The Good Ol’ Fashioned Double Standard

Ok Girlfriends. We’re gettin’ down, dirty and honest today. We’re taking an old topic and breathing new life into it, cuz the double standard still exists in full force in many households today. I know it’s alive and well in mine.

Warning: Today could turn into a bit of a kvetch-a-thon. I’m not sure yet.

So now, let’s look at the definition of “The Double Standard.”

double standard

–noun 1. any code or set of principles containing different provisions for one group of people than for another, esp. an unwritten code of sexual behavior permitting men more freedom than women

The Good Ol' Fashioned Double Standard

Now before I get to MY OWN version of the double standard, I want to present the man’s side today as well. Since this topic is a lot about the battle of the sexes, I want to keep us open minded and present one man’s point of view.  Now don’t come find me and kill me, I think he has a point. HOWEVER, my point is better! 😉 Let’s keep in mind, he is also referring to a “stay-at-home” wife.

“There are a ton of double standards between men and women.  Since I am a man, I of course will take the man’s point of view on this issue.  I especially notice this double standard between married couples.  Since I am a married person I believe I have the authority to speak on the subject.  I am going to make every attempt to keep this conversation PG but there are also some R rated subjects that come to mind in this area.

Double Standard #1 – Wife is too tired for sex because she had a rough day.  Husband gets in trouble when he is too tired for sex because he had a rough day. Why should the women be allowed to use sex as a tool for power and not the man?  We all have rough days and husbands get turned down all the time and it is considered acceptable.  However the one time the wife gets turned down all hell has to break loose.

Double Standard #2 – Husband has to come home early from work so Wife can go out with the girls. However when the husband wants to go out with his friends he gets the usual “You need to spend more time with your family” routine, even though the wife may go out 10 times to the husband’s 1 time.  What does the stay-at-home mom think we are doing at work? Playing with our friends and going out and partying or something?  No, we are trying just to make enough money to pay for the foods that make you gain weight and the roof over your head so you do not sleep in the streets somewhere.

Double Standard #3 – Housework. Why does the wife complain that we do not help enough with the housework?  They are at home and we are at work.  We already have to deal with the home finances and paying all the bills, we have to deal with yard work and car maintenance too?  We leave the home at 6 and do not get home until 8.  Yet if the wife just spent 20 minutes a day cleaning one part of the house, the home would always be organized.  If you would just cut out your 2 hours on the Internet and 2 hours watching Oprah and Ellen and 2 hours on the phone everyday maybe things would get done.  No, instead the husband has to spend his weekend cleaning while the wife just complains that we do not do enough.” (

Ouch. Okay, before you kill me for taking his side, I’m not. And this is just one man’s perspective, although I’m sure it’s representational  of many men. But there are issues for most women on the double standard. We are asked to be nurturing of our partners and supportive of our partners. We are brought up and taught to be doting, serving, and compliant. But where do our needs come in? I think that double standard still exists.

The Good Ol' Fashioned Double Standard

I know many career women, (in some cases even earning more money than their husbands), who are still doing the cooking, picking up the dry cleaning, doing carpool, cleaning the house, organizing playdates, while the husband comes home and gets to “decompress” after a long day with little to no added responsibilities other than financial. How is this fair for that woman? This is where I think the double standard largely needs to be revisited. In my opinion, working women contributing to the family income should get MUCH SUPPORT from their spouses. Period. He should be pickin’ up the slack as well.

Now this is where I personally sit on the fence. My husband is the breadwinner in my house. He is out hunting all day for this family.  So when he comes home, I attend to his needs. And when he leaves his shoes thrown in the entrance-way, I put them neatly away. When he leaves his underwear on the bathroom floor (EVERY MORNING), I walk it over to the laundry basket. When he doesn’t change the last roll of toilet paper, and leaves the paper threads hanging, I am the one walking down the hall with pee dripping on the carpet to fetch a new roll. And this all works, because he’s a kind and wonderful soul. But after a while, I FRIKKIN LOSE IT. And all hell breaks loose! Where I sit on the fence with this double standard is: Who’s cutting me some slack for my efforts as a mom, wife, writer, friend, volunteer?  My husband loves me with every breath of his being, but sometimes a genuine thank you for juggling all that I do would be a kind gesture, right? Oh I’m getting a dozen roses tonight, you know it! But seriously, I wrestle when I need to nurture him after a long day, and when I need to speak up about my own needs. I think it’s complex for many couples.

The Good Ol' Fashioned Double Standard

So, today I’m not providing the answers. Today I want YOUR ANSWERS. Today I’m looking to you for your advice and opinion on the double standard. Where must our partner’s needs end and ours begin? When do we nurture and when do we ask to be nurtured? Why does the double standard still exist? It’s a fine balance. Please share your thoughts with our community.

Have a beautiful weekend,


  1. This is a very complex topic and I often wonder the same thing about my own needs and wants. Marriage is tricky and I think it takes both parties to be equally GIVING for it to work harmoniously. I did love the toilet paper picture. Great shot.

  2. Ed,
    Here is what I have learned….I have been married 6 years going on 7 by January 24, 2011. The best way to deal with double standard stuff is to remember what it is your spouse wants and likes. If she tells you up front your a lucky man but some times we woman like for our spouses to notice the things we want…..that’s where the double standard exist….Yes my husband loves going to the bar to have a drink and watch the game with his buddies….And as usual, that peeves me because yes I want him to be home…..My husband got smart, he does things for me that I want done or just because presents to butter me up. Then at the last minute he will mention….Oh yeah Babe, I’m going out tonight or I’ve got to get somethings done. Soooo I have to take the good with the bad. My husband can drive me insane with the way he does things but when he completely surprises me it alleviates the irritation. I’ve tried to learn from what he does so that when I want to do something or need to go out I don’t irritate him.

  3. I’m wondering… of all you moms out there, how many of you use the same “double standards” on your children – boys vs. girls? Growing up with 3 brothers, I can assure you that it starts at a very young age. No wonder they need to be “trained” otherwise once they’re married.

    1. I enjoyed reading this and connected with almost everything you said. Yes it is one fine balance to make it all work and keep both parties happy and thriving. I’ve been married for 17 years now and we make it work thankfully but not without the days where I want to kill him sometimes!

  4. My friend just sent me the lyrics to John Mayer’s song daughters she sAid to “sum up” today’s post.

    Boys will be strong
    And boys soldier on
    But boys would be gone without warmth from
    A woman’s good, good heart

    What do you think?

  5. I can so relate to this post. I dote on my husband and the after a while I’m like a time bomb about to go off. What about me??? A thank you, a pat on the back, something! I very much enjoy your blog.

  6. I see double standards in the workplace and in my private life. Do as I say not as I do….the special privileges people think they’re entitled to.
    Privately I’ve seen it in married couples. I know of one in particular who thinks her husband should work, cook and help her clean the house. She is a stay at home mom. When I see her she is always on her phone tweeting..facebooking…..She is always presentable while her children get the least amount of nurturing she can get away with. She expects for people to make a big to do about her birthday but won’t even make a cake for her hubby…She says something to start an argument and gets upset when he doesn’t react the way SHE wants. BTW her husband does come home from work to do all the things she has not.

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