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Origin of double standard
Words nearby double standard
What does double standard mean?
Ideally, we should all be judged according to the same criteria. But when someone is treated differently than someone else in the same situation, especially when women are treated differently than men or men are given more freedom than women, we call that a double standard.
How do you pronounce double standard?[ duhb-uhl stan-derd ]
Where does double standard come from?
The expression double standard originally referred to 18th- and 19th-century economic policies of bimetallism. Bimetallism was a monetary system that was based on two metals—a double standard, in its financial “prescribed value” sense, of gold and silver.
The first recorded instance of the idea of a double standard as applying to the realm of morality and ethics was in the late 1800s. By the turn of the 20th century, double standard was used both in dry economic debates and spicier discussions of morality. For instance, the opening address by Yale’s president in 1905 exhorted students to guard against “double standards in college and business life” as good Christians.
The question of double standards as referring to different expectations in behavior for men and women emerged in the 1910–20s. One Christian text from the time snappily put it: “What was right for Jack was wrong for Jill.” The women’s suffrage movement picked up on the moral tone of double standards and used it to fight for their rights.
Around the same time, the idea of double standards as applying specifically to different rules for sexual activity for men and women (i.e., a man’s a stud if he has multiple sexual partners, but when women do, they’re sluts) started gaining wider use. One textbook example, written by a medical doctor in 1915 reads, “the majority of mankind—women included—believes in the justification of the double standard of sex-morality for the two sexes.” The debate about female sexuality in those terms continued in mainstream culture into the 19th and 20th centuries.
By 1930, the expression double standard was used in just about any context to describe two different sets of rules for the same thing. While double standard isn’t a legal term per se, it became increasingly associated with arguing for equal treatment before the court. With the rise of the Civil Rights movement starting in the 1940s, activists frequently complained about the double standards for white and Black people as well as other oppressed minority groups.
The Women’s Liberation Movement from the 1960s thrust the spotlight back on the sexual double standards for men and women—and contributed, no doubt, to the prevalence of double standards in the context of sex and gender.
How is double standard used in real life?
Double standard is often used in the plural, double standards, to refer to the many and various unfair rules or expectations that differ between different groups of people.
As noted, double standard is frequently used in the context of sex and gender. When men are forceful in a debate, they may be called assertive while women are called shrill and bossy and told to smile more—a double standard.
@KerriMPR The amount of times Hillary Clinton has been told to "smile more" proves Hank's point. Unbelievable double-standard.
— Clay Schwartzwalter (@ClaytheSchwartz) September 14, 2016
Double standards also decry a whole range of other injustices. Many people describe, for instance, the different treatment white and Black people get by law enforcement and in the justice system as a double standard. Others describe, when it comes to religious liberties, the different treatment Christians and Muslims get in Western society as a double standard. Yet others think policies like affirmative action are a double standard, showing historically marginalized groups favoritism.
Double standards don’t just refer to big-picture social issues, though. Any unequal application of the rules qualifies, including less consequential ones. A kid complaining their older sibling gets to stay up later than them might whine that it’s a double standard, for example.
More examples of double standard:
“Progressives say you must bake a cake for a gay wedding, but you don’t have to serve Sarah Sanders when she comes to eat in your restaurant. If the Left didn’t have double standards, they would have no standards at all.”
—John Veritas, Rutland Herald, June, 2018
This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.
Example sentences from the Web for double standard
Women’s rights advocates like former NOW president Eleanor Smeal came to conclude that this double standard hurt the cause for gender equality.Men-only Selective Service registration may end soon, but the fight will remain|Heather Stur|April 15, 2021|Washington Post
He maintained none of it broke his own rules about coronavirus precautions, but many Republicans suggested a double standard was at work.
Yes, critics were able to find and point out unacceptable double standards.The Right’s Message to Silicon Valley: 'Free Speech for Me, But Not for Thee'|David French|January 16, 2021|Time
Many in the startup ecosystem blame the media and employees for enforcing this double standard—but the power to uphold or shatter it lies with venture capital investors, especially those who sit on private startups’ boards of directors.Why the power to change the female-founder double standard rests with VCs|Maria Aspan|December 3, 2020|Fortune
That the show catches her in that very double standard itself might well be part of its design.One Good Thing: A Danish drama perfect for political devotees, now on Netflix|Emily VanDerWerff|September 11, 2020|Vox
Using standard methods, the cost of printing DNA could run upwards of a billion dollars or more, depending on the strand.
The same Pediatrics journal notes that 17 states have some form of exception to the standard parental consent requirement.
Christopher Nolan, Interstellar “My films are always held to a weirdly high standard,” Nolan told me.Oscars 2015: The Daily Beast’s Picks, From Scarlett Johansson to ‘Boyhood’|Marlow Stern|January 6, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Completed in 1953 and composed with standard line breaks and punctuation, the book was completely ignored upon submission.
The End of Gangs By Sam Quinones, Pacific-Standard Los Angeles gave America the modern street gang.The Daily Beast’s Best Longreads, Dec 29-Jan 4, 2014|William Boot|January 4, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Under the one-sixth they appear as slender, highly refractive fibers with double contour and, often, curled or split ends.A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis|James Campbell Todd
In treble, second and fourth, the first change is a dodge behind; and the second time the treble leads, there's a double Bob.Tintinnalogia, or, the Art of Ringing|Richard Duckworth and Fabian Stedman
And it would be hard indeed, if so remote a prince's notions of virtue and vice were to be offered as a standard for all mankind.Gulliver's Travels|Jonathan Swift
The new creed, called the King's Book, approved by the houses of convocation, and made the standard of English orthodoxy.The Every Day Book of History and Chronology|Joel Munsell
All things are double, one against another, and he hath made nothing defective.The Bible, Douay-Rheims Version|Various
British Dictionary definitions for double standard
Idioms and Phrases with double standard
A set of principles establishing different provisions for one group than another; also, specifically, allowing men more sexual freedom than women. For example, She complained that her father had a double standard—her brothers were allowed to date, but she was not, even though she was older. [Mid-1900s]