The Concept of “Double Standards” is Degrading and Hurtful to Women

Many people believe double standards are a thing of the past, but unfortunately, they still exist in society today. Double standards thrive in everyday life, conversation and even in the workplace, where they supposedly do not apply. Men and women have never truly been equal. Both have been given unbalanced gender roles by religion, culture and society that tend to favor men.
A common misconception is that double standards rarely apply to men; this is not true. There are in fact double standards for men, but they apply to women more frequently. Women are often seen as lesser beings than men; a successful man is strong and smart while a successful woman is viewed as bossy or pushy. The patriarchal society we live in demands that men and women should not be equal and that we should follow a code of granting lesser rights to women. Women who realize this and speak out are considered “feminazis,” a term created by Rush Limbaugh, a popular radio talk show host who thrives on sexism and painkillers. Sexist slurs like these are used against women to shut down their opinions and lifestyles without giving them thought.

Both men and women are influenced by media and advertisements, but women are affected more heavily. It is more common for a weight loss commercial to be for a woman than a man. Granted, men are usually expected to be masculine, but a woman must always look feminine and may go to extreme or even dangerous lengths to maintain it. Although body hair is 100 percent natural, women are told to remove it or otherwise be called manly and disgusting. Meanwhile, a man who embraces his natural sheen is seen as masculine and strong. It is double standards like these that harm women mentally and physically.

Men who sleep with many women are considered “studs” or “players,” while women who have more than one sexual partner are considered “trashy” or “slutty.” Men are expected to date and have sex with a plethora of women whereas women are expected to be pure virgins. These double standards enforced upon women are ridiculous and virtually impossible if both sides were to be followed exactly, but somehow society still believes they should be followed. Double standards not only are insensitive but absurd because of the impossible tasks they call for.

Although we like to think sexist double standards do not affect us, they do. Far too often they make their way into the hallways of schools, especially at Marshfield. Slurs like “slut” are branded to girls who date more than one person at a school. Boys in high school are often idolized for having more than one girlfriend. Double standards blossom in school, where they eventually play a more serious role in the real world. If people learn that it is okay to treat sexes differently from one another while they are young, they will think it is acceptable as an adult to do the same.

The barrier that is the double standard between men and women is more harmful than we think. Allowing men more rights, sexual or professional, harms women from the day they are born. The idea that women are the weaker race, or must act a certain way for men, is enforced on them at birth and continues to dictate how they live up until the day they die. If action is not taken against this ever growing line between men and women, we will continue to regress, rather than progress, into a more stable, equal society. If we as a society finally realize double standards need to be abolished, we need to first understand that both sexes should be allowed to freely express and do whatever they desire without being chastised or shunned for their actions.

Schools need to change their curriculum in many ways. Sex-Ed is currently taught by telling girls to not get pregnant and abstinence as opposed to teaching safe sex and for boys to have sex safely. This enforces the player vs. slut mindset because it encourages the belief that women who have lots of sex should be punished for their actions. Dress codes should be abolished or at least held less accountable on the students. They solely exist to punish girls for men’s own sexual desires. They play into double standards because a boy can wear his pants low and no one blinks, but if a girl has a low cut shirt she is considered “skanky” or trying to get boys’ attention. Girls are taught to be ashamed of their bodies and to “cover up,” instead of teaching boys it is not okay to sexualize everything about a girl. Teachers need to focus more on teaching than policing what teenagers do socially. This society punishes women more often than it does men and schools stand idly by as it happens.