Are Your Beliefs (Unknowingly) Perpetuating the Double Standard?

There is a double standard for women.

I know that’s not a surprise – especially if you’re a woman whose been judged for her determination, capabilities and standards. But, let’s just admit that we all– and I mean men and women – have a double standard for what we expect from women (guys don’t tune out just yet, I promise this isn’t about pointing fingers).

If you’ve watched the news lately, you can’t help but wonder if we’ve taken a step backwards. From the constant Hillary bashing to Trump’s insane rants against Fox News reporter Megan Kelly or Cruz’s powerful wife, the message feels consistent: if you’re a strong-minded, gifted woman in a position of some power – you’re a bitch or a liar or untrustworthy. And while it’s easy to point fingers at the media, the establishment or men like Trump – I started wondering if I am seeing all of this in my outside world, how is my inside world (what I think about me or other women) helping perpetuate the Double Standard?

The other day I was having a discussion with another woman, when she blurted out “that I must be used to having my own way.” I stopped mid sentence and felt genuinely confused. You see I’ve heard that before. From men that I’ve dated or people that I’ve worked with in my former life as a lawyer, I’ve heard people say that I tend to like things my way. At this point in my life, I recognize it’s not a compliment.

So, it got me thinking . . . especially when another woman I respected said it to me – would the same thing be said to a guy? And even if it would be said, would he care?

The reality is that I do like to get what I want – I set boundaries and am unafraid of saying what I believe is right. And sometimes, what I want might be unpopular. So what? Well, as women we’ve been trained to be people pleasers – we’re part of a team. And if you go against that team, you’re automatically an outsider.

When I was told I must be used to having my own way, I can legitimately say it hurt. I felt misunderstood, judged and confused. My immediate reaction was to make things right. I felt myself become defensive and ready to protect my position. I’ll even admit I wanted to tell her to go to hell. But luckily, I took a breath  . . . and that’s when it dawned on me, like so many other women my beliefs were about to perpetuate and give power to the Double Standard.

As women, we often buy into the Double Standard. We believe we always have to place our own needs behind the desire to get along and go along. We even judge other women who put themselves first and don’t sacrifice everything for the “greater good.” For some reason too, we think it’s bad to want to set boundaries or get our own way. We become afraid that people won’t like us if we stand up for ourselves or say no. We then end up second guessing every step and wondering what we really should do.

Why? Well, simply put – we are driven by our beliefs. Some of us believe our voice isn’t powerful, that it isn’t good to be a bitch or that people won’t like us if we don’t stand up for ourselves. And while it’s awesome that women know how to be team players – it becomes negative when we sacrifice ourselves or use it to judge ourselves (or others). Think of all the times you said yes to something, only later to become resentful and angry that you violated your own wisdom.

Our beliefs can be especially tricky – they often show up as truths.

We should be nice to other people. We should sacrifice ourselves for our children. We should not be lie. All these statements may contain some sense of truth for us – but, in reality, they’re just opinions. Every time we say we or someone else “should” do something, it’s a signal to us that there is some belief driving our statement. Maybe the underlying belief is that you won’t be a good mom, it’s bad to say no or that you’ll end up alone. Whatever the belief, if we are unaware of it – the belief can drive our actions, to then become reactions.

When I looked at the Double Standard and how it keeps coming up in my mind, I recognize that the only way the Double Standard really has power is if I myself keep perpetuating it. Every time I criticize another woman for being brash or not being a team player, it’s because I believe she needs to be a certain way. I am the Double Standard. The same goes for my own criticism of myself for being someone who likes to get her way. I am the Double Standard. In even making someone else wrong for saying it to me – I am the Double Standard.

It is only when we begin to question our beliefs, release our need to hold on to them and adopt new empowering ones that we can respond clearly rather than react emotionally. Instead of believing that any of us should be anything, we can begin to remind ourselves to release judgment and respond from a different place. And when we do, it is amazing how negativity crumbles and possibility opens.  

How do you perpetuate the Double Standard?

And what are the beliefs that drive you to do so? What might it look like if you let go of that belief or shifted it even slightly?

I want to invite you to begin to shift all your limiting beliefs! I've created a special worksheet to help you get started.

Download my FREE Happy is a Verb: Stop Shoulding on Yourself” Worksheet. Every time we tell ourselves we should or have to be something, we keep ourselves stuck, disappointed and held back. Begin to free yourself and live more confidently and happily. Click here to begin now!