Sexual Double Standards

There is a perpetual notion that the ideal female is one who has no sexual partners, or at most, one person that is the one she gets married to, while "a real man" is one who has multiple sexual partners, especially when married. Over time, the idea that a male can be as sexual as he desires while a female must not, in order to remain valuable, has been encouraged. These ideas have created concepts that shape how we better understand the society we live in, regardless of who it intimidates. Concepts like "ho" and "slut" enforce sexual double standards because they devalue any woman known or suspected to have more than one sexual partner, while they praise a man.

These concepts have achieved so much power in the media and have prevented many from seeing how they diminish a woman’s worth. Media encourages this disrespect to females by singing or rapping about a female having little to no value if she is known to have had sexual partners. In a popular love song by Iyanya titled "Applaudise," the artist points out all the qualities of a girl he has fallen in love with. Iyanya’s lyrics quote, "and your beauty na natural/ and you no be leftover eh, your love na heaven o eh…” (You have a natural beauty/and you are not a leftover/your love is heavenly.) The term “You are not a leftover” presents women as having less worth if they are suspected to have any sexual partners. Iyanya’s emphasis on his girl not being a leftover was to point out that she was a virgin. The use of the word "leftover" emphasizes that women who are not virgins are mere residues of a previous male partner. To add some fuel to the burning fire, some females also encourage the ideas that belittles them in society by ridiculing one another or referring to each other as a ho. Nicki Minaj, one of the biggest female rappers in the music industry, produced the song "All Eyes on You" with her new boyfriend. In the song she pointed out why she was a better choice for her new man. Nicki Minaj’s verse reads, “You got the right one/All them hos, ain't nothin' like them/Nigga you know you'd never wife them/None of them niggas ain't never hit this.” Nicki expresses that she is a better option for her man because unlike other females, "them niggas" never slept with her. Society has been brainwashed to condemn women for their sexuality.

To make matters worse, the more women are ridiculed for their sexuality, the less men are. In media, men are not chained by these same concepts. Terms like ho, leftover (shackles) that keep women in bondage and label them without repeal are nonexistent for men. Therefore, males have absolute freedom and power over their sexual life. Society has no concepts that ridicule men who have multiple partners, and as a result, a man’s sexual life has no impact on his value. Men in the music industry are well aware of this fact; hence, why male artists boast about their sex life with multiple partners in their music. Trey Songz (big fan though), an R&B artist, narrates his experience of a trip to Miami in a song titled "All We Do." “Chilling in Miami and I met a little freak/Got three bad friends and they all on me.” Trey Songz is openly admitting to the world that he had four girls in the room at the same time, because he knows that rather than be condemned, he would be applauded. A drastic change to this scenario would be if a female artist or the girls (that were all on him) sang this song. Society would then involve morals and use sentences or remarks like “she is a ho.” In our society a man is commended and applauded for doing the same thing that shames and devalues a woman.

There’s a saying that is used today to justify why this happens. It states, “a key that opens many doors is a master key but a door that is opened by many keys is a useless door.” This simply means a man being the key is better when he sleeps with as many people as he wants (opens many doors) while a woman is worthless if she sleeps with more than one man (opened by many keys). Hence, why only the female gets called a ho, a slut, a leftover, etcetera.

When this issue first dawned on me, I thought it was just a media thing and the artists were just participating for the money. This idea vanished when I became a victim of the ridicule and beliefs myself. A group (mostly women) referred to me as a ho for defending a girl that was being verbally assaulted because she wore a pair of jeans and a crop top which revealed her stomach. I got involved when a fully covered Muslim woman commented that girls' outfits are why many girls get raped. I explained with the purpose of feeding her ignorance some knowledge that a person’s outfit is never an excuse to be verbally or sexually harassed. Just when I thought she was listening, she replied to me saying, “Hos will always defend other hos.” Neither myself nor the girl being harassed sang a song or rapped about being in bed with four men, yet we were belittled and called a ho.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche mentioned when she talked about the different goals society sets for females and males that, “Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage…but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same?… We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.” Society has carved out and created concepts that encourage a norm of double standards and disrespect to females and their sexual choices. Even so, people still continue to use these concepts because it is so deeply embedded in our society, and also because it is the only way people understand the world, and get around with other people.

Report this Content

More on Odyssey

Facebook Comments