Students usually like to think of themselves as liberal minded people –both in the classroom and the bedroom. But do we still view those who enjoy casual sex with a double standard regarding their gender?
Throughout time men have been applauded for their virility and overall ‘manliness’ through their prowess in the bedroom, which usually translates to the number of women they’ve slept with. Casanova, for example, is lauded as the greatest womaniser of all time: envied by men, and coveted by women. But there is no such romanticised female version of Casanova.
Traditionally, a woman was expected to wait until marriage before she experienced sex. Unwanted pregnancies could drag a woman into scandal and label her ‘used goods’, no longer fit for marriages and even respectable society. But then methods of contraception came into existence, and with this the western world entered into a new stage of sexual liberation.
In our university environment, most students champion gender equality as well as the opportunities for casual sex which university presents. However, a double standard still exists between the sexes.
“A master key can open any lock. But a shitty lock can be opened by any key.”
Proverb, contributed by Simon Eyles, student.
The real core of this double standard seems to be different gender’s attitudes towards sex. Where most girls know full well that if they so wished, a night in Jesters could end up with her going home with a guy, most guys do not have that confident an expectation.
“When it comes down to it women are the ones who are chased, and men the ones who are doing the chasing. So where a girl is just one allowing a guy to take her home, a guy needs the ability to chase well.”
Lucy Cunningham, student.
“To be a stud you need to be witty, charming, well dressed, have nice shoes and a fake job.
To be a slut you just have to be…. there.”
Jim Jefferies, Australian comedian.
The idea that men are the ‘chasers’ whilst women are the ‘chasees’ is as relevant to university life as it has always been. Although girls can approach guys, they are always at risk at seeming too forward. Men are still the ones who are expected to initiate something, whether that means buying a girl a drink or asking her on a date.
“Sluttism is not just a reputation – it’s an attitude.”
James Dennis, student.
Take Samantha from Sex in the City – when it comes to sex, she knows exactly what she wants, and isn’t afraid to ask for it. However, her sexually forward behaviour is interpreted by many as her being predatory, and her very active sex life seen as slutty. But Samantha handles herself with such confidence and, dare I say class when doing this, that there is a vast difference between her and the girls whose appearance and behaviour we would label a slut.
“If a girl’s desperate and goes around throwing herself at men instead of waiting for them to come to her she’s just pathetic and easy really.”
Emma Glenister, student.
Women are also another woman’s harshest critic. Much as an end to the double standard would be one step closer towards complete gender equality, it is female who scorn those whom we label as ‘sluts’. And this goes far deeper than what some might unfairly label as jealousy towards one who is using her looks for attention. Girls who seemingly thrown themselves as men whilst flaunting their feminine charms are undermining how hard women have had to work to be seen as intellectual equals to their male counterparts. This is why the way women dress, as well as her behaviour, has such a huge impact of the image of a ‘slut’.
“It takes two to tango.”
Luke Goodger, student.
The overwhelming response to this debate is that both sexes should have equal freedom to sleep with whom they choose, and that society should stop judging the sexual behaviour of others. One whom enjoys multiple partners and sexual experimentation shouldn’t be thought as sleazy, or dirty – whatever their gender. Perhaps the hippies have it right with the idea of free love?
No matter what our liberal ideals may be, our generation still perceive men and women differently in their sexual behaviour. From studs to sluts, Casanovas to whores, silvers foxes to cougars, women are always going to be judged more negatively for the same actions. Perhaps people should be more aware of how their behaviour outside the bedroom reflects negatively on their image, or perhaps society as a whole should be less quick to judge others on whom they take home at night.