The Stud Versus the Slut: the Sexual Double Standard as Perceived by Western Adolescents

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Dani Santos
COM 2500
Easy A, The Stud Versus The Slut:
The Sexual Double Standard as Perceived by Western Adolescents Easy A is the romantic comedy that finally fits the definition. The dry humor of spunky, independent main character, Olive Prendergast creates a film that is unlike most movies in its genre. The comedic overtone throughout the film nearly blinds viewers from the serious sexual issues that today’s adolescence face that are intertwined from scene to scene (Perry, 2011). The main social issue identified in this film is that of the sexual double standard. Western youth is consumed by a perception of gender roles and addicted to what is acceptable sexually for each female and male. Historical gender rolls, parental guidance, and the media are all leading examples as to how the sexual double standard (SDS) becomes evident in the lives of youth. Further, the negative perception of permissive females, as well as the negative perception of sexually inactive males, affects the social status and peer acceptance of students across the United States. The way sexual behaviors are perceived by gendered peers can be related and analyzed in the movie, Easy A. The scene includes Olive and a gay acquaintance, Brandon, who exit a room after faking a sexual encounter for an audience behind a closed door. From the experience, each character benefits from the sexual double standard as gender norms are bent and sexual expectations are shattered. Literature Review

Numerous studies have been conducted on the sexual double standard as related to adolescence. Understanding how the SDS manifests and is perceived by both men and women is crucial in investigating the artifact. Through literary analysis, peer acceptance and relationships, as well as reasons for consistency in the SDS, will be examined. Typically, social norms tend shift as society evolves. For example, norms such as language, style, and ethics have changed regularly over centuries. While some argue that gender norms in contemporary Western society are currently developing, the SDS is an illustration against such claims. Hundreds of years ago, men were persistent on maximizing their offspring. To do so, they impregnated as many women as possible to amplify probability. Women however, focused on quality as opposed to quantity, searching for a stable mate to assist in raising her child (Ratter & Riccioli, 2009). Evolutionary psychology may allude to the origin of the sexual double standard. This idea is furthered by gender norms that are instilled in children by parents. According to King, children begin recognizing gender roles as early as 14 months old. He says by the age of four, children have generally embraced stereotypical gender, and pressures to fit into traditional gender roles become most prominent around age nine (as cited in Ratter & Riccioli, 2009, p. 2). Therefore, the information and lessons a mother conveys to her child in their ripest age will most likely shape their early views on sexual standards. Research has concluded, that in regards to sexual development, mothers are usually more tolerable of their sons’ exploration then that of their daughters’ (Ratter & Riccioli, 2009). This intolerance of female sexual maturity is one of the first models of sexual bias seen by youth. When mid adolescence is reached, most will engage in sexual intercourse for the first time during a period of gender role intensification. This phase will continue into high school, where peer acceptance will persist in developing the sexual double standard. An adolescent’s number of sexual partners and their acceptance by peers are dramatically related according to a study done by Kaerger and Staff (2009). The study consisted of 5,944 girls and 5,530 boys across the nation, all ranging from seventh to 12 grade and 12 to 20 years old. Results showed that sexually permissive girls who had slept with eight or more partners had not only fewer friendships than those...
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