Saturday, May 05, 2007

The "Sluts and Studs" Double Standard -- Some Things Never Change!

How many men have called a woman a "slut" if she is promiscuous while calling themselves "studs" for the same behavior? What causes this clear double standard?

It is a worldwide phenomenon, but America is its vocal capitol. We may not stone whores anymore. But in the longer history, it wasn't that long ago. Yet we pretend to be light years ahead of the Middle East. I will believe we have finally arrived when we elect a known ex-prostitute to congress with as little ease as we elect known whoremongers.

It is reflected in every art form including pornography itself, despite the supposed commitment of the adult entertainment industry to a philosophy of pleasure. That we still have a thriving slave-master mentality is possibly at it's core.

As we search the internet, even on the most liberal sites, we still see the exhibition of a double standard in which women are considered the property of men and as a result of the selfish nature of men, it is considered far worse for a woman to wander the streets looking for sex than for a man. Yes, part is biological and natural, but so is urination on trees and the civilized agree that what separates humans from the wild animal is our resistance to our nature. Strangely enough, this behavior has developed almost exclusively in the human animal.

That monogamy itself, is by statement only, a value to both men and women, the bragging rights of men in spreading their seed, is far from limited to heathens. I speak to men all the time about this, and very few will discard this notion that a woman has a greater vested interest in her virginity and/or monogamy. From the most religious to the atheist we find this value pervasive.

As a symbol, the story of Adam and Eve helps us to understand, as Adam viewed Eve as his, one of his, a part of his body removed to procure her creation. That he believes the woman is part of the man as women are part of mankind is by no mistake. He is the physically stronger sex and with might comes right. She is his property. That Eve gave life is an equally compelling idea, when it would be viewed by a man as if life had been "taken" from him. This contradiction with the notion that a man so freely gives his seed is a conundrum indeed.

That a woman is a symbol of both giving life and protecting it afterward, it seems strange that a man is seen as a symbol of both propagator and thief, creator and destroyer.

We see it in popular music especially of Hip Hop, that somehow "Ho" and "Bitch" represent the same animal but one pejorative and the other a twisted synonym for "girlfriend. That somehow the term, "bitch" has moved from a simple term referring to a mating female to a hated whore, is a mystery no one seems to be able to explain. Of course psychologists have coined the term "Madonna/Whore Complex" to explain much of this, we still see a strange occurrence well outside the Catholic realm. That somehow a man actually wants a woman to be a whore when he is asking for sex, that he want want her to withhold sex after she marries him, seems to be his self-flagellation, the source of both his pleasure and pain.

I lived in Japan for 5 years teaching and consulting, and while I was there, enjoyed the freedom of going to hot springs dotting the countryside, without having to refer to them as "nudist colonies". The freedom of that culture and the irrelevance of the uncovered body, was so refreshing. When I watched prime time variety shows where transvestites, prostitutes, porn-stars, comedians, and Buddhist priests shared the same stage, joking about penis size and breasts without insult or injury, I couldn't help but wish America and other pseudo-puritanical societies, would just let up a little on their false and feudal outrage. I attended a parade with more than one hundred thousand others, of Buddhist priests carrying huge wooden penises, while women and men scurried forward and giggled as they kissed these massive phallus symbols, drinking and enjoying the celebration of fertility. It was childlike and refreshing that they could so freely enjoy something that would inflame so many Baptists.

Recently, Don Imus became the top news of the week for calling black female basketball players, "Nappy-headed Ho's" while this language is so well accepted inside some circles, rarely coming under attack or persecution. Could it be that white men are held to an equally unfair double standard as women are to men themselves? How is it anyone would expect the sinner to be a saint, as he never committed himself to the priesthood? Imus just became yet one more illustration, maybe even a victim of the confused values society has created. Interestingly, on one hand he was required by contract to spew controversy, then fired for doing the same when a shocked, vocal audience actually noticed the vile amidst oceans of the same.

OK, he just didn't know how to be cool, though he thought he had mastered it. Ultimately, the "cool" didn't like it when a member of the priesthood of the white male dare to attempt to enter the realm of the utterly hip.

Somehow, the stud had to be killed for his practice of "studly" chest-beating. He had to be chastised for failing to perpetuate the protection of the virtue of ladies. This case was replete with double standards but the one that endures is that a man would be destroyed for taking the hymen of the virgin. On many levels, we have apparently reached our limit as a civilized society, or was this an isolated event that means nothing about our social growth?

However, imagine if a black female radio host had called a team of white male basketball players, "stringy-haired studs". Would anyone have even noticed? Even the recent addition of the term, "man-whore" just gets a giggle rather than outrage. What man, even a priest, would be defended by others, so vociferously, for such a designation?

Most men I know, especially over the age of 40, would pay to have such publicity bestowed upon them. Being a "bad-boy" is good, right? But being a "bad-girl" gets you pushed into the center of a stone-throwing crowd. You "whore, bitch, slut, hose-bag, floozy, hooker, cunt" sounds so celebratory, right? You "stud-muffin, he-man, macho-man, stallion, cock-sure, pimpin' beast" would sound so insulting to any man, right?

Personally, I look forward to the day that either men or women who enjoy sex, are equally admired. I await the image of the Amazon woman taking my innocence. I enjoy, revel in, delight in, wallow in, in fact, get off on, the idea that women will somehow never be insulted again by anyone who exaggerates her conquests, nor that any man or woman would intend insult or use such hurtful words.

Yes, the racial epitaph is regrettable and always will be, but when everyone hates haters, I will love it! Let's decide once and for all if what's is good for the goose is indeed... good for the gander!

Editor's note: Duly Consider unequivocally states this article in no way condones any double standards and verbal sexism in any way, nor endorses the remarks made by Radio Shock Jock Don Imus, but as always promotes free speech and due consideration

3 comments:

Author Leora Tanenbaum said...

Girls may be called "sluts" for any number of reasons, including being outsiders, early developers, victims of rape, targets of others' revenge. Often the labels has nothing to do with sex -- the girls simply do not fit in. An important account of the lives of these young women, Slut! weaves together powerful oral histories of girls and women who finally overcame their sexual labels with a cogent analysis of the underlying problem of sexual stereotyping.

I was labeled a slut in high school. The confessional article I wrote for Seventeen about the experience caused a sensation and led me to write this book.

Slut! Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation--Author Leora Tanenbaum

Anonymous said...

I am a male. I am nearly 60 years old, and have NEVER "rated" women on a different scale than men. I use simple logic, and it has worked for my entire life. Although I have been laughed at, even condemned, I am very comfortable with "my way." I am not homosexual, but know several who are, both male and female. They are really no different than "straight" people - just a little more open in their existance than others.

Let simple logic prevail here: Just treat EVERYONE exactly as you want them to treat you - no more and no less. The rest is easier.

Anonymous said...

Duly Consider is becoming my favorite site for witty and poignant commentary. In the end I think all of those who berate, subjugate, or use spiteful vitriol in matters of sex ( and other matters as well) are, in fact, simple bullies attempting to make themselves superior, all the while hiding their own inadequacies and fears. I blame adherence to bronze age religious teachings for most of it, maybe flaws in human nature for the rest.
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