Sunday, 10 August 2014

The Inequality of Equality

Hello all, and welcome back to my little blog.
I took a rather long hiatus from blogging whilst I completed my undergraduate degree, but I'm now an official graduate, so lets reconvene!
Although I started this blog as a way to express my fashion and nail art ideas and creations, over the past 2 years I've done some aging (obviously Alice) and changing, and my interests have changed with me.

Something I have found myself increasingly passionate about now is gender equality and, dare I say it...
Before the eye rolls and sighs come, I feel that I should clarify what I am referring to when I mention feminism. I consider myself a feminist in the sense that I believe that men and women should have equal rights. Yes, in this country all the basics are covered: voting, driving, education, but what about things that many people take for granted? The right to walk down the street without being sexually or verbally harassed, for instance?
In this weeks post I want to address the right to be treated and perceived as equal, and particularly the language that fuels these perceptions. There are many double standards when discussing men and women, and these can go both ways - please do not read this post as coming from a man hater. There are many things that are also unfair and unequal for men, but as I am a woman, I speak from experience.

Urban dictionary definition: being completely controlled by your girlfriend or most cases a guy being completely controlled by his girlfriend.

As defined at Urban Dictionary, whipped refers to a man who is controlled by their girlfriend, and whipped is an inherently negative word. Men do not want to be called whipped, it's a dig between male friends - to be controlled by a woman is perceived to be a very negative thing, with connotations of male weakness (the atrocity!). Even the word 'controlling' used to define whipped has extremely negative connotations for the mentioned female; no woman wants to be referred to as controlling, although so many of us are.
Now let's flip this little concept on it's head. Can women be whipped? Is this word even applied to women? My life experience and time spent browsing Urban Dictionary says no.
If a woman displays the same behaviours described as a whipped male, it is inherently positive. She is considered a catch, a keeper, a good wife/girlfriend. Lets not forget the age old tradition for women to vow to obey their husband should they choose to read traditional wedding vows, but no such vow appearing for the men.
Even in our civilised, Western society, it is still expected that women should be controlled by their male partner (should they have one), but if this happens to occur the opposite way round... Whipped. God forbid a male should treat their girlfriend with the same respect that she is expected to pay him.
I challenge the use of the word whipped and its negative connotations for both men and women. And all you boyfriends that have been referred to as whipped, well done. You are probably treating your partner with the respect they deserve *high five*!