Are There 'Double Standards' Between Men And Women?

Yesterday, the Today show had a segment about eating disorders. It was mentioned that Lady Gaga recently gained 25 pounds. She's not 'fat' at all-in fact, she looks pretty good. She's a very petite woman, and the extra weight gives her a nice filled-out appearance. Even so, that got me thinking about some of the double standards society has about men and women.

One such standard is weight. The very fact that Lady Gaga's weight gain was even mentioned shows a double standard. Also, think of ladies like Kirstie Alley, Mariah Carey and Carrie Fisher-all very beautiful women but, when they gained weight, people saw them differently. If you've looked at magazines in the checkout line lately, you'll see what I mean. Granted, some of those magazines aren't exactly known for the truth, but I have to ask-would the weight gain have been mentioned (or even noticed) had they been men? I don't think so. Also, I read somewhere that the average female dating-reality-show contestant is a size 2, while the average woman in the US is a size 12. That's my size. Personally I think the dating shows are stupid and are on their way out, but my point is that women are under a lot of pressure to be thin. More so than men, that is.

It's not just in the entertainment industry, either. Have you ever noticed how nearly all the clothes in 'fashionable' shops in the mall are for thin women? The strange thing is, most of the men I've known don't expect us to be that thin. In fact, some probably say that Lady Gaga looks better with the extra weight! They like that we have curves, so we should too!

Things have gotten better, in that way, though. Consider People Magazine's “Sexiest Man Alive” issue and the show Grey's Anatomy. There is quite a bit of male eye candy there! House is only seen in reruns now, but there are also several men on that show that add to the show's (enormous) appeal. Also, stores like Lane Bryant and Avenue have come out with clothes that make plus-size women look beautiful while still showing their curves. I guess the standard is getting less 'double' as time goes on.

On a related note, it can be said that women have more pressure to look good than men do. Another way to say it is that we're valued more for our looks than men are. For instance, do we ever hear about a man getting a makeover? Not that makeovers are bad; they can actually be a great way to spend a 'day with the girls', especially if it doesn't cost too much. Also, it can be fun to see what celebrities do so that we can do the same.

It can be said, however, that focusing so much on a woman's looks makes her less likely to be taken seriously. A male friend of mine once pointed out how movies such as Miss Congeniality make it seem as though a woman isn't 'whole' or whatever until she gets a huge makeover and is noticed by other women. If you've never seen the movie, Sandra Bullock plays an FBI agent who goes undercover at a beauty pageant to prevent a possible bombing. She isn't really taken seriously until she gets the makeover, comes into her own and commands everyone's respect. He thought it was disrespectful and, while I appreciate the movie for other reasons, I can see his point. We never see movies like that about men. If a 'male makeover' is mentioned, it's in the 'background'; with women, it's in the forefront. I have, however, known men who were 'picked on' for trying to lose weight or getting manicures. I guess this double-standard is changing too.

What do you think? Do you think that women are under more pressure to be thin and pretty than men? If so, does it bother you? Do you think the tide is changing in that regard? I'd love to hear from you!

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