Everyday Misogyny: Double Standards, Female Sexuality and the Like

by April S. Kelley

I am not the most likable person. I never have been, and I know that I never will be. I am O.K. with this.

I am a bisexual, atheist, science proponent, pro-choice, liberal feminist with an almost useless liberal arts degree – if you’re into labels. Oh, and I also have Borderline Personality Disorder with a side of Panic Disorder. I’m a gem, I tell ya.

These things don’t go over well with many groups of people, especially in the South, where I’m from and where I’m currently hunkered down.

Recently, I was unfriended by someone on Facebook. I know, I know, not usually a big deal. But in this case, it was someone who is supposed to be family or future family. I’m not entirely sure of the correct terminology here, but I digress. This person, let’s call him Mr. Ashley Madison, and his actions matter because it could have a direct effect on my very important, personal relationships.

So, why the unfriend? I, too, was perplexed, as the only interactions we have had in the time that I have known him have been nothing but respectful and kind. I was even told he liked me a great deal.

I was completely shook and confused by it. Had I done something I had forgotten about? Did our differences in religious and political views finally bring him to a breaking point, where he just couldn’t take another post that offered views different from his own?

We never spoke or argued over our views on social media or in person, because I know that’s pointless. I wouldn’t be able to change his mind about anything anymore than he could change mine. And I didn’t want to. He is completely entitled to his beliefs and opinions, as am I.

As it turns out, none of the things that I thought could be the reason for the abrupt unfriending were what put the final nail in the coffin of our online friendship, which in this case does translate into the real world. I will be spending time with Mr. Madison on the regular for the foreseeable future. Lucky me.

The real reason – memes about female sexuality.

I post memes more than most things, and at some point or another I posted two memes related to female sexuality – one regarding ‘thinking about dick’ and the other something about masturbation.

This proved to be all too much for Mr. Madison, so the inevitable ‘unfriend’ button was pushed.

“An honest, yet funny portrayal of female sexuality! God forbid!” said Mr. Madison, probably [not an actual quote].

Did my feminist panties get into a bundle upon learning this? Well, no, because I wasn’t wearing any. But yes, I was quite upset.

Why? Mr. Ashley Madison, as I’m referring to him, has been given that name for reasons I should not have to explain.

I was most definitely upset about this double standard. Open, honest female sexuality is too much for someone who was registered on the most famous website for adultery in recent history. Someone’s moral compass is fucked, and this time, I don’t think it’s mine.

Ah, well, what can you do?

I can write this piece, to make myself feel better about living in a society where it’s totally acceptable for men to be openly sexual and for women to be condemned for it. I can go to dinners and holiday events and be the bigger person. I can pretend that it doesn’t matter, though it does. I can sit there wearing my Scarlet Letter, while eyeing down the patriarchy in real time.