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February 23, 1998 e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


This week, Breakup Girl goes ballistic over:
Double Standards

There are some situations in which Breakup Girl sticks firmly to her double standards.

  • Good music. I conveniently forget that the Godfather of Soul is the Mother of all Wife-Beaters.
  • Yum! I turn up my nose at milk-fed veal, but my bare hands have gleefully brought death and dismemberment to countless Maine lobsters.
  • Statements, fashion and otherwise. War is bad, but my 82nd Airborne-surplus Corcoran paratrooper boots are good.

Basically, double standards occur when someone adheres both to a principle and also to a big fat self-serving exception to that principle. And usually, the big fat self-serving exception means that someone (wives, lobsters, civilians) gets dealt a lousy hand. That's how BG describes it, but just to make this official, let's have a look at the definition of double standard in Breakup Girl's American Heritage Dictionary (a high school graduation gift from an ex-boyfriend, who like all of her high school boyfriends, is now married with child. See also "harsh."):

"double standard, n. A set of principles permitting greater opportunity or liberty to one than to another, esp. the granting of greater sexual freedom to men than to women."

Aha. So Breakup Girl has backup when she says: Guys. Cut it out. All of you.

Boys/men: No fair expecting girls/women not to do or have done anything you would do or have done. (Also see "madonna/whore complex" in my last column.)

Girls/women: No fair letting boys/men treat you like milk-fed veal.

Breakup Girl is about to go After-School Special on you, but listen up: respect each other's -- and your own -- actions, choices, and dumb mistakes. If you feel like someone is doing something mean and lousy to you, get up offa that thing and call them on it. If you feel like someone is getting away with some bad behavior by flashing some fake "that's how men/women are supposed to be" license, call them on it. Realize that in relationships, these boy/girl double standards are, deep down, all about (more After-School Special words) insecurity and self-esteem. As in, "If she looks at another guy, she might not like me!" As in "If I call him on his double standards, he might not like me!" (Or, worse, "Wow, he won't let me look at another guy -- he must really like me!)

So, basically, Breakup Girl is allowed to have double standards, and you're not.

Here are some of the letters that precipitated this rant...



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