Sexual double standards report
Posted Wed Apr 12, 2006 05:51 PM
The Double Standard within Human Sexuality in America
As children we are educated that there is a difference between males and females. Growing up that difference may have to do with clothing, toys, or favorite colors. However, as we enter adulthood, there is an emphasis placed on our differences as it relates to decency, morality, and sexuality.
In the United States we try to think of ourselves as a free, equal and open-minded society. However, taking a look around, one would find many areas where this is not the case. Where sexuality is concerned there are vast differences present.
Today, as soon as someone says “Janet Jackson at the Superbowl” or “Superbowl Incident” the majority of Americans would immediately know what the terms were actually referring to. The “Superbowl Incident” consisted of a halftime show in which Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson were performing a song together. At the end of the song, Justin grabbed Janet’s right breast and accidentally her breast became unclothed revealing a pierced breast for a few seconds across national television in America. The result of this incident has been a massive effort on the part of the FCC to censor any and all suggestive material on cable television.
Why was this the result? If it had been Justin’s breast instead of Janet’s, the FCC and American public would have thought nothing of it. This is evidenced by the massive number of male breasts visible at any beach, swimming pool, construction site and a variety of other locations as well as cable television shows. America simply has no problem with the display of the male breast, but at the same time considers the female breast taboo.
Why is it permissible to show fully nude males and females on television in certain shows but not others? This is not a double standard the purely focuses on the differences between men and women. Although some aspects of a sex based double standard are present. This is an observation of a sexually based double standard portrayed by the media.
On the National Geographic channel it is not uncommon to see an African or South American tribe wearing no clothing or only loin cloths for both male and females. However, in movies and most other television shows seen on cable, only women’s breasts and both male and female genitalia are blurred or black boxed.
The only difference one can observe is the context of the situation. On the National Geographic channel, women’s breasts and male and female genitalia are shown as part of the educational experience that the show is supposed to provide. In movies and other television shows, nudity is often a part of lovemaking or another sort of sexual scene. Both are forms of entertainment, depending on the viewing audience. Both are on normal cable television, as opposed to pay channels such as HBO, Cinemax, etc. Yet even though the same body parts are present, the context of their presentation dictates whether the body parts are blurred or shown.
The war taking place in Iraq is due to the lack of freedom that existed in the country under Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. While it is not the main focus of the war, women’s required dress hinders that freedom. If a woman were to violate dress code by not wearing an appropriate sari or burka, severe and sometimes lethal repercussions could follow. While not as harsh, American society is much the same way towards women. In the United States a bra is typical attire for women and at the very least, a shirt must be worn at all times while in public. Again, this is not the case for males. Males are free to walk down the street topless without fear of fine or imprisonment. Comparing Iraq to the United States may seem somewhat irrational, but the oppression is quite similar when approaching the subject of nudity and sexuality.
One place nudity is permitted is in bathrooms. However, those accidentally or intentionally entering the opposite sex’s bathroom are treated quite differently according to whether they are male or female. If a female accidentally or intentionally strolls in to a male rest room, any males present my giggle, ignore her, or point out that she is in the wrong bathroom. If a male accidentally or intentionally enters a female bathroom, something different may occur. The females may scream, quickly cover any exposed areas, and perhaps even assume the male presents the threat of a sexually motivated attack. Again, males and females are committing the same act, but are responded to differently.
Why is it that when a male teacher engages in sexual intercourse with one of his high school students, he is immediately arrested, ostracized by the public and remanded to an institution for sexual offenders? However, in the recent case of Debra Lafave, she was arrested then later cleared of charges? There is a double standard taking place that is being shown to our children. That double standard is that it is acceptable for a female teacher to have sex with one of her students but not acceptable for a male teacher to do.
This acceptability issue may have something to do with how males and females are perceived sexually in society. Typically, a teacher who is male will be looked upon at an attacker or predator if he engages in sexual intercourse with one of his students. However, if a teacher who is female engages in sexual intercourse with one of her students, she may be seen as fulfilling an adolescent fantasy for the boy, especially if she is well endowed and attractive. This was the case with Debra Lafave. Anyone who paid attention to the media during the incident and trial would have seen the glamorizing of her character and various male news anchors joking about how they would let her “molest” them any day. The same cannot be said for various male sex offenders that the media has covered.
Another double standard quite popular, particularly among males, in American society is the difference in opinions on homosexuality. Most men may find homosexual males unattractive, disgusting, and in some cases, threatening. However, when they see pornography or have conversations involving two homosexual women, it is arousing for them. Certainly this is not the case with all men as is rarely anything always the case.
Andrew Shepard was a young man who was bound, beaten, and as a result died of his injuries. He was murdered because a group of males found their actions acceptable due to Andrew’s homosexuality. One would have trouble finding any similar cases happening to a female who was homosexual. Why are homosexual males targeted more so than homosexual females? Both are engaging in the same acts within their sex, but a double standard is still present.
A shampoo called Herbal Essences was initially marketed by displaying a woman in the shower moaning and screaming leading the viewer to believe she was having an orgasm. Further into the advertisement, it was revealed that the shampoo was causing her to make such orgasmic sounds. Even though no typical sexual acts were taking place, it was attractive to viewers and a successful market strategy to incorporate a female orgasm into the sales pitch.
This is not the case with males. It would be tough to find any advertisement for any product that made direct use of the male orgasm. If a male were to moan incessantly and imply that he was experiencing orgasmic sensations, he would be looked down upon as a pervert or possible arrested for harassment. Yet, we as a culture are accepting if a woman acts sexually suggestive and erotic.
Sexually based double standards can be observed in various aspects of daily life in America. Examples have been given in reference to the entertainment industry, television, news media, business strategies, personal beliefs and law. What is the reason for all the double standards placed on sexuality in our culture? One excuse may be accredited to the presence of chivalry. Another reason may be a massive denial of reality. Perhaps there is a lack of maturity among Americans to be able to handle certain sexual issues in a fair and equal manner. Whatever it is, there does not seem to be any signs that the times are changing. All one can do is sit back, observe and hope they do not fall victim to the segregation and discrimination.
Posted Wed Apr 12, 2006 07:11 PM
In my opinion, I would say it is due to lack of maturity and denial of reality, at least in the U.S.
Posted Wed Apr 12, 2006 07:29 PM
I think in the cases dealing with exposed breast and restroom use that would be due more to safety laws than "double standard." A woman doesn't have to be dress provacativly to be a rape victim. I don't feel there is a double standard we'd have a greater number of rapes in the US I think if we women had exposed breast.. Why? b/c some people cannot control themselves.
on the issue of the teachers I think that's another circumstancial situation. A man car harm a young girl's body (straight no toys involved sex) more than a woman could do during "normal" sex acts (ie: intercourse)
Women are bascily more appealing to the eye than men can be and so this may have something to do with the men hating men more than lesbian women. also homophobic people handle it much worse than others...
I've gotta get some food.
ead ya guys later...
Posted Wed Apr 12, 2006 09:06 PM
Posted Wed Apr 12, 2006 09:21 PM
Posted Wed Apr 12, 2006 10:14 PM
Posted Wed Apr 12, 2006 10:54 PM
Actually, a large portion of the American population maintains traditions that are quite clear about the roles of men and women, and are not shy about who is subordinate.
Posted Wed Apr 12, 2006 11:07 PM
Mari J said:
That sentence does need some revamping. Thanks.
Posted Wed Apr 12, 2006 11:35 PM
Under Saddam, women were under less pressure to cover. He tried to modernize in that way; now Islamicists are trying to make women cover again. The fall of Saddam threatens to be a step backward for women. Whooda thunkit?
Posted Thu Apr 13, 2006 12:27 AM
I say, yes, because I've heard you say how much tougher it is to find thongs for men than it is for women. I haven't done much research on that subject and take your word for it. And, a lot of men wouldn't be caught dead in a pair, yet think they look great on women.
Posted Thu Apr 13, 2006 04:19 AM
Secondly, you refer to double standards as in women versus men, but on the other hand you also talk about nudity sometimes being accepted, and sometimes not, which is a different kind of double standard alltogether. (I mention this because the title of your text is "THE double standard"
Also, I'm sure there are particularities to the American way of thinking about this, but a lot of the things you mention are equally valid in Western European countries for example. A particularity is however the blurring or blocking out of breasts etc, never seen that happen here. And I seriously doubt that the Super Bowl incident would have been such a hassle in Europe.
My personal opinion on why the US is "special": it's a country of extremes... Extremely liberal people and extremely conservative, whereas Europe tends to be more liberal than the US in general, but with less extremes.
Okay, I realise this seems very critical... Just looking at it frm a teacher's point of view You need some structure, because your thoughts are a bit "all over the place"...
Posted Thu Apr 13, 2006 01:44 PM
We have allowed the misinterpretation of a mistranslation of a politically motivated (i.e., tell 'em what you want 'em to believe) book to be our roadmap to what is 'right' and 'wrong.' And to top it, we've added the fudge factor - 'God guided the hands of those who wrote the Bible to insure no mustakes were made.' There's no escaping the circluarly-reasoned 'truth' that sex is sin. That sex is THE sin, according to the Adam and Eve fable.
Thus any attempt at sexual enjoyment, freedom and openness of discussion are clamped down upon by the Church Elders, who don't have sex anymore and resent those that do. The purpose of organized religion is to control (and feed the priest class.) Religions control by superstition and fear - if you don't do what I tell you to, GOD will strike you down - oh, you did it and you're fine? Wait'll you die - eternal torment in Hell, bwahahahaaa. And if you don't believe this, we will torture you until you do. (How thoughtful.)
Bullshit. But it works to control the large percentage of the populace, who then insist you conform to their belief structure, whether or not you buy it.
And then we have the individual male/female interaction, a combination of 'me Tarzan, you Jane' and 'my property, keep your hands off. She doesn't think she's my property? Well, I'll just beat the crap out of both of you until she agrees that I own her, and you leave us alone...'
There are cultural imperatives in the Western world to modify the strictness of these 'controls' but the fundamentalist Islamic world has virtually none of these (and many fundamentalist 'Christian' churches are almost as bad) - a woman IS property, and under total control of her father, then husband, until she dies...
But as long as organized religion is subscribed to, we will have our sexuality attacked on multiple fronts - political (to get the church vote while diddling pages and interns) religious, cultural (hangover from the religious/political crap handed down by those involved) and personal - I'm a selfish lover, so my wife doesn't like sex, so she joins her church anti-sex crusade... That was my own damn fault.