Last week the New York Times published an interesting op-ed by Frank Bruni, which essentially made the point that while we think we have reached full equality between the sexes, a double standard still exists.
Using Amanda Knox -- the foreign exchange student who was convicted of killing her housemate in Italy, only to have the conviction reversed -- as his prime example, Bruni seems to argue that, unlike men, a woman's character is decided by her sexual lifestyle.
"Men get passes, women get reputations, and real, lasting humiliation travels only one way. The size and scope of that mortification, despite many decades of happy talk about dawning gender equality, are suggested by recent new stories of one teenage girl in California and another in Nova Scotia who hanged themselves after tales or cellphone pictures of their sexual violation circulated among peers," Bruni wrote.
Bruni goes on to wonder what sort of world permits the victims of these kinds of assaults to feel "more eternally damned" than the assailants.
"I'll tell you what sort: a world in which there's a cornucopia of synonyms for whore and slut and no comparably pejorative vocabulary for promiscuous or sexually rapacious men. A world in which Knox's vibrator and the lingerie she was said to have bought in a Perugia store were presented not just as newsworthy but as germane to the charge of murder against her: referendums on her character, glimmers of her depravity, clues to precisely how a good girl went bad."