By Monica Fiore
Most likely, we’ve all heard the saying, “boys will be boys,” implying that it is ok for boys to act in ways that women cannot. For example, I’m sure in your life, you’ve heard somewhere that it isn’t okay for women to sleep with a lot of men (what number exactly is “a lot”?) because it establishes them as slutty, but it is okay for men to do it because they’re men. That’s what they do.
My father showed me a prime example of this inequality two Christmases ago. I was telling my dad how I wanted to see the movie Trainwreck, starring Amy Schumer and Bill Hader. He said it wasn’t appropriate for me (I was 17) and I believe that he said something along the lines that Schumer’s character was trashy because she slept with so many guys. Of course, I had to fight this sexist argument that I knew would unravel. I most likely said something along the lines of, “but men do the same thing.” And I’ll never forget what my dad said back. He stated that women should know better because they’re smarter than guys.
Okay, please tell me where you got your information from. Did they say that on ESPN? That is just like Donald Trump’s son, Donald Jr. saying that women shouldn’t be in the workplace if they can’t handle sexual harassment. OR maybe men shouldn’t be in the workplace if they are going to sexually harass. However, that’s a topic for a different day.
Women should know better than to sleep with so many guys, but it’s okay for guys to do it because they’re guys? How is it that our society has come up with this irrational and quite frankly, stupid judgment? How is it socially acceptable for men to do this, but for women, it’s slutty and trampy and makes them whores? It doesn’t add up.
Why has our society made it an okay thing that men can sleep with whomever they want and that not be a problem, but when women do it, they are considered sluts?
“If you have a vagina, chances are someone has called you a slut at least once in your life,” according to Jessica Valenti of Alternet.
There’s just no getting around it.” She went on to say, “Despite the ubiquity of ‘slut,’ where you won’t hear it is in relation to men. Men can’t be sluts. Sure, someone will occasionally call a guy ‘a dog,’ but men simply aren’t judged like women are when it comes to sexuality. (And if they are, they’re judged in a positive way!) Men who have a lot of sexual partners are studs, Casanovas, pimps, and players. Never sluts…But it makes sense when you think about what the purpose of the word ‘slut’ is: controlling women through shame and humiliation. Women’s bodies are always the ones that are being vied over for control — whether it’s rape, reproductive rights, or violence against women, it’s our bodies that are the battleground, not men’s.”
I think it’s incredibly disturbing in general that society has created a name for women who sleep with a lot of men, and we haven’t created one for men who sleep with a lot of women. I’m not saying that we should create names for people who sleep with whoever they want, which is their own business in my opinion, but that there shouldn’t even be a name like that in the first place. It’s not fair to slut shame women when they sleep with a lot of people, but not bat an eye when men do it. And let’s not forget that if a woman doesn’t sleep with anyone and wants to respect herself, society calls her a prude. This example can be found in one of my personal favorite movies, 1985’s The Breakfast Club. “It’s kind of a double edged, isn’t it?,” says character Allison Reynolds. “If you say you haven’t, you’re a prude. If you say you have, you’re a slut. It’s a trap.”
According to an article by Stephan Labossiere from StephanSpeaks, “Too many people use the fact that this woman has slept with a certain number of men that they personally deem too high as validation to dismiss this woman as a potential mate or a future great wife. Why are we so stuck on this? Should the number of men she has slept with really help determine if a man should be with a specific woman?”
I think it’s sad that men will dismiss a relationship with a woman if they think she has had too many sex partners, but it is the underlying fact that men think their expectations are more important than a woman’s that upsets me. What happens when we turn the tables on the men and say, “Okay, how many women have you slept with?”, and it turns out to be more than the woman has slept with.
Society would say it’s okay if he slept with more women than she did men. WHY DOES SOCIETY SAY THIS IS OKAY?
This argument goes along with what we’ve recently been talking about in Dr. Penelope Morrison’s Human Sexuality as a Health Concern class. Lately, we’ve been talking about this beautiful word called “stigma.” “Stigma” is defined as, “a mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one’s reputation,” according to Dictionary.com. Stigma can be enforced when STD testing is conducted and stigma is promoted by Christians. If a girl gets tested, it shows she is having sex and that she is a slut because the bad girls get tested and you don’t see them in church. The good girls are the ones who you see in church and are the ones who don’t get tested. For young men to get tested, it proves that they are having sex and that they are cool because of it. It also shows that this behavior is acceptable because men are supposed to be sexual beings while women are supposed to be less promiscuous than men. When men willingly have sex with a woman with an STD and then are tested, if the result is negative it’s their bragging right because they feel they dodged a bullet (Lichenstein 2004).
According to Holly Leber’s article “Sleeping Around: A Look at Gender Stereotypes”, stigma may have something to do with this double standard. “’It’s the way we were raised,’ said Bruce Griffin, 28. ‘I think it’s a stigma, like a ‘Scarlet Letter’ sort of thing. (Guys) almost have to tell whenever they score. It’s like the way you high-five your kid for taking his first step.'”
Men and women will never be equal as long as we keep this attitude that it’s okay for men to be as sexual as they please, but not okay for women. If I can leave you with anything in this editorial, it would be this quote I saw on Pinterest: “‘You’re a girl, so act like one.’ Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize my vagina came with a Terms and Conditions manual.”