Sexist stigmas need to end

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Our society is still full of double-standards and harmful stigmas. Unfortunately, our society shames women for expressing their sexuality.

Last month, everyone was talking about Miley Cyrus’ performance at the VMAs. Most of the comments I saw complained about her skimpy outfit or criticized the fact that she was grinding on Robin Thicke, who is a married man.

However, I saw virtually no comments that scolded Thicke for allowing Cyrus to grind on him.

This situation is a perfect example of a troubling double standard: while a man’s sexuality is treated with a “boys will be boys” attitude, a woman is shamed for showing any kind of sexual independence.

In our culture, a man’s sexuality is fully accepted. It’s viewed as natural and something that should be explored. There is even a stigma associated with being a virgin male. Thicke escaped most of the scrutiny because of these expectations.

On the other hand, a woman’s sexuality is taken with a grain of salt. If a woman expresses her sexuality in any way, she’s categorized as desperate or dirty. This is why Cyrus received most of the criticism.

Now let’s take a step back. A sexualized performance is nothing new, and is usually expected on an MTV broadcast. In fact, the sexualization of women is a common occurrence in our culture. Too many advertisements use scantily clad women to sell their products. In most of the ads, the woman is there as a sexual object to entice the buyer.

This gross objectification is just wrong.

Women are not merely sexual objects and neither is a woman’s worth tied to her sexuality. She doesn’t miraculously lose IQ points for having sex, and neither does she gain them by abstaining.

Women are also pulled in several directions by the expectations of the dating game.

The “friend zone” is a prime example. If a woman doesn’t seem immediately interested in a guy, she has supposedly put him in the “friend zone.” Basically, the man shouldn’t ever expect any kind of romantic or sexual relationship with her.

Not only is this entire principle ridiculous, it is in complete contrast to the stigma associated with female sexuality. On the one hand, a woman is not supposed to express her sexual interest in any way, and on the other, if she doesn’t immediately express her interest in someone pursuing her, then she never will be interested in that person.

All of these expectations are unrealistic and harmful, to both men and women.

Every single person has different thoughts and concerns about their own sexuality, and should be able to express it however they feel comfortable.

A woman should be able to have all the safe and consensual sex she wants without being looked down upon. And a man shouldn’t be pressured into sex just to lose his v-card.

Sexuality should be something that can be kept close or freely expressed, with no
stigmas attached.

Aguirre is a sophomore majoring in journalism and political science.

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