Coffee Rhetoric: A Double-Standard Situation

October 02, 2010

A Double-Standard Situation

Preface: I watch the foolery known as Jersey Shore. That is all. 
MTV's Jersey Shore... my emotions run the gamut... I laugh, I yell, I throw major shade, I cry (but not really). While most of the general populace (read: those people who refuse to admit they've indulged in an episode or two) - might respectfully disagree, the reality show chronicling the tom foolery of a group of mostly Italian American adults- (I must admit, I'm glad to see Black folks get some sort of reprieve after Flavor of Love and Frankie & Neffe) -  fist pumping, fighting, GTL'ing, and screwing their way towards instant fame and fortune, is a lesson in sociology. This second season alone (which kicked off on Miami's South Beach), presented some rather uncomfortable scenarios that had social media outlets buzzing with furor. Most notably, the dysfunctional on/off/on, co-dependent, and dare I say abusive relationship between Ronnie Ortiz-Magro and Sammie "Sweetheart" Giancola in which Ronnie lovingly calls his beloved a bitch and a cunt, sloppily hooks up with women and then drunkenly returns to the beach house to climb in bed and spoon with Sammi... but not before cockily bragging about his intentions to do so.
Watching that volatile segment unfold was most disturbing. Couple that with the way the other male roommates round up eager women at the club, as if they're cattle... judging them on a scale of DTF to Grenades... and then running on the opposite side of the club to round up another half dozen, in the event the fugs don't suffice, and you have yourself a formula that'd make you vomit. Which brings me to my primary analysis... 
The male roommates in question: Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino (a 30 year old muscled Alpha-male type, who's gelled and overly spray-tanned to perfection, with chiseled abdominal muscles that distracts from a visage only suitable for drunken, lights-off loving) leads the cattle call as his cohorts (DJ Pauly D and Vinny) eagerly follow suit. Collectively, the triumvirate of trick-masters refer to themselves as MVP (to reflect the first initials of their respective names), and giddily bring a seemingly endless supply of women by the cab-load in and out of the house... dismissing them aloofly when they've had their fill, and then later pow-wowing to giggle and reflect on their conquests.
Enter tortured roommate Angelina... a slovenly, obnoxious, insecure young woman who espouses a false sense of bravado by proclaiming to be the "Kim Kardashian of Staten Island" (no comment), and who is also an outcast amongst the roommates for a number of different reasons. Angelina gets major flack for having "hooked up" with all but one of the male roommates in the house. She's perceived as being passed around, called fat, and crucified for bringing men back home to lounge with. In essence, for essentially mimicking the behavior of the male roommates who bring women in and out like it's Grand Central Station. "Staten Island Dump" she's christened. The Situation, the most non-discerning (despite rumblings to the contrary) and promiscuous roommate in the house derisively opines, "Angelina is like the Staten Island ferry. It's free and everybody gets a ride." 
Angelina also decides to keep time with a lovestruck chap named Jose. Jose buys Angelina a Fossil watch, despite not having slept with her. The house is incited to raucous chorus. They chide Angelina for refusing to sleep with Jose, despite being the owner of a new Fossil watch... they ridicule her for having sex with roommate Vinny after a drunken night out and despite having argued heatedly with him a day or two prior (can't ever be sure of chronology with editing). Damned if she does, burned at the stake if she doesn't, Angelina lies and says she did in fact, have sex with Jose when she's accused of ruining his birthday because she refused to put out. The chorus bellows!
Angelina is further embarrassed her in front of friends and prospective lovers; Mike "Situation" calls her a "dirty little hamster" after loudly belittling her in front of her bff and a newly acquired guy picked up at the beach, for leaving a dirty sanitary napkin on the bathroom floor... 
"Hey Angelina, how's Jose? How many men have you slept with in 24 hours??"
Mike presses on in front of Angelina's male companion... who is growing visibly uncomfortable during the altercation. Situation calls her a whore, so forth and so on... not withstanding the fact he had drunken, loud sex the night before with one of his club conquests, who he adoringly made an egg sandwich for the next morning. 
Another scene that got under my skin is when the male roommates (3 of whom have had relations with her), pontificate about Angelina's sex life. "She's a whore..." they mutter and grunt... "I never met such a dirty woman like that..." grunt ...then this -> "Men do that... that's what we do. Women aren't supposed to do that..." grunt... grunt. And Why not? Why can't a woman explore her options and sexuality without being labeled a bottom feeder? Why Angelina and not the women they drunkenly carry home from the club? Why are egg sandwiches a lounge lizard's due but  not Angelina's? It's because anytime a woman dictates the terms of her own sex life, she is seen as wanton, dirty, or whorish... that's why. Perhaps the women who agree to bed the likes of Situation aren't considered sluts because they're feeding his (and men with his belief system), ego. When a man is not at the helm... coercing a woman to have sex, if she goes out and dates freely... not necessarily even sleeping with whatever man of the moment she engages, she's held in low-esteem. 
An after-show follow up finds Vinny explaining that there're certain women a man sleeps with and disrespects and another type you wine and dine. He argues that he used his penis "as a sacrificial lamb" to sex The Staten Island Dump with, so he could brag "you didn't say that last night" in the event they had any future arguments where she further accuses him of lacking game and looks... *blank stare*
On the flip side of the coin, does a woman not have a right to desire to settle down with a quality man of means rather than a jerk with no discernible accomplishments other than his kissing abilities, six-pack, and skills in bed? What's good for the goose is good for the gander, no? 
I honestly don't see how a woman who obliges a man's request to go home with him for a one night romp is any better than a woman who determines who she will have sex with, on her own terms, without being prompted by a man to do so. Promiscuity has its pros and cons whether you're a man or a woman. It can be both disturbingly empty, vile, and irresponsible... or it can be liberating, mature, and ... responsible... depending on what one's reasons are and their mental/emotional state. This revelation is not exclusive to just women. 
One shouldn't get the green light, while the other is expected to yield when it comes to matters of sex. In this day and age, that is not how it should work. Jersey Shore definitely offers interesting insight on the dynamic between men and women co-habiting with one another. The result is a sloppy amalgamation of today's sexuality and yesteryear's antiquated expectations/treatment of women mixed with male privilege. The male cast of Jersey Shore are definitely awash in the whole Madonna/Whore complex. Do I only get a pass and an egg sandwich if I'm DTF as opposed to my LTF also known as a "zipless fuck"?

Other interesting and related links to consider:
College Girl's PowerPoint "Fuck List" Goes Viral
Free Herself
Slut-Shaming
Promiscuity: Educated Women vs. Hood Girls

Rent: She's Gotta Have It, Romance, The Last Mistress, & Anatomy of Hell