Double standard

Double standard

A double standard is the unjust application of different sets of principles for similar situations. The concept implies that a single set of principles encompassing all situations (a "single standard") is the desirable ideal.[1] The term has been used in print since at least 1895.[2] A double standard may take the form of an instance in which certain concepts (often, for example, a word, phrase, social norm, or rule) are perceived as acceptable to be applied by one group of people, but are considered unacceptable—taboo—when applied by another group.

A double standard, thus, can be described as a sort of biased, morally unfair suspension (toward a certain group) of the principle that all are equal in their freedoms. Such double standards are seen as unjustified because they violate a basic maxim of modern legal jurisprudence: that all parties should stand equal before the law. Double standards also violate the principle of justice known as impartiality, which is based on the assumption that the same standards should be applied to all people, without regard to subjective bias or favoritism based on social class, rank, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, species or other distinctions. A double standard violates this principle by holding different people accountable according to different standards. The phrase "life is not fair" may be invoked in order to mollify concerns over double standards.

There is a distinction to be made between double standards and hypocrisy, which implies the stated or presumed acceptance of a single standard a person claims to hold himself or herself accountable to, but which, in practice, may be disregarded. Being hypocritical to the double-standard is then a positive example of hypocrisy as well.

Though the term "double standard" is of relatively recent origins, the concept expressed by it has existed in various cultures from far earlier times. For example, Jewish tradition has interpreted in this light the Biblical injunction in Deuteronomy 25, 13-15

Do not have two differing measures in your house—one large, one small. Do not have two differing weights in your bag—one heavy, one light. You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

The modern Hebrew term for "Double standard" is derived from this Biblical verse - "Eifa Ve'Eifa" (איפה ואיפה) (literally, "two differing measures").

See also


  1. ^ "Double standard"
  2. ^ See "Purity Alliance Work; Proceedings of the Congress Held in Baltimore Yesterday" New York Times, October 16, 1895. NYT subscription required for archival searches.

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Double standard — Double Dou ble (d[u^]b l), a. [OE. doble, duble, double, OF. doble, duble, double, F. double, fr. L. duplus, fr. the root of duo two, and perh. that of plenus full; akin to Gr. diplo os double. See {Two}, and {Full}, and cf. {Diploma}, {Duple}.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • double standard — double standards N COUNT (disapproval) If you accuse a person or institution of applying double standards in their treatment of different groups of people, you mean that they unfairly allow more freedom of behaviour to one group than to another.… …   English dictionary

  • double standard — dou ble stan dard, n. a standard or set of principles governing conduct, which is applied more stringently or differently to one group of people than to another; used especially of standards of sexual behavior that condemn behavior on the part of …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • double standard — [n] contrasting principles contradictory standard, two sets of rules; concepts 46,278,665 …   New thesaurus

  • double standard — n a rule, principle etc that is unfair because it treats one group of people more severely than another in the same situation …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • double standard — noun count a rule or principle that is applied to some people but not others, in a way that is unfair …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • double standard — ► NOUN ▪ a rule or principle applied unfairly in different ways to different people …   English terms dictionary

  • double standard — n. a system, code, criterion, etc. applied unequally; specif., a code of behavior that is stricter for women than for men, esp. in matters of sex …   English World dictionary

  • double standard — noun an ethical or moral code that applies more strictly to one group than to another (Freq. 1) • Hypernyms: ↑ethic, ↑ethical code • Hyponyms: ↑double standard of sexual behavior * * * noun, pl ⋯ dards [count] : a situation in which two people …   Useful english dictionary

  • Double standard — Le double standard désigne, généralement pour le dénoncer, l application de règles différentes à l appréciation de deux situations qui apparaissent identiques au locuteur, un locuteur qui critique en conséquence une inégalité de traitement… …   Wikipédia en Français

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