I was sitting in my family room talking with family and friends after work while home over winter break. Somehow we got on the topic of dating in college; my brother and his friend explained that they felt like it is really hard to find a girl that isn’t slutty and how they have absolutely no interest in dating a girl that has “gotten around.” For years now I have been introduced, again and again to that same feeling that many guys seem to have about dating the easy girl. Even with all the progress women have made in society, the idea of sexual expression and promiscuity is an issue that we are still teaching young boys to see as an unequal right. We teach the young boy that it is okay for him to engage in promiscuous activities with a girl but that coincidentally, that same girl is not worthy of pursuing a meaningful relationship with.
I believe that we are instilling a value in boys and young men that is incredibly juvenile and insulting, but it is even more disappointing when you think about the individuals that are predominantly encouraging this attitude towards dating a slutty girl. I grew up in a household with two parents, two brothers, and a sister. The double-standard of sexual expression is very much supported by the father figure in many households; supports the son in pursuing girls but cringes at the idea of his daughter with a boy. While this double-standard may teach young girls that promiscuity is bad, the father isn’t usually the one that discourages the boy’s relationship with a slutty girl; it is us females and those who become mothers, aunts, and mentors to the male youth that makes men feel like it is acceptable to see a woman as having less worth based on her sex life. We, as women, are active or are likely to become active in reinforcing the idea in the male mind that if a girl doesn’t “respect herself,” why should you respect her?
This issue can be related back to symbolic intereactionis and the idea attached to gender roles. The symbolic interactionism theory suggests the idea that activities and behaviors we engage in are expected to match with how our culture view gender. These behaviors are accompanied by societal values and help shape how we view ourselves and the different genders as a whole. Our culture has influenced society to believe that men can act in sexually promiscuous ways but that it is not respectable when a woman does the same thing. Men are fine with having sex with a willing woman but when it comes to relationships, they value the expected feminine behavior; one that is pure and innocent.
I believe that teaching the male population that a slutty girl is worth less is wrong. Women are expected to behave in such a way that has literally shaped the way men see worth. I believe women need to be aware of how they are reinforcing this attitude attributed towards female promiscuity. I know that I am worthy of a meaningful and loving relationship regardless of my sexual behaviors, and I would like to believe that men would feel that too.