Sunday, January 24, 2010

Boo Hiss: Scott Brown

The election of Republican Scott Brown to the Massachusetts senator position has brought up a lot of political controversy, including reviving a discussion of the double standards for men and women in politics.
Scott Brown posed nude for Cosmo in 1982, and went on to have a successful career like any other politician. However, had a woman posed for a men's magazine nude (or even scantily clad), and gone on to try to have a career similar to Brown's (in politics, under public scrutiny, in the public eye), she would have had a much harder time getting elected to anything, because the opposition would have plastered her naked image across the news and said something to the effect of, "Candidate X is a slut. Don't vote for a slut."

Read the NY Daily News article about this here.

Women (AND MEN) have got to confront the sexual double standards that are harming society. Just because a woman poses nude does not mean that she is a slut, although society is likely to label her as thus. She is much more likely to be treated as a sexual object than a man who does the same thing. I don't think there's anything wrong with Scott Brown posing nude in 1982. What is wrong, is that his treatment as a man is unequal to women who do the same thing. Women are taught to be threatened by the sexual value of other women, and then will tear other women down when they act "promiscuously" (which can be a a wide range of behaviors.) As women, we need to stop holding the sexual double standards to ourselves. Why are men allowed to have all the fun?

The book Slut: Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation by Leora Tanenbaum lists positive and negative expressions for sexually active men and women.
There are 12 positive expressions listed for men, and 2 for women ("hot" and "sexy.")
There are 3 negative expressions listed for men, and 28 listed for women (which, for the most part, do not include most of the current slang adjectives for women that I've heard). Why is female sexuality so threatening? Is it actually a threat, or only because it can be used as control over women?

What do you think?

(I recommend Slut to anyone who has ever used or been called the word "slut." It's an interesting commentary on American culture, especially on how girls treat one another.)

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