’re dating after only two dates the next time you call Sally, the assistant, a slut because you’re “absolutely sure” something is going on with her and the boss. “How else could she have gotten a promotion so quickly?”

Think about how unfair the so-called double standard is next time you call the Barista at Pete’s a fucking tramp because she gave your boyfriend “a look.”

Most of all, think about how God damned unfair the double standard is the next time you and all your friends are sitting around talking about that little skank who you don’t even know, but you continually deride because she wears a skirt that’s just a little too short for the office.

Ladies, think about how unfair the so-called double standard is and then think about just how much and how often you reinforce its existence and validity every day. Think about that and then complain to a man. We’ll probably be too busy to pay attention to you because we’re chest-bumping our buddy for nailing that hot waitress last night. We could totally tell she wasn’t a slut or anything. Man has game.

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