Sunday, 29 May 2011

Double standards.

I found myself in a conversation with my sort-of-step-mum (they aren't married but they've been together for sixteen years so I consider her my step-mum) about the double standards that exist in society, and how the negative side of them always seems to fall on women.

We talked about how, if a married man has an extra-marital exploit with a single girl, it is usually the woman who takes the blame and is labelled the slag and the home-wrecker. Now, this was quite awkward because whilst my step-mum wasn't single either when my Dad left my Mum for her, she did end up with that label. Although it's always worth bearing in mind I've grown up with one side of the story, but she did admit that she was that 'slag' and I know she had to move her job as a consequence of the stigma. Yet, men never seem to suffer quite to the same extent in terms of the blame.

Take the whole ridiculous Ryan Giggs and Imogen Thomas thing: she has suffered much more at the hands of the public opinion than he has, yet she was single and he's the married one! I feel really sorry for her, I truly do. Whether she knew he was married or not (and to be honest, I didn't even up until Friday) isn't the point, if YOU are in a relationship, YOU are responsible for your actions and being honest and so he should be the one who is receiving death threats, not her.

Ok, that's extreme, no-one should be suffering that kind of abuse, but if one or the other, then he is more in the wrong than she is, surely?

Anyway, it isn't just in this sort of instance that we suffer at the hands of a society built on double standards. It was in fact this that started our discussion, as my step-mum told me to, and I quote, "enjoy being single and irresponsible in London, there are lots of nice new men to have some fun with", to which my Grandma told me not to be a slag. Now, I'm not saying that I will be in any way taking up my step-mum's advice, but if I did, why would I be a slag? If I were a bloke I'd be a hero, yet if I were to start working my way through the male population of London as a woman, I'd be labelled a slut. And to be honest, I would feel like a slut and as a consequence wouldn't behave like that in the first place, but surely I should be free to should I so choose to go out and enjoy myself? And anyway, at what point do you progress from just having fun to being a slut? Does one one-night-stand make you a slut, does it require sleeping with a different man every weekend, are you a slut if you go out with a different man every night but don't sleep with them... I just don't understand the label and what it applies to and, most importantly, why it's even relevant in this day and age.

So maybe I'll be a slut, maybe I won't. Maybe you might think I am, whilst other people wouldn't. But just in case... Sorry Grandma!


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