Compromising Positions

A sex ed blog with more

Gendered Double Standards

Having lived with boys, I have come to realize a number of gendered double stereotypes that I knew before but wasn’t completely convinced of. Now I am. It should be said that a lot of these are currently in the spotlight more, getting more attention and awareness, which can only help the various situations. And so, here is an enumerated list of (only) 10 for your enjoyment!
1. Professions that are typically seen as only for women: teaching, nursing, administration. For example, when my 65-year old stepmother wanted to go to university, she had two options: teaching or nursing. That was it.
Professions that are typically seen as only for men: bodybuilding, fighting (boxing, UFC, etc.) firefighting, policing, doctors, lawyers, engineers. Thank goodness all of these jobs are becoming more inclusive of gender.

2. Employment: maternity leave & the glass ceiling for women and being “the bread winner” for men. Maternity leave is the period of time off from work once a woman has given birth. It varies widely by country, and some employers are now giving paternity leave for new dads.
maternity-leave
photo credit: inhabitots.com

3. Housing: ‘She bought her own place? Alone?!’ Amp up the intimidation factor, because somehow when a woman lives alone her independence is seen as a bad thing, yet for men it is expected and encouraged.

4. Body Image: Men can go topless covered in hair and with huge bellies, while women need to be dainty and spend hours on their appearance.  Read The Beauty Myth by Naomi Klein for more on this. She knows.

5. Showing emotion: expected of women but makes men look ‘girly’, ‘weak’, and ‘wussy’. There are all kinds of issues associated with these ideas. Every human, aside from those with chemical imbalances in their brains, has the capacity to be emotional, analytical, logical, etc. Often, women are encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings more than men.

6. “Man Up”: This is such a detrimental phrase for our young people. Check out Guante’s fantastic slam poetry in which he says: “The phrase ‘man up’ suggests that competence and perseverance are uniquely masculine traits.” He carries on in such an inclusive way, discussing women, trans* and gay people. I actually felt so strongly after seeing the video that I purchased his book and will be talking a lot more about this in the future.

7. Stereotypes: Gay men are flamboyant and throw their sexuality around so that everyone knows they are gay and proud. Gay women are all butch. Old women are spinsters, cat ladies, and old maids. Old men are grumpy.

8. Promiscuity: When a guy sleeps around, he is applauded. When a woman does, she is called a slut, whore, bitch, cunt. Even Easy A is part of it: “You can’t go around throwing your cat at everybody!”  How to combat it, using intellect aka: 3 words and how little they really mean.

9. Sexism: I could go on and on about this, but I think the best thing to do is direct you to @everydaysexism to see the fact that there are ridiculous things that happen everyday to women all over the world. This video has also been making the rounds to show men what life is like for women all day, every day.

10. Bodily functions: pooping, burping, farting. Surprise! We all do ‘em. I have had the following conversation with my partner numerous times:
OMG. Did you just fart?! EWWWWWW!!!! Not allowed.
You fart in front of me all the time! The barrier has been broken.
Nope. Not allowed. I don’t want to know about it.
You always tell me how your sister farts all the time.
She doesn’t count; she’s disgusting and not a girl. I’m a gross boy; I’m allowed.
So you’re aware that you are perpetuating a patriarchal double standard that oppresses women? You are encouraging the misogynistic ideals set out by society?
Yes. And it will take me a very long time to get over it.

So, because of this, and various conversations boys have with girls about their bodily functions, there is shaming that goes along with each. My good friend, who wrote the Cliterature guest post, said “Uh oh. Did you forget to tell him that we don’t poop rainbows and butterflies?” Truth. NEWS FLASH: we all have similar bodily functions aside from a few gender specific things like menstruation, birth, and ejaculate (men have white, creamy, sticky, smelly ejaculate whereas women have clear, odourless ejaculate).

Know of other gendered double standards? Experienced others? Share them in the comments!

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One comment on “Gendered Double Standards

  1. Erin
    February 21, 2014

    And surprise, surprise, all of these standards and stereotypes come from one source *jazz hands* The Patriarchy!!!

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