Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Double standards

This weekend, like every weekend, I went through my DVR and tried to catch up on all the shows I had missed during the week. One show that really caught my attention was Jersey Shore (season two). On the latest episode there is an incident in the house that really raises some issues about gender inequality, especially in the social sphere. Angelia, one of the eight roommates of the show, decides to lie about sleeping with a guy who she has been dating on the show for the prior two weeks The night before she spent the night with Jose, she had “smushed” (slept with) Vinny, another one of the roommates. This raised a lot of tension among the cast members.

Mike “the situation,” began calling Angelina a many synonyms associated with the word whore. Soon after, all of the other males in the house got involved in the bashing as well. The scene was followed by a cut-a-way to Mike, so that he could explain why he was bad-mouthing Angelina when he himself is infamous on the show for sleeping with different girls every night. He responded by first recognizing that there was a double standard in our society between men and women when it comes to promiscuity. He said that it was not only okay for him to sleep with many girls, but it makes him a “pimp,” and pretty much, a “hell of a guy.” He then went on to explain how similar actions by a girl make them look “trashy.”

This however was not the most disturbing part of the episode. The part I found most disturbing was that Angelina has absolutely no support from her female roommates. They were even getting in on the bashing. “Snooki,” one of her female housemates, explained that Angelina was a “slut” precisely for doing what Mike “The Situation” had claimed made him a so-called pimp.

Have we not evolved from these prehistoric gender stereotypes? Do we still live in a society where men are free to flaunt their sexual conquests, only to be awarded with praise, while women are shunned, even by their own, for wanting to lead the same lifestyle? Sadly, I think the answer to these questions is YES. I find it very difficult to deal with, that after all of these years of advancement in women’s rights, many of the oldest and most outdated gender inequalities still persist. I am truly shocked to find that our society still believes in a double standard when it comes to private consensual sex.

Worst of all, why are women bashing other women for trying to live their lives with the same standard of men. This really tolls the advancement of women and really strengthens outdated stereotypes. I would really like to believe that this primitive thinking is limited to this show, but I know full well that many Americans still live by these ideals.

Here is a link to the latest episode.


Yazzyjazzy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yazzyjazzy said...

Its really unfortunate when women buy into this double standard. It is so illogical! I can kind of understand why men would put women down for a trait they praise in other men. For example, when a woman has a high position in her workplace and acts too tough, she is called a "bitch," whereas other strict men business people are just good at their jobs. But why do women accept men's behavior but so vehemently scold women that do?

Its really infuriating that Snookie would completely ignore the fact that the Situation sleeps around, but call Angelina a slut, just because she is a woman!

I really hope that people watching this show are watching just because they think it is so stupid that its entertaining, and not actually agree with Snookie and the Situation. Unfortunately, however, I'm pretty sure this way of thinking is very common.

N.P. said...

I actually read an article that was saying the same thing. I think there is some tension here between reality tv and how we view it, the women on the show themselves, and of course how society views women in general.

I am not a huge Jersey Shore fan, nor do I watch it often, but in some ways I feel like it's such a comment on how women are treated by men but also how some women tend to open themselves up to such criticism. Now I'm not saying that she deserves, certainly if anything the men deserve to be called "sluts." What I am saying is that why should either individuals be put down. Sure this is what they are getting paid for, but at the same time it's their life and let them live it. At the same time, however, the women on this show are constantly pulling themselves and each other down. How do they expect the men to respect them when they fail to respect each other as well?

Alcestis said...

This follows N.P.'s post with the quote "There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women," by Madeleine Albright. Since there is already an uphill battle for women to attain equal rights, pay, and authority, women should really help other women, so we can all succeed. This is not a zero-sum game.

Unfortuately, these kinds of double standards only makes me question how deeply rooted gender-based characteristics and expectations really are. Being repulsed myself by Angelia's actions, I wonder am I repulsed because I hold women to a higher standard (and if so, what does that mean?) or am I repulsed because I genuinely disagree with her actions? I hope the latter.