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Do a Double Take

by Published: Jan 27, 2012

Double stan­dards are with us wher­ever we go, but do you really notice them in your every­day life?

I never noticed them before I left for col­lege, now it is almost impos­si­able for me ignore them thanks to education.

Look at the enter­tain­ment indus­try, for exam­ple. Girl punches guy: com­edy. Guy punches girl: abuse. Lesbians are hot, but gay cou­ples are gross. If a guy sleeps around, he’s a sex god. If a girl does it, she’s a whore.

We have all seen these stereo­types in movies and other forms of media, and yet we nor­mally don’t think any­thing of them. These exam­ples are the most com­mon, but there are hun­dreds more lurk­ing in our lives — espe­cially on the Internet.

There is a demo­ti­va­tional poster float­ing around the Internet that has a pic­ture of a lock with a cap­tion that says, “A key that opens many locks is an awe­some key, but a lock with many keys is just a bad lock.” I will leave your imag­i­na­tion to the task of decod­ing this ambigu­ous message.

Many of these dou­ble stan­dards stem from atti­tudes based on tra­di­tional stereo­types of gen­der roles. Regardless of how you look at it, men and women are treated differently.

Have you heard young women on cam­pus call each other “bitches?” I have. It astounds me that it is sup­pos­edly meant as a com­pli­ment (judg­ing by the fact they were smil­ing). But if a male called a female this name, I doubt he would be walk­ing in a straight line afterwards.

A friend of mine once told me that every­one in his engi­neer­ing classes is always shocked when females enter the class. He says these classes are mostly male dom­i­nated and hav­ing a female in the class is unusual at best. You see this atti­tude in the busi­ness world as well.

When I went to last year’s career fair on cam­pus, I quickly dis­cov­ered that no mat­ter how assertive I acted, the poten­tial employer would look over my head at the next can­di­date: a male. This was espe­cially true for employ­ers in the con­struc­tion or tech­nol­ogy industry.

If you look on the web­site called notal​waysright​.com, a web­site for peo­ple to post their humor­ous cus­tomer sto­ries, they list sev­eral exam­ples of cus­tomers who will refuse to work with female employ­ees in the tech­nol­ogy or video game indus­try because they assume she doesn’t know any­thing about the subject.

I have only dis­cussed gen­der dou­ble stan­dards, but there are so many more includ­ing racial. I remem­ber my friend in high school telling her friend he was not allowed to call her “white” if she could not call him “black.”

We take these dou­ble stan­dards for granted because we have been desen­si­tized to them. They are our cul­tural norm. Pay atten­tion as you go to class. Challenging your view on the world can help you grow as an individual.