By Quintez Brown —
Recently, CONECT, a peer mentoring program for incoming students, hosted an open dialogue event discussing dating and relationships. Men and women in the room discussed many topics, including cheating and domestic abuse, but the conversation about double standards in relationships sparked much discussion.
Double standards, the rules and expectations that each gender expects their opposite to act, are killing relationships and continue to further divide men and women in our society.
These standards can come in all shapes and sizes. It can be as minor as you expecting your partner to always answer the phone when you call but you refusing to do the same behavior.
Bigger double standards, that can transcend relationships, include the standard that men are not as shamed as women are for having many sexual partners and if a man has had many sexual partners, he expects his women not to.
Double standards have an impact on men as well. Society tells us it is okay for women to cry and show emotion. For men, if you show emotion or express your insecurity then society sees you as weak or “unmanly.”
Awareness of these standards allows us to analyze bigger, systemic issues in our society such as sexism.
Makayla Lewis, a freshman Biology major, said she believes double standards harm relationships because of the psychological effects they have on women.
“These double standards can harm a relationship by affecting their woman’s mental state. It puts women underneath their partner,” Lewis said.
Lewis said these double standards derive from gender stereotypes that teach us to treat women and men unequally.
“I believe as a society we should teach people and children to treat each gender the same. Women should not be called hoes for behaving the same as men. Men should not be brought down for showing emotion,” Lewis said.
No matter your gender, if you’re complicit, you’re apart of the problem.
Ego maintains double standards by using it as a psychological tool of defense. This prevents people from having effective conversations about the issue.
If your excuse of shaming your partner for having too many sexual partners while you do is, “I’m a guy so it’s not the same,” you’re apart of the problem and you will hurt your relationship.
Tony Compton, a senior member of Brothers United, an RSO focused on brotherhood and success for men of color, said he believes we have to actively challenge what society deems as socially correct.
“Until we stop listening to what society deems as socially correct, we will never grow out of using double standards in relationships,” Compton said.
“We will continue reinforce them as long as it’s seen as normal.”
If we want to actually see gender equality and healthy relationships in our society, we must work towards erasing these toxic double standards.
Community dialogue and conversations about double standards are an important first step to the realization of an equal society.
Graphic by Shayla Kerr / The Louisville Cardinal