Men can get away with being single. In fact it’s preferable to be a bachelor. Think of The Hangover versus Bridesmaids—two films that deal with the eve of a BFF’s wedding in entirely different ways. In The Hangover, it’s depicted as their last chance to behave like maniacal boys, their last chance at freedom before their bromance takes a hit and the dude gets castrated by saying “I Do”. Bridesmaids also explores the change in dynamic when a BFF gets married. However, Kristen Wiig’s character approaches all of these pre-wedding rituals with a sense of dread because she’s sooooo single. Meanwhile, Bradley Cooper, who portrays the male version of Kristen Wiig’s character in Bridesmaids, is seen as anything but devastated. In fact he’s the one who’s in an enviable position. His friend is getting married while he still gets to sow his wild oats. Sucker! (Note: Bradley Cooper’s character is married but the relationship may as well not exist.) With Wiig, the oats have been sewn. There’s nothing left for her to do but to get married as well. As amazing and progressive as Bridesmaids was, I resented the fact that Wiig had to have a love interest. In the end, it was all okay anyway because she met the perfect dude. Thank god! Imagine if she had remained single throughout all of it. Too bleak. It IS a comedy, remember?
Men can be fat. Men can be Seth Rogen while women always have to be Katherine Heigl. Whaaaaat? I don’t get it! It’s not just in the movies either. I see a ton of real-life Knocked Up couples walking the streets and get a little sad. They hold their man’s belly while wearing a skintight dress that shows off their long stems and they whisper, “I saw it on TV. I don’t know. I thought it was my only option to marry a Jim Belushi. All of the Eric Dane’s were sold out at the store that day.” A day that I see the roles reversed —a day that I see a chubby woman holding hands with a Brad Pitt—is a day I will be so happy.
Men can get away with falling into bed with everyone. This is not a novel observation. The sexual double standard has been discussed ad nauseam but it’s still worth noting because it’s a biggie. It informs what we see on our television screens and in magazines and how we conduct ourselves in real life. How many times has a woman abstained from sex because the media told her to? Countless. How many times has a man abstained from sex because of what he’s been taught? I mean, I think the takeaway message here is that women feel the need to be conscious of their sexual behavior whereas men don’t. The reasons why a woman says no to sex are going to be more complicated than a man’s reasons.
Men can get away with open objectification. Think of that movie Disclosure with Demi Moore and Michael Douglas, in which Demi plays a power boss intent on ruining Douglas’ life with a sexual harassment lawsuit. She had the audacity to be aggressive and she was punished accordingly. It would’ve been an entirely different movie if roles had been reversed. Men can openly catcall without being penalized but a woman cannot be afforded the same luxury. That’s why the whole concept of male strippers is more goofy than sexual. A woman treating a man like a piece of meat and actually desiring him? I’m blushing!
All of this being said, there are a lot of things women can get away with that men can’t. We all pay a price for being born with a set of genitalia. Don’t worry, we’re all screwed!!!