Men and women differ in many ways, but in my opinion, women often receive a backlash when they attempt to step out of the confines of what society considers being a “Lady.” There are many societal expectations that can make women feel trapped. For example, ladies are kind, non-competitive, dressed conservatively, should not be assertive or use profanity. The societal expectations of women can become overwhelming. There are many perceived descriptions of what constitutes “being a lady” or what constitutes “lady like behavior.” My initial thought is, who developed all of these rules and why are women expected to adhere to them? For a frame of reference, what might be the typical reaction to a female who states that she is dating multiple men, because she is exploring her options? Would there possibly be a different reaction if a male made the same statement?
Why is it that a man who cheats is just being a man? In fact, men often brag about having an intimate relationship with numerous women. However, a woman in that same scenario will likely be called trash and other derogatory names. What is most interesting about the double standard is that there are many women who feel alienated or have lost hope, because they ultimately decided to live beyond the parameters that society has placed on women. Have you ever done anything that might be considered the exact opposite of “lady like behavior?” Do you support the double standard? As a woman, I am willing to step outside of the confines of the “typical lady.” I am not condoning cheating and I am certainly not condoning promiscuity. However, I do support equality. I believe that we should hold both men and women to the same standards. Where do you stand?
Dr. Jessica Houston