Easy A is a film about a high-school girl named Olive. At the beginning of the movie, Olive lies to her friend Rhiannon about losing her virginity over one particular weekend. This begins a cascade of events that upend Olive’s high school experience. First, the local group of Christian girls decides that they need to become involved in Olive’s business due to her newly ‘sinful’ nature. Eventually an argument gets Olive sent to the principal’s office where she meets Brandon. Brandon is a gay teenager who wants Olive to pretend to sleep with him in order to ‘prove’ to the other students that he’s heterosexual.
She agrees, and before long, the entire school considers Olive to be a promiscuous tramp. Soon she has a thriving business pretending to sleep with boys in the school in order to bolster their reputations. She embraces her ‘new identity’ and acts the part. Eventually, one of the boys she pretended to sleep with lies and says Olive gave him an STD (that he actually got from sleeping with a teacher’s wife), and Olive decides to come clean. The movie ends with Olive getting together with an old crush of hers, Todd, who didn’t believe the rumors about her, and pledging to keep her sex life secret in the future.
There is a lot of exploration of gender double standards in Easy A. For my topic, I want to explore how the girls and boys are treated differently regarding social activity or gender role. In the movie, sexual behavior and sexual activity raises the boys’ social status while it causes a lot of problems for Olive, who is seen to be a ‘slut’. In addition to the explicit presentation of this issue, I also found it interesting to note that Olive is sympathetic in part because she actually is still a virgin. If she weren’t a virgin, would she be as sympathetic?
Women who are virgins are considered to be high status, and women who have had a lot of sexual partners are considered to be low status, while the reverse is true for men.
Title: Sex and Punishment: An Examination of Sexual Consequences and the Sexual Double Standard in Teen Programming
Author: Aubrey, Jennifer Stevens
Source: Sex Roles, Vol. 50, Nos. 7/8, April 2004
A content analysis was conducted to examine sexual consequences on teen programming. The sample consisted of prime-time television dramas that featured characters between the ages of 12 and 22 years. Two major goals guided the study. First, the types of sexual consequences in teen programming were investigated. Results showed that emotional and social consequences far outnumbered physical consequences. Second, the portrayal of the sexual double standard was investigated. Negative consequences were more common in scenes in which female characters initiated sexual activities than in scenes in which male characters initiated sexual activities. Implications for future content analyses and media-effects research
Title: The Sexual Double Standard: Fact or Fiction?
Authors: Marks, Michael J. and Fraley, Chris R.
Source: Sex Roles, Vol. 52, Nos. 3/4, February 2005
In contemporary society it is widely believed that men are socially rewarded for sexual activity, whereas women are derogated for sexual activity. To determine whether a sexual double standard exists, both undergraduate (n = 144) and Internet (n = 8,080) participants evaluated experimental targets who were described as either male or female and as having a variable number of sexual partners. Targets were more likely to be derogated as the number of sexual partners increased, and this effect held for both male and female targets. These results suggest that, although people do evaluate others as a function of sexual activity, people do not necessarily hold men and women to different sexual standards.