Inequality, double standards still exist despite progress

Gail Finch

Societal standards for both men and women have become a growing issue now in the day and age of social media and television. A man can run around with his shirt off, but if a woman does it, it becomes indecent. If a man cries, he’s a sissy, but if a woman does it she’s just a normal emotional woman. Men and women are held to such irritating social standards that aren’t fair to the opposite gender, it makes it hard to tell what’s exactly wrong or right.

Double standards in society have created a toxic environment for everyone, no matter how advanced society gets. Society asks so much of people that sometimes the pressure can be too much. Women and men aren’t paid the same amount of money for the same amount of work, and men aren’t allowed to like things deemed as things for ‘girls’ and vice versa.

Women have had social standards imposed upon them since the first patriarchal society was established. For centuries, women did not have rights and were seen as property belonging to men. As a society we’ve come a long way in that women aren’t viewed that way anymore, but there’s still an issue with the way most people think of a woman. It’s not enough that women bring life into the world, because they also have to keep up to impossible standards.

Women have to fit into this cookie cutter envisioning of what society thinks they should be. They have to be a Barbie doll, always perfect. It’s not just in looks, either, the way a woman acts is also a part of it. If a woman stands up for herself or doesn’t take any unnecessary nonsense from anyone, she’s seen as unapproachable.

Masculinity is so fragile, if they look at a daisy they immediately have to punch something to feel manly again like it’s a girly thing to appreciate a daisy. Men aren’t allowed to be emotional creatures, as it’s been beaten into them that they have to be big and tough. Many act as though they don’t even have tear ducts.

All of these stereotypes and standards have been held up for so long because of media. There are so many archetypes of both men and women in movies and television that reinforce different meanings and impressions. There’s the ugly nerd girl no one likes until they take off her glasses and ponytail for a dance, there’s the jock boy who falls for nerdy girl after the makeover, there’s the ice queen executive, and there’s the over confident coworker who only likes her for her looks. There’s a small percentage of strong female characters, and even though there have been more in recent years, many protagonists of movies are men who have the same three personalities with the same three personality traits. All of these paint the genders in mostly negative ways that no one can ever really break away from because it’s so engraved in our society.

Over the years the social system has gotten better when it comes to the whole double standards thing, but when people start instilling these kinds of things into the future generation of adults is where there’s a problem. For the longest time, little girls have had adults dismiss boy’s pulling their hair and flicking boogers at them as signs of affection, but if a girl does any of that they get in trouble, or told that it’s not very “ladylike.” Same thing goes for boys, though. There are certain things girls do that when a little boy does it, it’s not “normal”,such as playing with Barbie dolls, or dressing up in a tutu and princess tiara.

There’s a severe issue with the division of genders, so much so that it takes wounding a few people’s prides and burning a few bras to get anything done for the whole gender equality discourse. Yes, men and women are biologically different from one another. Men and women have different hormones in their bodies that make them act differently from one another, and grow different things in different places. That shouldn’t automatically mean that they can only do certain things based on their gender.

Gender issues don’t just exists here in the U.S., though, as many places across the world have many problems of their own, most involving women. In some places in the Middle East don’t allow women to leave the house without a man to escort them, and in India, the family of the woman in a marriage is still required to give a dowry. If a woman refuses a man in any of those countries, they have the threat of getting acid thrown in their face, disfiguring them significantly. The population in China is mainly men, because of the infanticide of girls starting in the mid to late 20th century and the one child policy being enforced up until recent years.

Saying something is strictly for one gender, or imposing impossible standards on another, has dug a hole for society that is so deep that, it’s going to be hard or nearly impossible to get out of it. With where society stands now, it will be a while before anything gender related will be fixed. The social system is taking baby steps to a better environment for both men, women, and everyone in between, so not all hope is completely lost.