A Double Standard

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Society is known to treat men and women differently despite the equality that is supposed to exist between the sexes. While sexism and gender sensitivity was at its worst during the early eras, it still exists nowadays because of what is known as the double standard mentality. In the poem ‘Double Standard’ Harper presents various examples of this double standard mentality that exists in the late 1800’s. The poem focuses on sexual double standard which is more appropriately considered the battle between the sexes nowadays and it presents this sexual double standard in three main lights, these being sexual double standard in social, cultural, personal, and public perception which represent the gravity of the
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Of course, in the poem, this particular aspect of sexual double standard is expressed in how the speaker suggests another aspect of infidelity, where in the man’s preoccupation with the mistress, who is most likely the speaker in the poem results to his fiancé or ‘would-be –wife’ being snatched away from him by another man. The lines, “Would you blame him, when you draw from me / Your dainty robes aside, / If he with gilded baits should claim / Your fairest as his bride?” (17-20) express a verbal irony where the speaker questions her role in the misfortune of the man when in fact it is the man who has brought this upon himself, but even so, because of the sexual double standard that exists, the man views the speaker as the cause of this misfortune. This presumption is made out of the cultural typecast that paints the woman as a temptress and as someone, who, if not for her submission, would not be in the situation she is in.

 The next aspect of sexual double standard illustrated in the poem is that which is related to public or civic perception. This is often a situation where the

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