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“He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.” ― George Orwell
Last weekend, I had a worthwhile conversation that inspired me to think about something that a lot of people seem to have opinions about—something about which everyone says, “This is something we need to address, something that needs a facilitated discussion.” Yet, in my lifetime, I haven’t seen one come to fruition.
My own opinion which will be quite honestly and personally expressed throughout the remainder of this piece, has remained unwavering as I constantly find myself in situations that strengthen what I already believe.
The conversation took place amidst a small gathering with a boy in my year who I know vaguely and whom I have talked to so little that I could probably count the number of our interactions. In the midst of the polite conversation that we had, he says to me, “You’re a nice girl”.
Slightly taken aback, I thanked him, though unsure as to why he said that. He then proceeded to tell me about some not so ‘ nice things’ about me from his good friend. Upon further prompting, he tells me, “He said you don’t respect yourself.” He later follows up with a declaration that he believes in my virtue, and now that he’s had the chance to know me better, he has realised that his friend is an idiot.
I once heard the term “slut” defined as “a woman with the morals of a man”.
I see a problem with this definition however, because that implies that a man is a man no matter how he behaves, yet a woman is free to be labeled as any type of epithet depending on her behavior. Secondly, people react on complete opposite ends of the spectrum when listening to men and women’s debaucheries. I can almost guarantee that nobody has been going around saying that the guy I slept with doesn’t respect himself.
This is where I see the double standard kick in. In this age, with the media culture we live in, sex isn’t a taboo anymore. Forgive me for sounding like my parents, when I say that today’s standards have changed the meaning of sex (an argument for another piece), but in some respects, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. We should love and celebrate our bodies and not be ashamed of them.
If a woman decides to sleep with a man she’s not committed to or if she decides to sleep with more than one man, she’s deemed to be a slut. I honestly don’t think I can say the same about a man. When a man sleeps around, he’s a hero amongst his friends and a jerk amongst the girls he won’t commit to. But everyone accepts this behaviour. There is no gossip or aggressive comments about him or his habits.
So what’s so special about the scenario I just described, when that argument has been around for years? Well, probably nothing. I just have a couple of reasons why I think it’s pathetic that we’re still treating people in this way. That being said, I can only speak for myself and what I have experienced and learned along the way.
First, it’s college. Look around. I have no statistical evidence to support my claims but I’m pretty sure that more people than not are involved in the ‘hookup culture’ here to one extent or the another.College is an experimental time in so many ways. We’re all trying to figure out what we want after we graduate, what we want in life. That doesn’t apply solely to academics.
Is every girl who is having sex with someone she’s not dating considered to be a slut? Does she not respect herself? If the answers to those questions are negative, then what makes one girl different from the other? And who gets to decide?
Secondly, is the young gentleman who has so politely pointed out my lack of self-respect not equally as responsible for what transpired between us? Who is he to tell me that I don’t respect myself? I am fully aware of every decision I make and why I make it. I contemplate as to what I want to do and I make sure that I’m completely comfortable in any situation. I make decisions for myself and I do what makes me happy. Not saying that I don’t make mistakes, but that’s how I’ve been able to understand myself more fully. By acknowledging those things about me, I know what I need to do in order to respect myself.
No one can judge my choices and decisions on the basis of my gender. This kind of hypocrisy is adding to the discrimination which the women in our society are already facing.
Please stop judging women just because they are women !!
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