We need to talk about … Double Standards

The news over the last number of weeks has been pretty grim and the general narrative is in no way gender neutral. Women by our very nature are nurturers, we make things better, try to cope and see apparently better at ” coping”. We are expected to be paragons if virtue and keep our knickers on whilst still being expected to give birth and keep everyone happy. It’s a mans world was something my mother regularly said.

She died when I was 21 and really it’s only taken me nearly 20 years to realise that she was right. My dad was a modern man at the time , they both worked , he did his fair share of the housework etc so my perception growing up wasn’t that Mum did everything ..

Let’s start with Ant McPartlins drink driving just weeks after an exit from rehab. Pictures emerged of a man broken desolate and looking rather contrite. Sympathy was rife for the poor victim of alcoholism and his apparent slip off the wagon.

Anybody remember Amy Winehouse being afforded the same sympathy ? No, me either. Labelled a druggie and an alcoholic shambles in every publication was the course of action shown to her. Immense ridicule and it totally overshadowed her brilliance on some level.

And poor Dec being left to do the Saturday night takeaway alone prompted worldwide support. Even old high waisted jeans himself Simon Cowell took to Twitter to offer his support. Outpouring of love for this pro who without his buddy was deemed half a man. Cop on.

Remember when Kurt Cobain died? And left Courtney Love a widow with a small child? The only thing she got really was her face plastered on tabloids and her ability as a mother questioned. Can we see what’s happening here?

Men that don’t want marriage or kids are seen a bachelors wanting a quiet life and no nagging. Women choose it? They are viewed as career women that are selfish and cold. If I were a man there is no way people would question my childless status but because I’m a woman , they do it constantly.

Twitter for me was a bad place after the recent Belfast Rape trial. The lad culture that we have become conditioned to.

This culture isn’t a new phenomenon I’m afraid.At 19 I worked in a bar and on a Sunday night this group of ” lads” came in. It wasn’t their first stop of the day and their order was always the same , Four vodkas , two red bull and two pints of Heineken. One of them in particular used to regularly make remarks sexually at me, and I used to just ignore them. One night though I had enough and said to him ” since you think I want it so much and you’re so proud of it why don’t you take it out!?” Show me this amazing appendage that you want me to experience because I am sick of hearing about it. I said it loud enough for everyone to hear. One of his friends said to me ” fair play you don’t deserve that filth ” and I looked at him fairly murderously and said : ” it’s s pity you didn’t tell him shut up then isn’t it? ” I was a bit mad at myself for allowing the creep to do what he did for months without taking him to task. I was proud that I hadn’t used any sexual words to describe his ” manhood” though because he was so vile I couldn’t be sure he wouldn’t get off on me swearing at him.

I had always refused to wear the women’s TShirt to work , opting instead for a size large in the Male polo shirt . I hid beneath baggy jeans and buffalo trainers. I tried to make myself blend in with the boys. I wanted to do my job and have a good time. There was only one other girl working there. She was as much of a lad as I was. That was 20 years ago now. Time flies but unfortunately the same lad culture still exists.

While nobody can be jailed for a what’s group chat , or ” lad banter ” we need to look quite closely at the type of macho bull that is prevalent among some men these days. The belief that women that find this attitude steeped in misogyny are “feminazis” is completely ludicrous.

Women indulge in sexual talk of course they do, they discuss their sexual lives and partners just as much as men , probably more. But that group chat was discussing a girl leaving a party hysterical and bleeding, and all the while being perceived as a merry go round and a spit roast. I’m not sure how proficient these guys are in bed but generally if a woman is enjoying it she doesn’t leave with a vaginal laceration because vaginas are designed to accommodate sex. When it’s consensual.

Referring to women as sluts isn’t ok. Men are never given this title but apparently ” top shaggers” is how we ought to refer to them. This double standard seems to indicate that women are there for male pleasure. Top tip… women enjoy sex. Women are every bit as sexual as men. Women have needs too. If you are in an intimate situation with a woman you’ll know if she’s enjoying it. Any good lover is attuned to the other regardless of their connection.

Nobody knows what happened apart from the people present and while we may not agree, a verdict has been reached and we must respect it. Not guilty.

The complainants life is changed forever. So are the four men that were found not guilty. All five were given the trial by social media and there is no doubt that there’s a lot more to come out. Statements . Regret. Shoulda, woulda coulda. Too late.

Which brings us to the question of consent. Consent is something we deal with daily .. want a coffee? No thanks, no coffee is presented. Someone looks hungry ? You offer them food , they take it great they don’t no biggie. Sex is the same. You don’t need a questionnaire or disclaimer which has been the suggestion by some. A simple ” do you want to” or ” are you ok with this ” will suffice. The same thing applies whether it’s a one night stand , some al fresco heavy petting or in a long term relationship. People shouldn’t be pressured in to consent. If the urge is really that bad? You can relieve yourself at a later stage. If in doubt don’t whip it out. That’s a mantra right there guys. If it stops at a certain point that’s ok. There’s no obligation.

There are no good rapists or bad rapists, it happens under differing circumstances but… if you don’t get consent you’re no better than someone that sets out to attack or rape someone. There’s no grey area around consent. Educate yourself.

As for the concept of ” buyer remorse ” the next day? That’s a society led thing which has conditioned women to think that they are Harlots for having a one night thing. Before I get abused for this belief , falsely accusing someone is despicable , no doubt. I think anyone that would accuse someone out of regret is wrong on every level. There’s no excuse.

But what about the children? I’m afraid my son will grow up and have too much to drink and get himself in trouble, here’s my advice :

if you would talk to your daughter about safety then talk to your son about consent.

Lastly let’s look at our constitution and the eighth amendment. Having autonomy over your body is a human right. Being able to access modern healthcare in your country where you pay tax is a human right. Men don’t have to travel for healthcare so why should women ? This isn’t about Ireland becoming a nation of murdering lunatics. This is about accessing a service that some people need for a variety of reasons. Morals don’t come into this one. It’s to repeal the 8th. Whether you believe in a virgin birth or you are an atheist your personally held beliefs are not relevant.

Trust me when I say this, the decision to end a pregnancy , viable or not isn’t an easy one. Very often external circumstances make the decision for the person. Nobody wakes up and says ” oh I’ll just casually do this “. For the record I have lost a baby , a baby that would now be almost of school going age. I had to sign the consent forms to bury him or her in an angel plot with other angel babies. My termination wasn’t my decision. I had to have it or I could have died, and all I could think of at the time was ” please don’t make me go to England” . Hysterical , distressed in a maternity hospital with newborns in the corridor. That was my fear, the stigma I might have to go England. My baby was essentially a time bomb in my womb waiting to erupt. For 12 hours that is how it felt while I waited for theatre. Safe in Cork, near my family if anything happened. Recovering , in Cork with my loved ones there for support. Others aren’t that fortunate. Can you see how wrong it is to go through that … and still count your blessings that there were no airports , no taxis to strange places and no hotels. I don’t know of a man that’s ever had to endure such atrocity. They never will. Women are human beings. Living breathing human beings. Let’s start treating them as such.

One thought on “We need to talk about … Double Standards

  1. Deep but great read and also honest to the bone. One could go into deeper detail with all the sexualized songs and videos that are out there on the way to school with your kids in the car, and when they know the lyrics it makes me feel sick.

    How my 12 year old is distraught because she doesn’t have a jaw line like women in magazines. If she is out with me say “food shopping” and tells the girl at checkout how pretty she is, only to receive a weird look, should i tell them my daughter with autism feels so disgusting about herself that they are lucky to get an honest compliment from A child, whom with all the love and support, hates herself so much. Yet she is stunning ,with a beautiful smile an infectious laugh she is so sad inside.
    I can see her being a girl wanting to please boys, but that is another days work with her.

    It’s also a pity that women who like myself can chat to men easily are misinterpreted as flirts or a tease. Grow up guys, I said I’m married, respect it.

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