Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Double standards.

I'm cutting my writing class today. I've never cut my writing class before, ever, but the teacher is so unbearable, that I just don't think I can go through class today, when I'm as cranky as I am. The submissions for today are also only 4 pages and 8 pages in length, which means that workshopping will go by too fast and then we'll be left with hours of snoredom. Thus playing hooky for a class I paid good money for. [I kind of want my money back.]

Aside from that, I wanted to point out something that really bothers me when I was reading Anna Karenina. The double standard in society, any society, it seems back before women's rights and all.

The novel opens up onto the scene of an adulterous affair revealed. Poor Dolly has been cheated on. She doesn't know what to do. The household is a mess. Stiva isn't really sorry he thinks to himself, he's just sorry that he was caught. (Ugh.) Anna comes by and tries to make them make nice. And eventually they do. That simple. Well, no. Because then later Dolly and him fall into disarray again, and she thinks how unbearable it is that he doesn't love her, bla bla bla. It's all a very terrible situation. And the poor woman at the center of it doesn't really have much to do it seems, other than bear it.

Contrast that with Anna's infidelity. When at last her husband finds out, he can carefully consider all the options. Divorce? Separation. A duel? Ultimately he decides to stay with her. Why? To punish her! He wants to prevent her from going back to Vronsky and being happy! (I haven't read beyond this point yet so I don't know how that goes over, but given that there's 500 more pages, I wouldn't imagine too well.)

It bothers me to no end that this is consistent through many cultures - men cheat, and it's okay. Women can't say/do much (although at least here, Dolly is allowed to even give him the silent treatment and be upset). Women cheat, and they get punished. Even now we have the player vs. slut prototypes. A guy who sleeps around is almost normal while a girl who does is pretty much a whore. This world has been a man's world for too long, and the injustice of it makes me mad.

2 drops:

moonrat said...

Not that I endorse this view or support it in any way, but the rally monkey has a theory about cheating:

"Men cheat with their bodies. Women cheat with their hearts."

To expound: for men, the act of cheating is simple and biological. They are driven by a desire to sleep with as many women as possible (I can concede this may in fact be evolutionary) and some men choose not to reign in those base desires aggressively enough. But the act of cheating doesn't necessarily spell emotional disasters in their legitimate relationships (unless they're caught, in which case there is usually some fair level of discomfort). Men can be emotionally faithful and cheat but come back and still love their good woman.

Women, on the other hand, are not as driven to cheat biologically. Therefore, if a woman makes the decision to cheat, it's for a much more deeply seeded reason--emotional fulfillment, revenge, bitterness, dissatisfaction, etc. Therefore a woman's infidelity is a symptom of a grotesquely flawed relationship (one that perhaps can't be resucitated or returned to). Also, for women, cheating doesn't even have to involve sex--it can be something like (to steal the rally monkey's example) going to a cheese shop with a secret crush.

Like I said, I don't express an opinion about these thoughts. I find them rather inflammatory regardless of my mood and whether or not I'm inclined to agree with parts of them. I just thought they would be useful to post here.

angelle said...

Sad. I still maintain though that any form of cheating is a sign of a bigger relationship problem. Sex doesn't "just happen". Someone makes that conscious decision. It takes effort! Some guys have no self-control, I believe that, but I also believe that if they really loved a woman and felt that it would make her upset, they could stop themselves. I do agree with the fact that women cheating may be of more an emotional nature, though I'm sure some women do it for kicks too. But again. A sign that something worse is wrong. And what, going to the cheese shop is cheating? Shit! Just kidding.

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