Slept for a few hours and am now back up again. Gonna record a few thoughts here to pass the time until I feel like lying down again.
One thought that perennially bugs me has to do with double standards between the sexes. In this instance, I’m thinking about the double standards a good many males harbor in relation to females and how contradictory they tend to be. An obvious one I’ve grown up hearing and still find floating around online is the notion that females should treat sexuality in a different manner than males commonly are expected to. Some back this with biological claims, others with moral arguments, but always the idea is that we females should rightfully check our own sexual impulses in a way that isn’t typically required among males. To not do so is to be viewed as low in the eyes of plenty.
Another common double standard relates with alcohol consumption and hitting the bar-scene. For some reason this has been viewed as the domain of males and not something females ought to engage in to the same extent, lest that say something horrendous about our moral character. Though this double standard holds less sway over parts of the population nowadays.
What I find interesting about all of this is how the idea seems to be that we females have an obligation to check ourselves so as to provide contrast against male tendencies. But, at the same time, there’s also the belief that we females should rightfully follow where mankind leads. This creates a double-bind where, on one hand, the idea seems to be that we females can and should be held to higher “moral” standards than our male counterparts, though, on the other, we’re denigrated for not possessing more individual initiative to navigate life for ourselves on our own individual terms (i.e., we’re chided for being too prone toward following rather than leading ourselves). But if one leads herself though is influenced by the examples set by males she’s known and grown up around, that’s somehow wrong too. Almost as if when it comes to certain matters there’s this crazy idea that women (generally speaking) should be completely separate and different than males, going so far as to deny our own complex biological, hedonistic, and moral tendencies, in some sort of effort to set ourselves apart from males — presumably for the best for all involved. But is this not asking women to be more human than human as compared to males?
I realize this isn’t coming out as clearly as hoped. It just seems to me sometimes that males can harbor views that almost seek to set females apart as though we were somehow belonging to a separate species. At least to the extent that one idealizes such contrast between the sexes. And what purpose does this serve? Is this linked in with the idea that female nature is somehow supposed to ground and rein in male nature? Is that intended to suggest that when it comes to morality and impulse control, females are meant to lead?
Well, if that was the dream, it couldn’t be maintained, for a variety of reasons. One being that females aren’t raised anymore to see life in such a way, which I see as part of the breakdown of the human domestication project that’s been underway the last few thousands of years. For whatever reasons, that didn’t work out as people once hoped it might, and I don’t think there’s a way to force it back to being any which way. Nature, through the biological differences bestowed upon the sexes, was the original gatekeeper. And now we all live in a complex world of our own (human) creation, attempting to cast off the shackles naturally tethered to us. One could argue that this has led to moral failings for all of us, depending on what moral codes one subscribes to.
But I look back and see where women have tried to act as moral leaders and gatekeepers in contrast to males—as with ushering in the Prohibition Era in the early 20th century—and such attempts have roundly been criticized as overly restrictive and domineering and controlling. Perhaps rightfully so. Females still remain more inclined to follow and become actively involved in religions, and this too is criticized as we head into a secular future. And now we see where “traditional”-minded females are lambasted for accepting stricter and more dichotomous gender roles and viewed as little more than “parasites” leeching off a male host in that regard, even if her sole intent is to help raise a family according to what was once an esteemed social script.
Then we have the so-called “trollops” and “whores” and “bad girls” who buck such conventions and decide to go another way. There too we see these females given grief for being “loose” of morals, despite there being no shortage of males willing to participate (though some of these same males otherwise like to snidely deride such actions, at least in terms of the female end). I’ve always viewed this as a strange situation. Like people want two contradictory things simultaneously and can’t make up their minds, and so they berate others endlessly no matter which way they might turn or how they might try to navigate in this life.
If you’re a woman with a career of your own and the ability to afford your own lifestyle without outside help, you’re labeled a “feminist” and chided for being in competition with males in the workforce. If you instead decide to play the “traditional” game and become the primary caretaker of children and the home, as mentioned above, you’re viewed as little more than a manipulative snake trying to get some sort of “free ride.” If you revel in your sexuality and aren’t afraid to explore it with others, you’re a “slut” and considered a problem, no matter how you might go about your exploration. However, if you’re into upholding your chastity and choose to be very selective over whom you grant sexual access to, once again you’re given a hard time for being a “cold fish” and “frigid” and a “prude” and basically dismissed as a killjoy (if not also considered a manipulative type who’s derogatorily denounced for being a “sexual gatekeeper”).
Can’t win for losing, so far as I can tell.
I get to thinking that this isn’t so much about females as it is about males and their own views on life and their own internal struggles with moral concepts. The contrast they seek is already naturally occurring, and yet they seem hell-bent on adding an artificial layer on top of that via restrictive gender roles. And yet it’s these very gender roles that they themselves have come to despise as well. They say they don’t want to go back to some sort of traditional setup, and yet they seem extremely uncomfortable with how the future is unfolding. What they seem to want and what they are capable of respecting appear to be in conflict on a fundamental level. And what use are standards projected onto the female that aren’t also embraced by oneself? If she does appear morally righteous in comparison, then he might try to cut her down; and if she is already deemed lower than him according to some standard set, he’s liable to bemoan her failings and treat that as an excuse for his own.
Wherever males lead, there are females who will follow them, whether heading down or up. That’s an obvious given. Simply standing around and projecting standards outwardly onto others doesn’t really change a thing, other than driving females more neurotic over time. We seem to always lose sight of how no human is an island unto ourselves and how our (sub-)cultural setup plays a major role in how we’re each socialized and what roles we wind up having access to and might more easily adopt. Times have changed. Technologies have overhauled all of reality as we humans know it. And yet we still play these strange blame games when it comes to sexual differences and similarities and this notion that it somehow must be kept separated, even after the levee’s already broken.
I don’t have any answers for us on this. Just pondering. We appear to be caught in a mental trap here. Women do not belong to a separate species and will not no matter how much one might wish that could be the case in terms of certain aspects that people wish were strictly divided between the sexes. The only divisions that ever naturally arose did so due to biological limitations and/or advantages, plus psychologies molded by the interplay between body and environment (including one’s culture). All else has been the product of human beings — our social constructs. Yet now we like to rail against these social constructs and our biological heritages, to boot. Well folks, we can’t have it every which way all at once, and a lot of what came before lies behind doors that have since been closed as humans traverse forward into Modern Life.
Maybe it’s a case of the grass always appearing greener on the other side. And maybe when men feel lost they have a tendency to berate women for ultimately being the cause of it (as became popular at least since the rise of Abrahamic religions). People do like to take out what they can on those whom they think they can get away with it. Not that it does any of us much good to stay stuck in the muck, flinging poo at one another and casting blame for a Trajectory everybody alive today was simply born into the latest stages of.
Not sure what to tell people, other than that you’ll likely wind up blamed no matter what you do. So, we each have little choice or reason to act in any way other than how we individually feel driven. But that then leads us back to another paradox where it turns out that following one’s own individual interests doesn’t automatically wind up benefiting the whole group. Guess it depends on one’s priorities, and that unavoidably will divvy up in countless ways across the human spectrum. I don’t honestly know what one could say about any of this going on today that might make a lick of difference to the outcome we’re all “progressing” toward. I see where hostilities are mounting and how aggression plays out as a result, and I recognize that love is an integral part of the answer to what ails us. But I can’t claim to know much beyond that right now.
[Lightly edited on 3/2/2015 for greater clarity]