It’s no secret that a plethora of double standards exist between men and women. While these instances are often frustrating sometimes a little humor is necessary. Mainly because they are completely ridiculous. Here are a handful of things (many go unmentioned) I come upon in my daily life that are products of a gender contract-laden environment.
Let me get this straight. So men can exist in their naturally hair-laden state with no consequence. But, women must ensure that there is not one single strand outside of the hair on their head and their eyebrows? That makes no sense.
Body hair is completely natural and there for a reason. (Mainly body hair exists for protection from damaging UV rays, for more detail tune in to this episode of Stuff You Should Know).
Here’s just a handful of the ways women remove/alter their hair due to expectations:
- Bleach or wax your mustache/peach fuzz
- Wax and tweeze your eyebrows but then also fill them in for a desirable shape
- Shave your legs and any other body parts with a touch of hair
- Painfully groom your bikini area (no pain, no gain right? Wrong.)
- Use LASERS to BURN your follicles so that they won’t produce hair anymore
- Keep your hair long but not too long and if you cut it make sure that you maintain your “feminine” look whatever that means
- Don’t you dare let yourself go gray but then also receive criticism if you dye it for being a “bottle blonde”
- And other various combinations/methods of the aforementioned processes
Image via Imgur
I pride myself on the amount that I go to the gym. Unfortunately, due to the amount of times I’ve gone to the gym, I have witnessed every single double standard there is in the fitness industry.
Women must achieve the perfect balance of fit but not too fit, and only through certain types of fitness.
Women are conventionally supposed to be thin. Not strong, thin. That’s partly what I love so much about the rise in women’s strength training visibility on Instagram recently (check out two of my favorites Ashley Horner and Hannah Eden). It doesn’t pigeonhole women into the few types of exercise deemed acceptable: Zumba, yoga, jogging and the stair climber. We can hold our own anywhere in the fitness world, period.
If you do venture to the daunting weight racks and barbells, expect unwanted feedback on your performance.
If I had a penny for the amount of times a man tried to critique, or commented on, something that I was doing in the gym I would have a lot of pennies. At first, although aggravated, I tried to view their suggestions as just that, friendly suggestions. But then I realized that these men weren’t treating other men this way.
I once heard an anecdote from a friend that said a gym bro tried to “hit on” her by going up to her while she was squatting and saying that she shouldn’t get any stronger so that she won’t be able to squat more than him. What a catch.
Lastly, yoga pants and leggings. Butt sweat and camel toes are simply unavoidable in these pieces of clothing. I do not maintain that women should be condemned for either of these things when I have witnessed the exposure of mens’ undercarriage numerous times on the stretching mat due to lack of underwear. I apologize for any graphic images conjured there.
Image via Buzzfeed
Please Get Out of Women’s Sex Lives
On a more serious note, leave womens’ sex lives to them.
Time and time again the tale of the player versus slut complex presents itself. This is the idea that if a man sleeps with many women is he is hailed, worshipped even, as a player or stud. Contrastingly, if a woman sleeps with just as many men as the previously mentioned man (or less) she is labeled as a slut.
On the other hand, if a women subscribes to the pressures put upon her romantic entanglements, then she is considered a prude. There is truly never a way to win in these situations.
None of these labels should be used for anyone nor should they define anything about you. One’s sex life belongs to them and only them. It does not cast a shadow upon or elevate them to another level that warrants greater respect.
This phenomenon seems more recognized and condemned than it used to be, but still is prevalent and damaging.
Basically All We Can Eat is Water
Most times I go out to eat whether with family, friends or dates comments follow regarding my food. I either am lauded or criticized for how much I’m eating or lauded or criticized for how little I’m eating.
Again, no way to win in these situations.
If a women eats health-consciously remarks ensue saying, “put some meat on your bones” or questions posed as to why she doesn’t eat “real food.” But then if a woman decides to eat a burger or pizza she is immediately judged. Hearing comments like “wow, you’re really going all out.”
There also exist certain expectations for how you eat based on your appearance. If you are eating a massive burger and you’re conventionally thin then it’s cute and trendy. But if you are an average looking woman and you eat the same then you “aren’t taking care of yourself properly.”
This is quite specific but has always bothered me. Once middle school hit, the days of me eating bananas the way one is supposed to eat bananas abruptly ended. And if I did try to eat a banana through the traditional top-down approach, comments or looks immediately followed. Women: forever condemned to a life of eating coined bananas. The same judgments apply to popsicles and any other remotely phallic shaped foods (this sentence felt ridiculous to write, but seriously… it’s true).
Ladies, just eat. Please, for goodness sake, just eat in whatever way makes you feel good.
Image via Pinterest
It’s Not Only Women
While women might face more stigmas than men, men still have many of their own to deal with.
Men showing any natural human emotion beyond happiness or anger, people frown upon for unknown reasons. Let’s put emphasis on the word natural here.
Hot take: men can and should cry! Bottling up emotions does good for no one. Lean on each other for support we are all in this together.
Fashion acts as another part of society limited to women. Labeling men as “gay” if they dress nicely happens everywhere. As if that is some sort of criticism in the first place?
Allow men to venture beyond basketball shirts and slides. Encourage it. Don’t confine dressing well to one type of person.
It boils down to acceptance
All in all, these practices boil down to one simple idea: acceptance. Accept that we are all different than these fabricated beings who function as role models for our stereotypes. We look different, love different, and eat different. We are unique individuals and that’s what makes us amazing.
Appreciate and cherish each person’s individuality. Aesthetic and trivial differences should never separate us, but bring us closer together.
Cover image via Bustle0
Also published on Medium.