Double standards between men and women exist whether we admit them or not. And their existence is really not unreasonable. Men and women are different in their looks, upbringing, preferences, and a host of other things. So why should it be surprising then that society has different expectations of them?
Let’s talk about sex for an example. Men have long been considered more sexually active and inclined to pursue more sexual partners than women. Maybe it has something to do with their fertility. They can have babies well past 50, compared to women whose fertility has a shorter lifetime. It may also be because women are the ones who have to suffer the pains of child-bearing and child birth, and as such, feel less desire to go through the act that might lead to this consequence. Another possibility is that men are seen as the dominant sex in most parts of the world; societal and peer pressure force them to uphold this expectation in many ways, including through sexual conquests. Some may argue, of course, that these things do not hold true anymore since sex nowadays is as likely to be for fun as it is procreative.
Aside from this, there have been a lot of movements aimed at empowering women and enhancing their sense of equality, such as women’s liberation movements and the enforcement of politically correct terms. But are moves to eradicate double standards between men and women in the issue of sex really beneficial? Or even necessary?
I know that a long time ago it was considered a major faux pas for us women to come on too strong, such as in the case of asking a guy out on a date. Nowadays, such occurrences are common and those who wait for the guy to make the first move are considered repressed or outdated. For me, it would have been okay if it stopped at that, at simply being open enough to express one’s self and bold enough to make the first move when you’re really interested in someone. These days though, women seem to want to be on equal footing with men, even in the sense of having comparable numbers of sexual partners.
The idea that “if they can do it, so can we” seems to be pushed to the extreme: casual sex becomes the norm. Women rationalize it as exercising their freedom, but some often go so far that in the end even men lose respect for them. I’m not being prudish here. It’s true that having sex feels good (to say the least) and that you shouldn’t stop having it with someone you care about simply because of other people’s prescribed norms. But what are we actually missing out on? Women no longer only have sex with people they care about. I’ve heard many men say that there are women to have fun with, and those to take seriously. Women who have sex with men too readily usually end up in the first basket.
It may seem that I am all for men having casual sex, but not for women. But that’s not the case. I would rather that both sexes avoided the practice. I just find it easier to understand why men would do it since they really have nothing to lose or fear. As a woman, I always consider the possibility of getting pregnant when I have sex with someone, since there really isn’t a 100% guarantee when it comes to condoms or other forms of birth control.
It just seems more responsible, caring, and respectful of myself if the men I have sex with are ones I’m serious about. I’ve seen so many single mothers out there who have babies they genuinely consider to be “mistakes” instead of as the desirable product of love. And it’s so sad.
Men and women are different. True, men shouldn’t judge women using standards that they apply to themselves and vice versa. However, we should also not fall prey into the idea of removing double standards by just doing what we think men or society expects from us. We are strong. We are smart, and we should decide on what’s right for us.