OPINION | ‘How dare a man ask that about a woman’: drawing the line on double standards

I was watching a US chat show the other day when the male host asked his male guest if his partner became “better in bed” when she was named ‘Sexiest Woman Alive’.

There was outrage.

How dare a man ask that about a woman.


Actually no. There wasn’t outrage.

Because the host was a woman and she asked the question of another woman, about her male partner.

It was Ellen Degeneres chatting with pop singer Gwen Stefani and joking about whether or not her partner, country singer Blake Shelton, became ‘less sexy’ after losing the ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ title.


“Honestly he got sexier,” Stefani gushed, before Ellen asked: “When the title came upon him, did you notice he became better in bed?”

Stefani was noticeably caught off guard—blushing, before bumbling through an answer.

My eyes nearly popped out of my head. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Although I shouldn’t have been too surprised, because it’s not the first time I have felt there are severe double-standards between male and female hosts.

I have previously watched Ellen send half-naked men into the audience to have cash inserted into their underpants.

Plus, there was the time Milo Ventimiglia (who plays Jack Pearson in This Is Us) was asked by a female audience member if viewers would get to “see more of your butt in season two, maybe a little something more?”. The crowd then went into a chant of “more butt, more butt”!

Could you imagine if a man got up and asked his co-star Mandy Moore if they’d get to see her boobs!

I’m not here to hate on Ellen. I do admire Ellen; she does amazing things for charity and spreading her ‘be kind’ message. She’s not the only one guilty of this.

And it’s not the first time the double standards have been highlighted. Cricketer Chris Gayle was back in the news recently concerning the fight to clear his name over the on-air incident where he ‘hit on’ female reporter Mel McLaughlin, causing a media storm.

When that happened the Daily Mail asked how it was different to when a Sunrise reporter hit on a man working out on the beach.

We’re now a year into the #metoo movement, which has quickly (and quite rightly) put the brakes on the objectifying of women, so why is it still the ‘norm’ to objectify men?

Maybe I’m just taking this too seriously, and it’s all supposed to be in fun.

But isn’t that the line in the sand we are so desperately trying to get clarity on when it comes to women’s bodies and what is and isn’t okay to say or do?