The Backlash! - What Everyone Should Know about Feminist Issues - The Double Sexual Standard of Feminism
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The Double Sexual Standard of Feminism
By Rod Van Mechelen
Sensitivity training judges men by women's standards, trying to get them to talk more like women. Assertiveness training judges women by men's standards and tries to get them to talk more like men. - Deborah Tannen, Ph.D., You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation

Equity feminism
1992 Bellevue, Wash. - The goal of first wave feminism was not to oppress men, but to open the doors for women to pursue their own dreams and fulfill their own destinies. In this agenda, there is no imperative to judge men by women's standards. Unfortunately, this changed.

Throughout the more than two hundred year history of feminism, early examples of second wave feminism tried to subvert the movement to their own ends. More than seventy-five years ago, for example, they delayed female suffrage by using the women's movement to promote prohibition and the abolition of prostitution. Consequently, men otherwise inclined to recognize women's right to vote, resisted.

Women won the vote years later than they could have, thanks to their fanatic moralism.

The second wave feminists of today are no different. They are still trying to subvert the women's movement to promote their own ends. Never before, however, have they held so much power over America's social, political and legal agenda as they do now. Where ever men turn, they are judged by a standard that excuses in women what it condemns in men.

This is especially evident in the adoption of the "reasonable woman standard" courts now use to determine whether men have sexually harassed women. When a man does it, it's sexual harassment, but when a woman does it, cultural symbols preclude the possibility her male victims could actually have felt harassed. That is, it's okay for women to behave questionably, but not for men.

This is a double standard not because men are judged by it, but because women are not. Ironically, when women are judged by any standard, even if men are judged by the same standard, pop feminists call that a double standard.

If men choose not to have sex with promiscuous women, for example, then it's a double standard even if they also choose not to have sex with promiscuous men.

The Philanderous Princess
Feminists today believe female sluts should be able to sleep with male sluts and still be treated like princesses in the morning. Men who won't have sex with women who sleep around are, they say, perpetuating a sexist double standard if they will continue to be friends with men who sleep around.

Having the option to engage in sex without the moral stigma once imposed upon it may be good, but according to Shere Hite the sexual double standard against women still persists: "If you met a woman you liked and wanted to date, but then found out she had had sex with ten to twenty men during the preceding year, would you still like her and take her seriously? Most men were quite doubtful they could take her seriously; only 35 percent could." (Women and Love: A Cultural Revolution in Progress, St. Martin's Press mass market edition, 1989, Shere Hite, p 205)

For decades, feminists have said men who are "interested in only one thing" are sexist pigs. Do they now expect us to believe a woman who is "interested in only one thing" is somehow not a sexist pig (or, given the gender, a "sexist sow") simply because of her gender? This is a feminist double standard.

But if a man's male friend is sleeping around, most men won't stop taking him seriously. (Women and Love: A Cultural Revolution in Progress, St. Martin's Press mass market edition, 1989, Shere Hite, p 205) Isn't this indicative of a male double standard? No. Men continue to take their promiscuous male friends seriously not because of a sexist double standard, but because the context is not sex, but friendship.

If the men Hite surveyed said they would stop taking a (platonic) female friend seriously if they found out she was promiscuous, but that they would continue to take a promiscuous male friend seriously, that would indicate a sexist double standard because the context is the same in both cases. Or if she surveyed bisexual men who said they would not have sex with promiscuous women, but would have sex with promiscuous men, then again, that would indicate a sexist double standard.

The only legitimate way to test for a sexist double standard is within a single context. Instead, they rely on a sexist double standard of their own, confusing the context to prove male sexism where none may really exist.


Rod Van Mechelen


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