Monday, March 27, 2006

Freedom from the Double Standard?

I promised a discussion of the sexual double standard here; or perhaps I only said I had some thoughts on the subject. I have a bit of trepidation about throwing my thoughts out here just because they are so incomplete and are based solely on my life’s observations and certainly not based on serious research or reading on my part.
So rather than offering a knowledgeable working theory here, maybe its better to just open the discussion by doing nothing more than making a splash in the pool that might get a reader wet and ultimately into the pool with me.

It’s easy enough to talk about the biologic drives of the genders and in some ways it is yesterdays news. Yet often old news is the most accurate news simply because the facts have been tested.
There is no question in my mind that the point made by Jenn regarding the double standard women face in our culture is quite real. Later, Patti-Cake reinforced the same thought. Women in our society walk a very fine and precarious line in experiencing their sexuality. They are barraged daily by advertising that intends to sex them up, and yet cautioned that the sexual energy produced within themselves is acceptable only when exercised in narrowly defined ways.

Here are some thoughts:
I have observed that women treat their sexuality, or more specifically their sexual availability as a commodity. Have you heard the saying “Why would he buy the cow (no negative intended) if he can get the milk for free? This old adage has been handed down from generation of mothers to daughters. That is, if a woman in our culture is going to have an acceptable sexual relationship with a man then a corresponding thing of value is required as payment by the male. The things of value vary. It can be, and often is the promise of marriage, safety and child rearing. This is the often discussed fulfillment of the biologic drive inherent in women to replenish the earth with humans in a safe environment. It is also often true the when seeking this requisite safety that the female relinquishes much of the relationship control to the chosen male; typically because he is simply physically stronger. This control often becomes ‘out of control’ to the point where many women in our society are left with only one control; the control of the mating ritual.

I have also observed that when the required children are produced, and safety has been provided, there is a missing emotional piece required by women as they gain additional maturity. It is a recognition that emotional support is missing with the chosen male partner, often leading to the seeking of emotional support from other men. This is the classic affair in its genesis, and the generator of the peculiar fascination with Alan Alda. It also clears the way to the current predictable path toward the emasculated metro-sexual. Is there any doubt that Mr. Alda and the standard metro-sexual has merely morphed himself into a new role; playing an old game with new tools? If the women doubt this, trust me that the men do not.

I also believe men support the double standard and are more responsible than either gender for its existence. We are driven by a biologic need to mate with anything that moves and produce children that resemble our own presumed perfection. In order to control our gene line it is necessary to control the female. The control involves placing multiple locks on the female’s sexual behavior, including the Muslim practice of removing the clitoris.

It’s my wandering around belief, for want of a more sound or more articulate belief, that the phenomena of men controlling women’s behavior through shaming and even surgical techniques, coupled with the females need to trade sex for another thing of value leads to the cycle of double standard reinforcement within the culture.

Within our society many have understood the underlying process and thrown off the shackles of this biological slavery. Women now control much of the US economy and important resource gathering capability. They are graduating from our universities as the majority gender. Economic power is available to and understood by many women. Men are beginning to assert new claims to rights over birth control and even fighting for disownment rights of their offspring when they are not in agreement with their birth.

Only when we overcome our biology through elective intellectual re-programming will we succeed in freeing our sexual selves from our self imposed slavery to the double standard culture.

When will the double standard disappear? Perhaps when women learn to experience and celebrate their sexuality without a reciprocal price being extracted from the male; and perhaps when men learn to experience and celebrate their sexuality without a corresponding compulsion to gain control of the subject females life and behavior.

If you have come this far you have been splashed and the floor/pool is open.


Rob said...

Well, Rick. Making the finals is all anybody can hope for. Nice job.
As for the recent question, in nature there are three choices when one organism meets another; can you eat it?, flee it?, or mate with it? The double standard arises when you try to possess it.

Seven said...

Hi Rob.
It's nice to hear from you again. The 50-54 field was so very deep and talented this year! I guess that's what I should expect at a National Champs I guess, so no complaints, just admiration at all the talent.
Yes. I agree, but it is hard isn't it; not to want to possess?

patti_cake said...

In my humble opinion the double standard will always be around because most people cannot let go of their archaic notions regarding the sexes. I just will try to do my best to raise my daughter to be a confident,loving person who will walk hand in hand with her partner, not behind, not in front of beside them.

Rob said...

Further dicussion on the 3 choices concept; a fourth is cooperation, an altruistic approach to life that females seem to be predisposed to engage as part of their long-term survival strategy, especially for the benefit of their children. A strategy that most of us now enjoy.

Seven said...

Yes, and you have also opened up an opportunity for expoloration here. What if women ran the world's governments; and the attendant discussion of pacifism v aggression and if the world truly would become better or simply homogenize into an acceptable compromised existence?
I welcome guest columns here. If you want to take on the above question or work additionally on the original post's subject feel fee to email me and I will guest publish you here. Your input is valued.
Thanks for expanding your thought.

Seven said...

I wish more thought in your fashion. To give your daughter the power along with the accompanying freedom that comes with power involves so much more than discussions of cows and milk, does it not?
I believe your daughter is blessed.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rob said...

You are uncanny, you read my closing comment in the last post, which I deleted. It said, Look around the world today, how many female heads-of-state are at war? I appreciate the tag, but I'm not sure if my peanut gallery comments are worthy. I start to drool after a few sentences.

Reach said...

Rick, you have picked a "Sea" of a subject for "going swimming".

I would like to first address your thoughts. Funny thing about researching, the more investigated piece- can be altered with the utilization facts, to read as the researcher desires. However, a person's thoughts are true and reflect insight of that individual. Yes, you are speaking from your world, a place I have not lived; therefore, it is educational for me.

Second, you have completely missed one catagory. Having an ex-wife, and later, a number of girlfriends prove infidelity, due to my profession and absence, I have elected to abstain. Thereby, I do not fall into these catagories by describing standards. Or, do I?


Seven said...

Reach, exceptionally difficult question and one I think you would be better qualified to answer than anyone else. Like I said, I am only treading water on this one and indeed it is a vast ocean of experiences that reside in this sea as you artfully state.
It may illustate the concept that sexual desire is always present though a loved one is absent; and that our understanding of monogamy may be imperfectly defined.
When we think of monogamy most of us think of sexual fidelity. Can monogamy be defined differently withour losing context for us all?
Still, sexual infidelity is such a monster to wrestle with, isn't it.

Jenn said...

Outstanding post, Rick. In my opinion, much of the 'gender gap' begins when children are small.

I believe the intentions are not negative...but without really thinking, we want our men to be tough and our women to be nurturing.

Little girls are encouraged to play with dolls and behave maternally while little boys are encouraged to play with army men and trucks. I think the gap in society is gender specific even before it's sexual in nature.

It's something I think about frequently as I attempt to guide my daughter into a life that involves equality, strength, empowerment, and confidence.

Only through generational change will this world become easier to navigate for both genders. I'll see what I can do. :-)

Seven said...

Thanks for the very cogent commentary and your efforts with your daughter. I know from your other posts how much energy you put into raising your daughter. Is there a more noble thing for any of us to achieve? We do our best with them and cross our fingers and pray for the best for their lives. I am one that is convinced that life is improving for us all. Step by trudging step we find our way along...for the better.

Sandra said...

I truly believe it comes down to control, on both sides. If I ever meet one man, just one, who doesn't want to control me, I'll marry him and keep him in homemade pies for life.

Seven said...

My experiences in life tell me you are dead on center on this one. But can you love a man that is very fat from too many pies?

a fish on a bycicle said...

I enjoy the way you construct an argument Rick.

I have to say that I think much of what we see (and abhor) is founded on the man’s misguided belief that he is in control. Or at least ought to be in control.

In general I believe that sex is the possession of women, not men. Men may be offered it, in any manner of arrangement, freely or consciously or consciously in the barter arrangements that you mentioned. But when it is withheld, then it is suddenly apparent to men that they have no control over sex.

It’s not a position, or a revelation, that most men enjoy. At best, it’s an uncomfortable realisation, that – because we seem to be able to separate sex from the holistic ‘whole’ more readily than women – that we are actually going to have to make an effort. Or at worst, that we try to take control again by more primitive means.

(I think it’s a reasonable starting point for the plethora of male pornography too – we have no control over the real thing, but we can bend and twist our models in any way we can imagine.

Let’s make a start, let’s begin to erode one of the manifestations of control. Pornography. Not by banning it, no pornographic Krystal Nicht – but by education, start eroding the viler manifestations by adult male agreement?)

I've gone usual. But thanks as ever for the opportunity for a tuppence worth!!

Seven said...

Very good points ans I appreciate the contribution. I understand what you are saying about pornography. Much of it is targeted at the control of and degradation of women; and you create an excellent challenge for our gender.
Not to sound too goody goody, but I honestly do not understand those porn characterizatons to begin with. I do like women in their natural, sexual state, and the visual aspects of viewing women, but the degradation stuff I truly do not understand; but I suppose there must be an audience.

a fish on a bycicle said...

Couldn't agree more. It's off topic I know, but I'm sure I commented somewhere else not long ago about one's mind being the biggest turn on, what's left to the imagination - rather than open heart gyneacology?

patti_cake said...

You are absolutely right about that Colin. Like when I wear a buttoned up/buttoned down suit but underneath lacy bra, and stockings with garters. The mind IS the biggest turn-on. For me anyway.