The Sexual Objectification Double Standard

by Lucas Witherspoon


As I’ve always understood it, it’s sort of an unspoken rule that heterosexual men who are very clearly straight are off limits. While I find human sexuality to be more fluid than most, in the same way that I and most gay men would find it extremely off-putting if a girl were trying to get in our pants, so do straight men when they’re being hit on by a gay guy. The only difference is that hitting on a straight guy could potentially lead to being punched in the face. What’s ironic about this straight abjection towards gay sexual attention, though, is that it highlights a glaring double standard. Apparently it’s fine for straight men to blatantly treat women as sexual objects, but when it comes to being treated as unwanted sexual objects themselves, sexual objectification is suddenly verboten.

In case you haven’t been alive for, oh, I don’t know, any given time throughout history since the beginning of humanity, most societies,¬†generally speaking, have been patriarchal for any variety of reasons. One would think that in the tens of thousands of millennia we’ve had to evolve as Homo sapiens, we’d have been enlightened to the concept of equality of the sexes–and, to be fair, certain cultures have regarded women as equals, if not in a higher regard than their male counterparts–but for a multitude of superficial reasons, females have by and large remained a repressed group. That misogyny is obviously still very much alive today and it rears itself at no more direct a level than in the way that sexism presents itself on a daily basis.

I’m not going to lecture on the objectification of women in media because it should be obvious, given I could flip on my television and in the next three minutes point out examples of it; it goes without saying that present-day sexism does happen and that it’s overwhelmingly subconscious. Most of us have at least been out at a bar or club and witnessed the stereotype: a typical bro with far too much alcohol-induced self-confidence shamelessly hitting on girls and taking the liberty of dry-humping them on the dance floor with a flagrant disregard for the concept of personal space. To most, both males and females, that’s considered “typical” guy behavior, but their seemingly insignificant actions speak to the much large issue of female objectification.

When a gay guy finds another man attractive, it’s part of our make-up. Inherently, we’re just attracted to other men, which means that inevitably we’re going to find straight guys hot. The difference is a majority of us have the self-control that straight men also possess (but apparently don’t use), only we’re not pressured into having to prove our masculinity by being overtly sexual to the point where it becomes intrusive. That’s called respect, and it’ll get you much further than forcefulness. But, since there is seemingly no respect for sexual boundaries among most straight men when it comes to their pursuit of women, why should their sexual boundaries be respected? It’s just another example of societal pandering meant to protect the delicate, straight male ego.

The sad thing is that a lot of the men I’m talking about won’t even understand the opposing perspective, because their misogyny is so heavily ingrained it’s left them ignorant to their own plight. For legality’s sake, I should make it clear I’m not suggesting you freely make sexual advances towards straight guys; however, what I am saying is that until straight guys stop rampantly sexually objectifying women, they shouldn’t rightfully feel uncomfortable when gay guys (or anyone else for that matter) sexualize them.