Teenagers and Double Standards

I know it’s been said before but, as a teenage girl with friends of both genders, double standards are a massive issue for me. It’s come to a head recently, because of two entirely unrelated events.

Exhibit A – Female Friend, post feminist with spells of Female Chauvinist Pig.

Female Friend recently broke up with Older Boyfriend after a long term relationship (for a 16 year old). She was recently reintroduced to a long lost childhood friend, and she’s In Love. It’s great, she’s happy and the feeling seems to be mutual.

So what’s the problem?

Well, there’s been uproar among the other girls in my year. It’s too soon after her last breakup, she broke Older Boyfriend’s heart – she didn’t, it ended amicably and they’d been on/off for a while – she’s “too sexual” for a teenager. Basically, she gives in to her hormones in a way that (apparently) only boys can do. She is most definitely not a slut; she’s a monogamist, waiting for the One, and fairly outspoken about her love for her celibacy.

Exhibit B – Male Friend, also has spells of Chauvinism.

Male friend has an alarming tendency to meet the Love Of His Life every few weeks. Then, he flirts incessantly with everything with long hair and a push up bra. Then, he ditches the Love Of His Life and finds a new one. Most recently, his Soul Mate began to bore him after four days. A week later and the Real One For Him appeared, and for now it’s going steady.

A few nights ago, Male Friend used Facebook Chat (home of deep, meaningful, soul searching conversation :P) to share with me his worries about Current Girlfriend. Apparently, he’s scared that because he can’t see her every day she’ll ditch him for someone more attractive/taller/older.

Wait a minute, I thought, casting my mind back to a little gathering at the home of Another Male Friend that took place a few weeks ago. Didn’t Male Friend meet Random Girl and FLIRT? Surely not? But he did.

I’ve known Male Friend for five years now. He’s a couple of years older than me, and I’ve watched him go through puberty. Basically, we’re close. But, based on the reaction to Female Friend’s behaviour, if he was a girl he would be a slut. So why do I seem to be the only one who’s worried?

He gets away with it but she suffers at the hands of her friends for something that she didn’t do? Surely that’s not right. He’s “just being friendly.” He “was drunk.” Whatever the excuse, it’s not his fault. It’s ridiculous. I feel like I should try and do something, but I don’t know what. How come it’s socially acceptable for a boy to do this, but not a girl? It’s been on my mind for a while now, and maybe it’s none of my business. What’s it going to take to finally sort out such ridiculous ideas of what is and isn’t morally acceptable based on one's gender?

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Alice P
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