Bridgerton: The Double Standards Of Sexes

Date
Jan, 18, 2021

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Bridgerton, Netflix’s newest show that has everyone in quarantine wishing that they had lived in the 1800s so they could wear their best corsets and run down the hall of a castle in a flowy dress to sneak a kiss with their beloved away from the prying eyes of the ton.

Is it just me? Okay. 

I initially started watching the show because I had nothing better to do and had writer’s block.

But let’s just say, once I caught a glimpse of the Duke, I became hooked. 

Did I binge-watch the entire season in one day? Yes, I did.

Do I regret it? No. No, I do not.

Spoiler Alert

Besides the fact that watching  Bridgerton, filled with its good-looking characters that part take in wild sex scenes, is the most action I’ve gotten since June of 2020, there were a few things that irked me about the season. 

Now you may be thinking,

“Oh, it’s the perfectly curated sex scenes where Daphne cums in two minutes from penetration alone, right?” No, it’s not that. 

Photo by Ava Sol 

“Oh, it’s how the Duke cums in 15 seconds every time they have sex and thinks that the pull-out method is super effective?” No, it’s not that either, but how historically accurate of them.

“Then it’s definitely gotta be how women literally do not have any sex education until their wedding night and expect to learn everything from their husbands, while the men get to sow their wild oats as much as they want.” 

It’s that. That is what irked me. 

Not because it was wrong but because of how painfully accurate it was. 

The double standards that plagued the women and men of the 1800s still thrive in today’s society. 

A society, mind you, where women have more control over their bodies; but expectations of maintaining a childlike innocence and letting men lead the way into a future they pave for us, is the norm.

PSA: I will be talking about gender roles that I and others have experienced. This post is not about projecting anything onto anyone or trying to make anyone feel bad. 

1800s vs. 2021

While the show accurately represents the sex and gender roles of that time, the parallels that can be drawn to today’s society are astonishing. 

Especially since it’s literally been centuries since then. 

Women

Since the beginning of time, women have been classified as nurturers expected to provide a home and care for others.

While a lot has changed since the beginning of time, these ideas are still around today, and penalizing women for not conforming.

In today’s society, we see this where laws are stricter on abortion and on women’s autonomy than on guns.

The Women of Bridgerton

In the show, we see women who are the pinnacle of high society.

Trained since birth to master the skills of caring for a home, children, and the most challenging skill of them all, nabbing a husband. 

All while wearing the finest threads that money can buy without a single strand of hair out of place because everyone is watching. 

Raised to believe that that is all they can contribute to society, the women in the show must uphold their image.

What Are They Risking?

What angers me most is how much the women have to lose and how much a man gets to decide for them. 

One mistake, one misstep, and its dishonor. Dishonor to you, dishonor on your whole family. 

For instance, when I saw the kiss scene in the forest between the Duke and Daphne, I was terrified (and slightly turned on) because I knew what would happen if she got caught. 

And when Antony caught them but didn’t blame her, I felt relief.

Which shows how deep the patriarchy has its claws in me.

Antony treated her like a mindless child.

In reality, she knew exactly what she was doing by running into the maze.

She wanted the Duke to follow her. But for her brother to whole-heartedly believe that she did not know any better because the common idea was that women are incapable of handling themselves is annoying, to say the least. 

Your Body, Their Choice

Moreover, the way the men talk about women. Especially if they had sexual relations, disgust me to my stomach because the same narrative is around today.

When Nigel asks if the Duke and Daphne had premarital sex, and says, “if I knew she was loose and broken, I wouldn’t have pursued her.” 

Like my god! 

Men honestly have nothing but audacity. 

This brings me to my next point. The lack of sex education women get, even on their wedding night. I understand sex is an uncomfortable topic for many people. That’s clear.

But not educating your daughter on what will happen on her wedding night and leaving it up to the husband is ridiculous. 

There is an expectation that women, back then and now, will maintain a childlike innocence regarding sex and their own bodies.

Meanwhile giving men the power of their bodies. 

The Women of 21st Century

I know I separated the times for an easier comparison but let’s be honest. 

At the same time, women have more autonomy over their bodies; many misconceptions that cloud the dialogue of Bridgerton are still around today, looming over women’s heads. 

Scenerios

For instance, what would happen if I got caught kissing a man in a maze at night. 

Will my family name be dragged through the mud? No.

Would someone call me a whore for sneaking around with a man that wasn’t my boyfriend? Yes, 100% (and they have). 

Will someone applaud me for making out with a hot guy?

Yes, 100%. 

The line is blurry. Women are stuck between being called a whore and doing what they want. 

Men Above All

Since fewer women are looking to get married at young ages, and casual sex becomes part of the norm, women continue to be shamed for participating in it.

Women are lied to. Told that if they have too much casual sex, their vaginas will become loose, and no man will want to marry them. 

Additionally, while we know more about our anatomy and pleasure than previous generations, society still tells us to put our pleasure into the hands of men.

P.S. Wanna learn more about vaginas, read my article!

The Wrap Up

So the differences between the ladies of Bridgerton and the 21st century are:

  • They have better clothes than us.
  • Most people’s family name will not be dragged through the mud if caught with a man. 
  • Women today have more bodily autonomy and know more about pleasure.

Now for the similarities: 

  • We are told to put are pleasure into the hands of men
  • Women are not thought to be as capable as men
  • Society expects all women to have homes filled with dozens of babies.

The Double Standard

Since there are two sides to every story, we will explore the audacity men have had since the 1800s. Along with the harmful expectations that come with it. 

Men

Like women, since the beginning of time, men were categorized as providers.

Taught to be the sole bread winner and head of the household to a wife and children.

Making all the critical life-altering decisions. 

While a lot has changed, this societal expectation is still around. Luckily our generation gets to see how detrimental that kind of pressure has been. 

The Men of Bridgerton

Did you guys think Colin was as much of a sweetheart as I did?

He seemed so genuine to me while he was an idiot for wanting to get married quickly to his brothers.

When his brother Antony found out about Colin’s engagement, he was livid.

Sow Your Wild Oats, Boy

He talked about how he fucked up by not taking Colin to brothels when he was younger and how he should sow his wild oats before getting married.

The double standard is screaming so loudly that I can barely hear my own thoughts.

While a woman’s reputation is on the line on whether or not she can get married quickly, a man’s ability to get his dick wet by the surplus number of women is on the line.

The funny thing is that Colin is older than Daphne. They want this young woman who may be at the oldest are 16 to get married while her 18-year-old brother is a fool for even thinking about it. 

Now I am going to attest that to the fact women mature faster than men, but it still doesn’t sit right with me.

Head Of The Household

As the head of the Bridgerton family, Antony has a lot of pressure on him to live up to society’s expectations. 

I see that. But the level of control he has over his sisters’ lives and how he speaks to his mother is infuriating.

When he promises Daphne’s hand in marriage to Nigel without even consulting her is horrid.

He pledged her future to someone else.

Not giving it a second thought on how it would impact her directly but instead how the family name would be upheld. 

Claiming that it was for her own good, but in reality, like the men of today, it was to protect his pride.

Back then and now, men possibly feel so entitled because of the way women put them on pedestals. 

Even I caught myself praising the Duke for acting like a gentleman when he was only doing the bare minimum.

The fact that in 2021 I am surprised when I see a man being a good person says so much about our society and the way we see men.  

The Men Of the 21st Century

Now the men who are currently being called out by the people they have spent centuries oppressing (women). 

Like in Bridgerton, men are in 2021 are expected to sleep around.

If they don’t want to, they are shamed for it. 

They are called pussies, bitches, gay (many words to describe women are insults, funny, huh). This is basically what happened to Colin in the show.

Men have a lot of pressure to perform well sexually. May it be from other men, themselves to fit that stereotype, or from women. 

Moreover, men today still try to impose their views and decisions onto women.

They want women to act a certain way and shame them for not conforming.

Men’s Superiority Complex

Let’s talk about the entitlement. 

They feel entitled to women and their bodies, contributing to the high rates of sexual assault in the US. 

While most men have no names for upholding, they still feel entitled to a place in society because of how the patriarchy is structured.

They feel entitled to a superiority complex that places them above women. 

The Bare Minimum

Finally, they, like their Bridgerton counterpart, are praised for doing the bare minimum. 

They want applause for taking advantage of women and not leaving nasty comments on someones Instagram photo.  

This sounds like a lot of blaming and pointing fingers at men, but it’s the reality. 

Yes, they struggle because of the grave need to conform, but they don’t face the same consequences as women. 

Wrap It Up

So let’s wrap it up; the differences between the Bridgerton men and the men from the 21st century are:

  • The Bridgerton men have better style 
  • Bridgerton men are expected to uphold the family name 

The similarities:

  • All men are expected to sleep around and be great in bed
  • Men are entitled and push their decisions/opinions on to others
  • Men are applauded for doing the bare minimum. 

What the 21st Century & Bridgerton Have In Common 

Now I want to take a step back. Instead of hyper-focusing on the differences and similarities men and women share in the 1800s vs. 2021, I want to zoom out a focus on the bigger picture.

Yes, the double standards between men and women are painfully evident in both eras.

Yes, societal gender norms are physically and emotionally damaging to both parties.

But what I want to talk about is how in both societies, we damn the whore.

Ahhh, the whore.

Her presence has been around for centuries, and without her, we would not be the society we are today. 

And I don’t mean that in a Bible-thumping, casual sex type of way.

I mean it literally. Prostitution literally laid the foundation for the United States, but that is a story for a different time.

I want to address how we degrade the people who give us what we want in our sex-obsessed culture.

1800s

For instance, in Bridgerton, we have Siena. This beautiful actress happens to be in love with Mr. Righteous himself, Antony Bridgerton.

He uses her for sex, and while he may love her, they both know that they cannot be seen together because it wouldn’t appropriate and could very well destroy his family name.

Hell, even Antony’s mother refers to her as mistress and asks when he will marry an honorable girl, aka a virgin from a wealthy family.

2021

In 2021 however, we have casual sex, pornstars, and Onlyfans.

Most of us, if not all, have indulged in these luxuries. We watch these women (specifically women who face more discrimination for participating), and we consume it all.

Once we are done, we shame them. Declare that they have no morals, and try to outcast them from our minds and our society. 

I blame society for this because ever since we were young, they beat into our heads that sex was dirty and should be saved for the marriage bed and used to only reproduce.

Not So Different After All

So like Bridgerton, we damn the whore. 

She is not honorable and should not be seen in public, but we use her body in our pursuit of pleasure. She is seen as lesser than, not a valuable member of society when she plays the most significant part.

I specifically refer to women here because they are the ones who regularly suffer the consequences compared to their male counterparts.

Further, if a woman enjoys casual sex, she is a whore and not honorable. But a man who does it is sowing his wild oats or how Daphne refers to the Duke, a rake aka a fuckboy.

Which this society takes no issue with. 

It’s ironic, really. 

Many people will say that they have morals and think too highly of themselves to ever do porn or sell nude pictures of themselves, but the truth is, they do it for free.

Whether it’s having sex with someone and taping it for fun or sending someone nudes, we all partake in the same thing but disgrace people for making a living out of it.

And the sad truth?

While they are making bank and paying off their debts, we are being left on read.

Food For Thought

Despite this whole rant that is entirely valid and the many more topics I could dissect within the show, I really enjoyed it.

I got to be transported to a time that many people, including myself, romanticize. Able to see the beautiful costumes, the grand houses that scream high society, and the balls. Mmmm.

And lest we forget, the romance.

I’m a sucker for a good romance.

I just hope one day we can get to a place as a society where we don’t degrade people for doing what comes naturally to many human beings.

Anyways, don’t be afraid and comment below and let me know what your take on the show was.

Sources:

  1. My Thoughts and Experiences
  2. Bridgerton|Netflix

Mía

Hi, I am Mia! I am Sex Education Enthusiast and I love bringing people the knowledge they need to make their sex lives better! I always preach that having a healthy sex life is a part of a healthy life overall.

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