When the rules are different for different groups of people just because of some feeling of the group making the rules.

For example, movies that discuss the sexuality of teenage boys can do all sorts of bad jokes and sexual references and only get an R rating. But when it's girls in a movie doing that same type of behavior, the movie gets a NC-17.

A double standard is when a girl's virginity becomes like a seal of freshness on a jar of pickles whilst a man's virginity is never an issue.

A double standard is being able to make male-bashing jokes in mixed company without consequence.

A double standard is: Do as I tell you, not as I do!

"...And howcome when a man stands up while peeing it's normal, but when a woman does it it's weird?"
--South Park

When it comes to feminism I often see the term 'double-standard' being used to dismiss an issue that goes beyond equality. I'm all for treating women equally, but we have evolved in such a fashion that Women are very, very different from men.

The best example I can think of is that of adultery. Is it a double-standard that an adulterous man, while still given a hard time about it, gets off lighter than an adulterous woman? I'd have to say no, despite being raised in middle-class, white society where we are taught everybody everywhere is absolutely equal (unless they're fat, in which case they're weak willed). If you're a feminist (which I would hope most people are, men included) you might be offended by this, so I should explain myself.

When a man cheats on a woman he is expressing his desire for variety. He is showing that he still has a libido. A man fucks another woman because they are another woman, not because there's anything particularly special about them.

When a woman cheats on a man it's because she is unsatisfied, or sees the other man as a better specimen. Generally speaking a woman does not cheat on someone when she is satisfied and a woman does not cheat on someone if she perceives them as superior than the man she is considering cheating with.

One needs look no further than evolution to see why a woman's adultery is so insulting to a man. A man benefits genetically from adultery because back before we had contraception being adulterous meant spreading your seed. A woman, on the other hand, benefits from adultery because she upgrades from her partner. A man is simply putting his seed wherever he can whereas a woman is looking for the perfect seed to be implanted with.

In essence, when a man cheats on a woman the best thing he is able to say (while still being honest) is "I love you more than these women, but am weak-willed" when a woman cheats on a man the best thing she is able to honestly say is "I love you. But not as much as I love Edwardo, our pool cleaner."

Then again I could be absolutely wrong, it wouldn't be the first time.
I think I should also add that a double-standard is not necessarily a bad thing. I think there's a tendency to interpret 'double-standard' as meaning 'two groups of people are treated differently because of irrelevant things'. This is the case some of the time, but I think you'll find there are quite a few double-standards you wouldn't want to get rid of, for example, the way we allow soldiers to drive tanks but not civilians.

'Do as I say, not as I do' is a good example of a positive double-standard, especially when talking about addictive substances. It may seem hypocritical to have a smoker tell you not to smoke, but what needs to be understood is that the cause of the addiction is the same as the effect: Smoking, the cause, a one time thing the smoker regrets, is what the smoker is speaking out against; not the effect which just happens to be continued smoking.

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