Cultural norms come with double standard

Jordan Larimore

Jordan Larimore

An interesting conversation took place between a Webster Hall colleague and myself this week.

This colleague found a flier for an upcoming Missouri Southern theatre presentation of “The Vagina Monologues.”

The flier’s design uses a drawing of a woman’s body with a heart-shape sort of covering but sort of emphasizing her, well, vagina.

The issue isn’t the suggestive nature of the flier. The issue isn’t with the play; I honestly have never seen it and don’t plan to.

The issue is the double standard that is this country’s gender relationship attitude. This colleague told me of a problem he had with a former Dean at Missouri Southern when she noticed he sometimes drove a motorcycle to campus. She asked him to take her for a ride on his bike several times. As a married man, he declined for fear of the way such a thing would make him look. Eventually, he said he perceived her requests as unwelcome sexual advances.

Now, I’m sure a large number of people think of me as a sexist pig already, but level with me here.

I don’t ignore the issue of domestic violence or anything else rational feminism addresses.

I’m not naïve enough to think that women’s rights aren’t still an issue.

Nor am I naïve enough to think they’re the only issue.

From what I can tell, “The Vagina Monologues” is all about embracing one’s womanhood. I’m all for it. Be who you are and love yourself for it.

The question is where to draw the line. Isn’t having an actor graphically depict having an orgasm on stage a bit excessive? Is it really necessary? I have the honor of knowing some of the greatest women on this planet and feel pretty confident in saying the majority of them would be embarrassed, not empowered, by such a childish showing.

This kind of thing undermines what feminism should actually be. It erodes credibility for shock value.

Imagine the outcry over a new theatrical act titled “The Penis Monologues.”

Don’t even try to tell me the same issues women face don’t apply to men.

Such is the double standard of our day. But it’s not just a gender issue.

On this very campus, we see it every day.

Students form groups based on all the things for which no one wants to be discriminated against: race, age, political affiliation.

Did you know we have a Saudi Student Club? What about the Asian Club? We even have a club for non-trads.

Again, imagine if tomorrow, some poor soul tried to walk into the campus activities office and register the Caucasian Alliance or something like that.

Where does it stop being about celebrating one’s culture and embracing self-worth and start being about furthering stereotypes and alienating individuals?

In the dictionary, feminism is a belief in gender equality and an equal appreciation for both sexes.

Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but my parents taught me to believe that was simply the definition of a good, respectful person.