Double Standards

September 14, 2006 | Karin's Blog | 22 comments

Let us begin with, man whores

Eww, just saying it gives me the heebie geebies.
I’m envisioning a derelict type who will nail anything that moves. Non-discriminating.
There is no official definition of man whore in Merriam Webster. I didn’t think there would be.

For the record, while my heroes have been around the block several times, they are discriminating. Quite frankly for them sex primarily is a release. Something that feels good. A physical act. For their own reasons, they are not looking for love, but a good time with no strings, no messy good-byes, no uncomfortable morning-afters. They are rolling stones. Until of course they are stopped by circumstances and broadsided by a certain female.

So, why doesn’t it bother me to read or write about men who sport fuck, but I don’t care to read about women who do? Admittedly it is a double standard, and I will also admit that there is one in my house. My girls who are the oldest were never allowed to go to field parties, they had air tight curfews, they were not allowed go joy riding or say, “Hey, Mom, I’m going to a party at so and soes, then I’m spending the night at Suzie’s.” Nope never happened. Nor would I allow either of them to get a tattoo as long as they lived in my house.

Now, the boys? After their football games, there were the field parties, and they spent the night out, they went joy riding and their curfews were flexible. Tattoos? No problem, but only one, and it had to be approved by moi. As it turns out all three of my guys have the same tat, so it’s a Tabke guy thang.

The girls screamed, “That’s not fair!”

I just shrugged and said, “Sorry, there is a double standard in this house.”

Now, when the boys wanted to get their ears pierced? I laid down the law. “No.”

“But the girls have theirs pierced!”

“So, they’re girls.”

They would walk away shaking their heads and mumbling, “That just isn’t right.”
Right or wrong, it’s my house, my rules.

Now would I not give one of my heroines a tattoo? There was a time I wouldn’t have, but I’ve mellowed. I think they are okay, some of them. I have a writer friend who has tats on her arms, they are cool, very cool. Who knows, maybe one day I might get one too.
But this goes to show how divided I am as a parent in what I deem acceptable for one gender and not the other. Am I right? For me I am. For others, no.

While society has loosened up some, i.e. women in touch with their sexuality is no longer taboo, a level of double-standard mentality still exists (I am a prime example of it).
And here’s the thing, it’s ok. So long as I don’t stand up on a pulpit and preach that my beliefs are right and yours are wrong, it’s ok.

I personally cannot abide for children or young adults to use profanity in my presence. Especially when I see younger family members use it around the older family members. It shows a complete lack of respect. My kids know they will get their teeth knocked out if they drop an ef bomb around their grandparents.

It’s a running joke amongst my older son’s friends. They know they are not allowed to cuss around me, and it’s hilarious to hear them jump on each other when they slip. And they do slip.
Now, here is the double standard. I swear like a sailor with certain GF’s. I rarely drop an ef bomb where my kids can here it, although I would be lying if I said I never did. You should see their eyebrows go up.
They do not like hearing that language come out of their mother’s mouth.

Hubby on the other hand? Sigh, a continuous battle.
I know when he is with the boys they talk like sailors. I know when there were choir practices at my house the entire neighborhood could have gone up in smoke there were so many profanities flying around, and not only that, vivid descriptions I had a choice. Stay or go. It was not going to change.

So, this was a long way to go, but any thoughts on why double standards are there? And like me do you have them in your house, or am I a dinosaur?





  1. Edie Ramer

    I only had a son, so it wasn’t a problem. But when I was growing up, I would get very resentful with my mother when she treated my brother different, so I dunno about double standards. As for my heroes, they aren’t more promiscuous than my heroes, so we differ there too. *shrug* I don’t swear…a lot. When I do, my son has fun catching me. LOL

  2. Karin

    I’m sure my daughter’s resented me at the time, maybe they still do. I’ll ask them.

  3. Elisabeth

    When you have a son, you have one penis to worry about. When you have a daughter, you have a whole world of penises to worry about.

    Double standards exist because, well, let’s face it, girls are more vulnerale than boys. I have both, and though my kids are all still young, I’m continually amazed at the way gender is engrained from birth. My daughter has always been emotional, cries at the drop of a hat, gets her feelings hurt easily – from day one. Both my boys on the other hand are aggressive and rough-house, barely cry when they get hurt, basically take it good and give it back. I don’t worry so much about my son playing out on the street with the big kids, but I do my daughter (and she’s older).

    I know the a biproduct of the women’s movement is big, strong, take-charge women. I like those in my novels. But at the core, I like to see a side of the vulnerability too that makes women so much different from men. If women were a carbon copy of men, there’d be no conflict in real life or fiction. And when we’re talking about writing, what fun would there be in reading about a woman who acts like a man hooking up with a man?

  4. LaDonna

    Interesting topic, Karin. I like how you mentioned the pulpit thing. There’s no right or wrong. We had two girls, so my view is that angle. We were boaters, still are. So, when all the boys in our group of friends were waterskiing and fishing, my girls were right there. I’m happy to say they’ve grown into wonderful moms and strong women. They don’t use foul language, and I not only love them, I LIKE them. lol. Makes a difference. So, we were lucky. Of course, my honey kept an eye on the boys that hung around. The girls made a few bad choices–like all kids–learned and moved on. My mom hated an old boyfriend of mine. With good reason, he was a butthole! lol. Thank God, I never married him. On the double standard thing, not sure it will ever change.

  5. Amanda

    I think the old saying is true, ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same.’ Women are women, and men are men. Thank God! LOL

  6. LaDonna

    Too funny, Amanda! And I love being a woman too!

  7. Theresa

    I’m right there with you, Karin.

    When it comes to fiction anyway. I actually perfer a hero who’s been around the block a bit. One who has had no-string relationships in the past. And yes, I know its a double standard.

    I think what it comes down to for me is emotions, again. With men, it’s realistic to believe that they can sleep with someone without their emotions getting all tangled up. No strings, feel good sex– I have no problem with men sleeping with women they don’t love. Because I think its part of the male genetic makeup.

    For women, though, I think emotions do get involved much more easily.

    Maybe that’s part of the double standard, trying to protect our girls from potential hurt?

  8. Karin

    Good analogy, Elisabeth. With two daugters I had double penis worry. Of course hubby scared most of the boys who sniffed around so bad they never came back.
    LaDonna, if I don’t like a girlfriend or a boyfriend I let the kids know. With one excepetion that cost one of my kids dearly, they listen. I have to remind them, that thier father and I more than anyone on this earth has thier best interests at heart.
    Amanda, I’m with you. let girls be girls and boys be boys.
    Theresa, women are definitely more emotional driven then men. It’s why they can do some jobs better than us and vica versa.
    I don’t like seeing seeing any of my children’s feelings hurt, but the girls seem to take it harder so I do feel more protective.

  9. LaDonna

    I just had an “AH” moment here. The double standard seems to be based on the “emotional” side of things. Your comment, Karin, about being protective with your children’s feelings, but the girls seem to take it harder. That’s it! I hear choir music here. lol.

  10. May


    It exists. Frankly, if I didn’t HAVE to (long story), the parents wouldn’t let me go overseas to study on my own, at least not until my Masters.

    My younger brother’s 3 years younger than me. He goes to and fro school on his own–my mother usually picks me up. They don’t check with him every single day to find out what time he’ll be home–they do with me. He goes off on his bicycle to visit friends more than a kilometer away on his own. My parents will raise hell if I tried the same thing.

    So basically it boils down to this: If you’re in the same situation, fight the big fights and let the rest go. You can get that tattoo when you’re out of the house, you don’t need it now. Parents who believe that you’re a good, obedient little thing are more likely to set you free.

  11. Amanda

    There is a saying, ‘women go to bars to find love, men go to get laid’, crude, but true. I think women are looking for love, and men are just looking. LOL Until a man finds the one he is always just looking. Women are looking trying to find the one. Until this paradox is resolved (like in a romance novel) there is no connection between the two attitudes.

  12. Karin

    May, I think your parents and I would get along rather well.
    Amanda, true, true ,true.
    I guess it boils down to but itsn’t all about protecting our daughters from penis’and the hurt that can come with it.

  13. Cece

    I”m so glad I have boys 🙂 Elisabeth nailed it–I love that analogy! My boys can’t get tattoos till they are 18 and I’ll pay for the first one (which means I get the final say so). I can’t say they can’t have tats because I have two and I want more 🙂

    I cuss like a sailor but the boys aren’t allowed to and no I don’t think that’s a double standard. I”m the adult and I can make the choice to cuss–my house my rules.

    IRL I think men should (at least in theory) be discriminating–women too when it comes to sex. That’s not to say my characters alwasy ard or that I haven’t ever made a mistake (got the divorce papers to prove it!) but there u go.

  14. Tracey

    I only have boys – two of them in fact. With 2 male cats, 2 sons and a DH, I am surrounded by testosterone. In my house ““ the toilet set stays up and when I use it ““ I put it down ““ it’s only fair as there are more of them.

    Because I don’t have girls I can’t comment on the whole double standard thing where children are involved. But my parents split when I was 12 and because my mother couldn’t cope with life much ““ at the age of 13 we went to live with my father. As I was the oldest and because my father was chauvinistic I became “mom” i.e. cooking, cleaning etc.

    My Dad always pushed me towards typical “female” jobs (secretarial, nursing, hairdressing) so he made be do typing, book-keeping, home economics, but I wanted to do Math, science and the academic type stuff. I rebelled, left home at 16, and finally ended up in a largely male dominated field of computer programming many years later. , I have a few tattoos as well ““ I have a thing for dragons.

    So for me, if I had girls, I don’t know if I would have the double standard thing, but maybe I would where dating was concerned. In heroes and heroines ““ I don’t think I like promiscuity in either. I like my heroes to have loved before and not have had just meaningless sexual relationships ““ just as I like my heroines to have done the same.

  15. Karin

    ah the old, put the toilet seat down trick.
    Even when it was just me and the boys the seat went down. But they were trained from a very early age to do that.
    Although they have a very annoying habit of not flusing it. I think they’re trying to tell me something!
    I think it’s very interesting Tracey that while your dad pushed traditionl female jobs on you, your true nature for science and math won out.
    We’ve always been pretty liberal that way, allowing the kids regardless the gender to follow what comes to them naturaly. Both the boys want to be cops, and I shudder at the thought.

  16. Sharon/Maya

    I don’t have tattoos. MY only piercings are my ears. My husband would have a COW if our boys ever got piercings or tattoos. I do swear like a sailor, but hey, we all have our vices *g*

    My characters DO have tattoos, piercings, they have bad habits I’d never have attached to me, but it’s fun to write about characters who are so different from me 🙂

    As for the sex thing, I find women are more respectful of their bodies than men tend to be. We take better care with our hair, our clothing, our skin, our fingernails. So it only makes sense that we’d be more disapproving of a woman who’d climb into bed with any penis. Me? Hey, if the girl is happy, I say go for it. The only way I’d judge another woman based on her sexual practices is if she was just a dumbass about it and didn’t look out for her health/mental well being.

  17. May

    I have never faced the “You’re a girl, therefore you should become a teacher” argument. As in, gender dictating my ambition. If that were the case, I’d have left home a long time already.

    On the other hand, I’ve female classmates whose parents pay tens out thousands to send them to Singapore to study, and they complain that their parents won’t let them study engineering at university because it’s not for girls.

  18. Karin

    May, I was lucky, my father was/is the kind of man who told me I could do anything. *Anything.* But to achieve it I would have to work work work and never give up. He is an engineer who can doodle on a napkin what it takes an MIT grad weeks to do on a computer. My brother has that same gene. Dad also plays the guitar and keyboard, sings, and writes wonderful prose (only when the muse strikes, not on a regular basis). My sister can write circles around me and has a natural artistic flair. I have to work at it. Really hard. But I think my dad’s creative gene is what drives me. I’m grateful he never tried to pigeon hole me. But he was a very strict father, and always taught the lesson by example and expected me to do the same.
    Many, many years ago he encouraged me to come work for him. Just the thought of learning basic electronics and computer stuff set me screaming.
    Egads, now I have a headache just thinking about it.

  19. Karin

    Maya, I love your tatted, peirced hero! Can’t wait to get that book in my hot little hands. Can you speak to your editor and get it released any sooner?????
    hee hee, and you do have a potty mouth. Maya was one of those GF’s I was talking about. Ef bombs puncutate our conversations. Love it!

  20. May

    I hear you, Karin. Mind you, my dad wants me to become a scientist and…I don’t. I have the aptitude, but you get older, smarter and you realise that being good at something doesn’t mean that you should do it.

  21. Shannon

    Dear Karin:

    I read your blog and found it interesting about double standards. When a young adult or child drops an “F-Bomb” they are just following by the example set by the adult. Knocking their front teeth out is not a solution but more of a problem in today’s society. So, when you write about family matters, remember it is the reflection in the mirror they see.

    Best Wishes to you and yours,

  22. Soma

    I think women are looking for love, and men are just looking. LOL Until a man finds the one he is always just looking. Women are looking trying to find the one.


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