“Few men ever give a thought to what will become of the woman. Women must fall. Women must suffer. Women must be punished for their fall. Man can drag a poor woman to her ruin. He can leave his victim a weeping and wailing outcast, while he will be received into the homes of our best, wealthiest and most moral families…. But how is it with the poor girl who falls? She who is no more guilty that the man you have just welcomed into you home?
Should she happen to be a school mate, parents will warn their daughters not to speak to her, to shun her, not to recognize her again, for she is no longer ‘nice.’ Which is the more guilty of the two?…His crime is called ‘a little sowing of wild oats’, while the poor, heart-broken woman is called a ‘degraded wretch’ and not fit to breathe the same air as the pure.
This is the verdict of society. This is the verdict of the world… Let fallen men be punished as you punish the fallen women, and you will then see the reforms that have been so badly needed all these years.”
Preach it, sister. If you guessed a prostitute 100 years ago, you are correct, although this easily could have been written in 2014. That passage comes from a prostitute that I’m studying named Louise Wooster, who lived in Birmingham, Alabama from about 1870 to 1913 (history lesson time). Lou is important because what she has to say is still true in society today. It doesn’t matter if you hooked up with a guy in high school and now the whole school knows about it, or if you are a female porn star and people look at you like you are an alien, women still suffer from the stigma of the double standard and it needs to stop.
Why is sex tied with the content of someone’s character? Particularly a woman’s character? People will look at me like I’m a weirdo for asking this, but it is a serious question. I know a MILLION guys who brag about their weekend escapades, but imagine if I said back to them, yeah I slept with 17,000 people on Saturday and loved every second of it. I have no idea if it is humanly possible to sleep with 17,000 people in one day or in a lifetime, but that’s not the point. Who I sleep with is MY decision and no one else’s.
The problem with the double standard is that women are confined to gender roles of being pure and if you somehow tarnish that purity you are devalued. And that’s sad. You know why? Because it isn’t true. It doesn’t make you less of a person if you decide to throw your purity ring away. Although the double standard isn’t as horrible as it was during Lou’s time, it is still there. Society and culture still practice and preach absurd and outdated gender conventions (especially in the South) and frankly, it puts me over the edge. So if anyone EVER says anything about your ability to be a woman based on your sexual history, please ask them if the word morality is subjective. In Alabama, most people probably won’t even know what the word “subjective” means, (I live there, I know) but don’t be afraid to challenge what your determined gender role is. Your definition of morality might be different than mine, but what makes me a decent person has nothing to do with sex in my opinion, so take your judgements elsewhere.
Finally, women – STOP JUDGING OTHER WOMEN. Men judge us enough as it is, so is it necessary to call other females whores if you hear details about a certain woman’s sexual activity? Nah, girl. Chill out and worry about you. Newsflash – another woman’s business is not yours. People wouldn’t develop reputations if gossip was immediately cut from conversations. I have about 68,000 problems I have to worry about that just concern myself, I don’t need to be thrown into a discussion about what a huge slut so-and-so is. Alright, good talk Regina George.