‘Studs and Sluts: Perceptions of the Sexual Double Standard,’ held in Mesa Court’s Community Center on April 26, focused on the different ways that people are perceived based on their gender.
Last Tuesday’s event, which was part of the Gender Education Series, was a joint effort by the Dean of Students Office, the Cross- Cultural Center, the Counseling Center and Mesa Court Housing.
‘The Office of the Vice Chancellor gave the dean of students money to put on this program,’ explained Laarni Cutidoc, Gender Education Series coordinator. ‘It’s a collaboration with many departments on campus. We created these programs to look at gender from each of these departments perspectives.’
The event began with a definition of what a double standard is. Uyen Bui, a facilitator for the event from the Counseling Center, surveyed the audience for their definitions of what a double standard is before supplying hers: ‘A set of rules, standards, and stereotypes that apply to one group, but don’t necessarily apply to the other group. … An uneven set of standards applied to two different groups.’
A group named Reaffirming Ethnic Awareness and Community Harmony was on hand to set the stage for discussions on the subject with their skits.
Shannon Coskran, a third-year psychology and social behavior major who performed with REACH, said that her organization’s agenda is to educate people on a wide variety of issues.
‘We do everything,’ Coskran said. ‘We do some sexuality as well as race, diversity, gender and class [education]. … We do workshops and have discussions afterwards.’
Entitled ‘Real Talk with Real People,’ REACH’s first skit dealt with how men and women view each other and how both genders are constrained by these views.
The skits were followed by group discussions led by Bui and Drew Adelman, complex coordinator for Mesa Court Housing.
The room was set up without chairs to facilitate movement, and the audience broke up into groups several times to better discuss issues and topics, such as the question of what men and women could and could not do.
The list of what men couldn’t do was exhaustive: talk in the restroom, say another guy is cute, buy tampons.
Not to be outdone, the women came up with their own list: go out at night alone, talk about masturbation, be hairy.
‘Where are we getting these messages?’ Adelman asked. ‘It’s a social construct. You’re learning them from the media, what you see on TV, what you see on Ring Road. These are the lessons you’re learning.’
Jason Fong, a second-year psychology and social behavior major, was present to show his support for bridging the gap between men and women.
‘I wear pink and purple because I like the color,’ Fong said. ‘I’ll wear feminine colors. I’ll cross my legs. I’ll do a lot of things that guys ‘can’t’ do. Is that the only thing that’s going to stop me? Just because it’ll hurt my image?’
REACH’s second act focused on how people can mistake genuine actions as flirtatious advances.
‘Guys always have to make the first move when you’re dating,’ said a male audience member after the skit. ‘Girls misperceive first moves. When he’s genuinely being nice, girls will think there is an ulterior motive.’
A female audience member responded, ‘It’s a communication issue. People don’t say out loud what they mean in conversations. Women need to be asking questions if they want to find out.’
REACH’s final act focused on the stereotypes that men and women hold about each other.
Mesa Court Resident Advisor Jeffrey Chang, a third-year economics major, was present along with residents of his hall.
‘Being the RA of a diversity-awareness hall, I thought it’d be a great opportunity to come with my residents to learn to communicate better about gender stereotypes,’ Chang said.
Third-year English major Lili Kim, a Mesa Court resident advisor and president of Alliance for Sexual Assault Survivors, was also present.
‘[The discussion] confirmed that we’re feeling the same thing,’ Kim said. ‘We all see the stereotypes. We recognize it. Just hearing other people that recognize it and want to do something about it, it’s good to know we’re not alone.’
The next part of the Gender Education Series, entitled ‘Gender and Cultural Differences in Response to Terrorism,’ will take place on May 4 at 3 p.m. in the CCC.
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