Thursday, October 23, 2014

Double Standards

There I was the other day, finishing a Halloween story/play for my aunt, thinking about my travel blog post, when it hit me that I wanted to talk about hypocrites and people with double standards. You know those people, the ones with the attitude of, "do as I say, not as I do" - the ones who drive you insane and deny their behavior when you call them out. Oh yeah, everyone knows someone like that. So, here I am!

I read an article the other day, which you can find here, about Kevin D. Williamson, who posted on Twitter that all women who have had abortions should be hanged. When confronted with the question pertaining to whether his wife should be hanged for needing to have an abortion due to life-threatening circumstances; he ignored the question - multiple times. Therefore you can only assume that giving women the death penalty, albeit by public hanging or another manner, only applies to those outside of his private circle. What kind of hypocritical, double-standard is that? Typically, hypocrites have values or beliefs that they do not actually believe in, they just present themselves that way. Hypocrites tend to also have double standards because they can do it, but nobody else can, just them or others like them.

He's not the only one with double standards. Social media is the driving force behind our societal expectations of "typical" behavior. These expectations are obviously subjective and dependent upon our exposure. Society tends to mirror what is seen on television, billboards, pictures, articles/books read, etc. These become the standards of which everyday expressions and behaviors are based upon. Let's explore some of these:

- Men can sleep around, but women can't - Some men believe that it's fine for them to sleep around, even with women who are friends or acquaintances, yet it's forbidden and deplorable for women to behave in the same manner. I wasn't aware that any woman needed your permission to sleep with you, your friends/brothers, etc. Men don't ask for permission, so women most certainly do not need a man's permission either. It also doesn't matter if you've briefly dated them. Men are not studs if they sleep around and women are not sluts. In addition, I want to point something out about this sort of behavior. Many individuals that engage in promiscuity most often have attachment issues, depression, anxiety; amongst other issues that they choose not to confront. This doesn't apply to every situation, but it is applicable to many. There is no way of knowing why someone is promiscuous, unless you have access to a record of their sexual behavior and mental health.

- It's OK for men to have more than one partner - Society (not just men, women too!) believes that it's  typical, normal, and even expected, for men to date and have sexual relations with more than one person at a time. It's absolutely unacceptable for women to do the same. I have an acquaintance who believes it's absolutely FINE for him to date several women at the same time (plus having sexual relations with all of them), however, a woman has to be solely faithful to him. What kind of backwards rubbish is that? If I recall correctly, I smirked and told him that, as a matter-of-fact, women can simultaneously date as many men as they choose - AND - there was nothing he could do about it. Again, many individuals with more than one partner at a time most likely have psychological issues that they are not addressing.

- I can have friends of the opposite sex, but you can't - Significant others or spouses who don't allow their partner to have friends of the opposite sex or even go out with their friends, yet they do whatever they want. That's not only a double-standard, but it's manipulative and controlling. If you don't trust your partner, then you shouldn't be with them.

- Women need to be perfect, men, not so much - Women are held to high standards when it comes to their appearance, yet men are not held at these same ridiculous standards. It's "okay" for men to be overweight, but women are judged harshly when it comes to their weight. Why are women judged like this? Are we supposed to be perfect? The standards society sets are not realistic or healthy for young girls growing into teenagers and young women. It's not healthy for older women either. Women and men should be encouraged to lead healthy lives, not based on some superficial standard.

- Abuse - If a male places his hands on a female, he's sure to end up in jail. If a female places her hands on a male, then most of the time, nothing happens. It's a slap on the wrist. Unless you are in danger, you should never place your hands on another person with the intention of harming them. It's disrespectful and shows that you can't control yourself. There are better ways to handle a situation when you feel angry with someone. There is a big difference between what you are capable of doing and what you actually do. You may be capable of physically hurting someone, but it doesn't mean that you should.

- Men are weak if they show emotion - This double standard pertains to the idea that men shouldn't be sensitive or cry. Apparently, only women are supposed to be sensitive. If a male cries, then he is seen as a sissy, weak, or a coward. It's an absolutely ridiculous and archaic notion. Males are allowed to be emotional and express their feelings - even if that means crying.

- The wife must keep everything neat and orderly - The wife (or female partner) is expected to run the household, completing all the chores, cooking every day, etc., in addition to holding a full-time job and/or going to school. Unless you live alone, your other half should be expected to help. Relationships are a partnership. Partners are expected to be there for each other. If you share a household, expect to do chores and cook.

- An opinionated woman is a B**** - I have been called many names over the years because I tend to be opinionated. Of course, I don't take the name-calling seriously because, well, I'm pretty awesome and happy with myself. Seriously, women are seen as hateful or overbearing when they share their views, especially in heated discussions. Why are men seen as assertive in these same situations? Women are allowed to have opinions without being slapped with a condescending label.

These examples are heavily a result of the norms presented by social media to our society. These norms tend to shape our behavior and attitudes towards each other. Obviously, this is only a small portion of examples. I could continue listing various examples of double standards in our society, but I won't discuss them any further.

These attitudes are damaging for any individual involved. It isn't solely gender-specific, as you can see from the few I listed above. The only way to begin to move past these double standards is to identify why some people have these views to begin with. It is essential for the world to grow beyond these views. In the past, I held my own hypocritical double standards, but I abandoned them. Nobody is perfect, especially not me. Life is about learning and growing as a person. I always say that it starts with you. This is no different. It definitely starts with you. Make one small difference in the world at a time. A positive change in you, will have a ripple effect on the world.

Be thoughtful. Be kind. Smile and laugh a lot! Thanks for reading!

Many blessings,
~ Penelope ~

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