Here at the College of William and Mary there are social constructs that even progressives cannot argue our way out of. I am talking in particular about the double standard between male and female sexual behavior. Males get to sow their seeds all they like without any repercussion from females and are met with high-fives from their male friends. Females, on the other hand, are not so lucky; most have to either hide their sexual desires from both potential partners and friends, or come out of the closet as a freaky girl. This is an extremely unfair stereotype, but it exists even on this campus. So how can a girl be both sex-loving and respectable? I personally know very few women who have attained this zen-like balance, but I do know some steps that may help achieve this goal.
Much of the social pressure to act in accordance with sexual norms comes from other females. If one girl steps out of line, her friends will make her aware, and girls who aren’t her friends will gossip about her. Rumors will spread that so-and-so slept with a guy and that she’s such a slut. Ladies, we have to support ourselves: don’t gossip about another girl if you’re out doing the same thing. We should stop judging one another — who a girl decides to sleep with is none of your business. We all love gossip, but hold off on the judgmental comments. How many conversations with your girlfriends have you had where they tell you that so-and-so is such a whore and they can’t believe what she did, when you realize that one of the friends telling you this did the same thing last week? Judgmental gossip helps no one and only serves to perpetuates stereotypes.
Ladies who are in tune with their sexuality and enjoy it should not run from it. If you’re pretending to be a virgin when in actuality you’re not, it will be even easier for people to ridicule you. If you are constantly judging some other girl for her actions but refuse to look in the mirror, you’re making a fool out of yourself and being hypocritical. There is nothing wrong with enjoying sex. It does not make you a slut; you’re a natural human being. The key here is respect. Have respect for yourself by not pretending to be someone else, and demand respect from others. Your friends, as well as your sexual partners, need to respect you as a person. It is very hard to respect a hypocrite, especially one who hides her true personality.
A woman is so much more complex than just her sexuality. We are all active in many things whether politics, education or workers’ rights. A woman should not have to apologize for being innately sexual. True sexual freedom for women is about give and take; if you have respect for yourself and carry yourself, then people will meet you halfway. If you don’t respect yourself first, no one else will either.
__Aishaah Reed is a Flat Hat Sex Columnist. She wants you to find what respect means to you.__