Time to Equalize the Playing Field

   Everyone talking about double standards raises awareness 
about their existence and does nothing to actually fix 
them. We hear about double standards when it comes to 
“teacher’s pets,” the treatment of student-athletes, and 
expectations for what is considered to be appropriate 
professional attire for males and females.

   So, at one point or another, we pick a side.

   Maybe we believe that it is okay to judge females by 
their physical appearances while evaluating males solely 
on their personalities. Maybe we believe that it is OK 
for a student-athlete facing criminal allegations to be 
permitted to play the entire season without any 
repercussions. Maybe we believe all of this. Most likely 
we do not.
   We understand the problem, yet still we permit and— 
in some cases— encourage these double standards to keep 
appearing in our society. There have been multiple events 
this month alone that have featured some of the different 
types of society’s double standards on both professional 
and collegiate levels.
    On Nov. 16, Karl Stefanovic, co-host of the Australian 
Today show, sparked a worldwide discussion when he revealed, 
“I’ve worn the same suit on air for a year… to make a point. 
Women are judged much more harshly and keenly for what they 
do, what they say and what they wear,” taking a creative 
stand against society’s double standard for male and female 
appearances. While Stefanovic wore the same exact suit for 
each broadcast, entirely unknown to his audience, his female 
co-host was constantly criticized for her attire.
   Since the initial reveal of this disturbing truth, the 
Internet has been inundated with responses. Amy Rorke, from 
the Twitter handle @honeyandabee, tweeted at Stefanovic 
applauding his protest: “Good job Karl. Sometimes the 
loudest messages don’t need a speech.” I agree with Rorke, 
they do not need a speech, but they do need a discussion.
   The Australian Today Show, @TheTodayShow tweeted about 
Stefanovic’s experiment as well, writing, “talking about 
these things is how you change and challenge the culture.” 
In a culture where double standards have sadly become the norm, 
sparking this discussion is more important than ever—especially 
when society’s standards can potentially lead to danger for 
other members of society and our specific communities.
   Another double standard revisited by the media this month was 
that of student-athlete privilege. This past Saturday, one of the 
biggest rivalries in college football, University of Miami and 
Florida State University, faced off at the biggest game of the 
season. However, unfortunately the conversations leading up to 
the game were full of topics that strayed from the typical 
weighing of the offensive and defensive line’s strengths and 
weaknesses.
   Florida State University’s superstar quarterback, Jameis Winston, 
was facing alleged criminal charges two years ago, and still has not 
had his student disciplinary hearing to discuss them with his 
university. According to FSU’s literature for student rights 
and responsibilities, any student who has allegedly violated 
the Student Conduct Code must set up an appointment for a 
disciplinary hearing within five days of receiving the alleged charge.
   This policy is enforced in every case a student is allegedly 
accused of committing a crime that breaks the Student Conduct Code. 
Well, in every case except that of a superstar student-athlete, 
so it seems.
   In mid-October of this year, the Florida State University 
fraternity Phi Kappa Alpha was temporarily barred from 
affiliation with the university due to its alleged connection 
to a rape case that occurred just over a month ago. The 
entire organization has been restricted from participating 
in any on or off campus events, holding chapter meetings, 
serving on the FSU Interfraternity Council Executive Board, 
participating in intermural or using university facilities, 
all of which was stated in a letter from Rachel Bukanc, the 
director of the FSU Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
   In Winston’s case, the possibility of receiving such a letter 
has been pushed back multiple times over the course of two years 
as he still has yet to undergo an initial student disciplinary 
hearing. The current date for the hearing was set last month 
to be on Dec. 1, conveniently after the conference championship 
game and allowing Winston to be eligible for the 2015 NFL draft. 
While a fraternity facing the same alleged charges as the star 
student-athlete is temporarily not even permitted on campus, 
Winston has not been permitted to play in every game. 
   His hearing was most recently pushed back on Nov. 12, and 
the decision received a lot of backlash on the Internet. 
The New York Times Sports section, @NYTSports, tweeted the 
objective statement “Jameis Winston’s statement is postponed” 
with a link to an article breaking the news. This tweet, along 
with many others just like it, received a multitude of 
commentary criticizing the school such as “where is the NCAA 
talking about Florida State losing “institutional control” over 
this football program?” tweeted by John R. Ewing from the 
handle @jackewingjr. 
   In less than 140 characters Ewing has unearthed the fact 
that student-athlete privilege blatantly exists at the university. 
In this concise statement, Ewing has sparked a discussion of his 
own. The preferential and treatment of convenience shown toward 
Winston, both a student and athlete at FSU, does not only lack 
justice but also goes against the well-drawn out policy of the 
school—showing that double standards on the college level are 
just as prominent as in the professional world.
   Stories such as these make one wonder where society 
has continued to allow double standards to impede on the 
just and safe society we strive to be. Of course it is a 
shame that a woman’s style is occasionally off, but should 
she be judged and criticized while her male co-host’s style 
is completely ignored? It is similarly a shame that an iconic 
and talented student-athlete has been charged with an alleged 
crime, but it is even more shocking and shameful for this 
student’s university and to continuously postpone and 
dismiss this due to his success on the field.
   It seems like now is the time more than ever to stop 
judging people based on stereotypes and double standards. 
It is time for society to get off the sidelines, transform 
these discussions into actions, throw out the old standards 
and create new ones. Now is the time to equalize the playing 
field once and for all.

stay classy! xx
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