A Double Standard

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SEXUAL DOUBLE STANDARD
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Society is known to treat men and women differently despite the equality that is supposed to exist between the sexes. While sexism and gender sensitivity was at its worst during the early eras, it still exists nowadays because of what is known as the double standard mentality. In the poem ‘Double Standard’ Harper presents various examples of this double standard mentality that exists in the late 1800’s. The poem focuses on sexual double standard which is more appropriately considered the battle between the sexes nowadays and it presents this sexual double standard in three main lights, these being sexual double standard in social, cultural, personal, and public perception which represent the gravity of the matter in America circa 1895. This almost comprehensive idea of sexual double standard presented in this particular poem is quite disconcerting because it seems that in the poem, the female speaker is on the losing side having only Divine judgment as her only source of comfort.

The first interpretation of sexual double standard in the poem comes as the difference in social perception of the male and the female which the poet tackles in the poem by presenting situations where she is still the culprit even when it is obvious to society that the one at fault is the male. “We still live in a society that promotes the notion that it is normal for a man to desire many women and yet normal for a woman to desire only one man. Our beliefs about male and female behavior may have been helpful in the past, but today they are doing much more harm than good. “ (Langley) Noticeably, in relation to this particular aspect of sexual double standard, one sees how the speaker in the poem paints a grim picture of how society seems to accept the mistakes of the male gender as being normal and understandable while ignoring the fact that there is a victim in the situation, this being the female speaker. This is a clear manifestation of the double...
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