Understanding that racism, sexism and ageism are sensitive topics, all readers regardless of race, sex, or age are encouraged to contribute to the discussions. Open, honest and flowing dialogue is the only way the conversation can begin to change.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Double Standard

Why are single fathers acclaimed, but single mothers frowned upon?

Why do white mistresses seem to be glorified (Rielle Hunter) while black wives garner negative attention (e.g. Mashonda Tifrere, Siohvaughn Wade)?

Why are single Black fathers who show just a little interest in their children fathers of the year, but single Black mothers presumed to be welfare moms?

Why are strong-minded women "bitches," but strong-minded men respected?

Why Halle have to let a white man pop her to get a Oscar? Why Denzel have to be crooked before he took it? <----- Ok, I kid I kid but you catch my drift.

There is only one real answer to all these questions and it is Cultural Hegemony. Popular belief makes it acceptable for one sex and/or race to behave a certain way while unacceptable for other sexes and/or races to do the same.

[Excerpt from Black Millennial Women in Leadership]

Cultural Hegemony influences the narrative script of Black women and adds to the conflict that Black women experience as a result of being Millennial leaders. The combination of race, gender and millennialism causes Black Millennial Women in Leadership to overcompensate in the quest for perfection (Overcompensation). Although shifting, masking, and role playing are necessary coping tools (Persona) Black Millennial Women in Leadership use to survive, this study maintains that Black Millennial Women in Leadership can fulfill expected leadership roles without losing her sense of self (Authenticity).

Cultural hegemony is the dominance of one social group over another. The ideas of the ruling class come to be seen as the norm. These ideologies are perceived as benefiting the entire whole, but in reality only benefit the ruling class. This practice dates back to the 1800’s when the ruling class was the “intellectuals” (Taube, 1996). Originated by the Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci, cultural hegemony is the concept that a culturally-diverse society can be ruled by one of its social classes. Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci experienced cultural hegemony in part response to his resistance to the leadership of Mussolini. His ideas around cultural hegemony addressed the relationship between culture and power under capitalism (Lears, 1985). Although never formally defined by Gramsci, he was known to quote hegemony as ‘the spontaneous consent given by the great masses of population to the general direction imposed on social life by the dominant fundamental group” (Lears, 1985, p568). This consent is manufactured and is caused by the status of the dominant group as a result of its position in the world (Lears, 1985)...

...Hegemony or “popular culture” is actively pursued in both Black studies as well as women’s studies (Traube, 1996). It is believed that as Blacks acquire more wealth and higher socio-economic status, they will also experience more exposure to the narratives endorsed by the dominating cultural influence of Europeans (Schiele, 2005). Schiele contends that as a result, a larger number of Blacks, mostly middle-upper class, are more willing to adopt values of the majority group. The “risk” of internalizing these narratives that may endanger the ability for Blacks to resist dominating Eurocentric cultural hegemony (2005). “These greater opportunities also may jeopardize the value of maintaining a Black cultural identity” (Schiele, 2005, p810). This principle is the foundation of ‘cultural genocide.’ In this study, I will push back on the beliefs and values of popular culture; thus encouraging Black Millennial Women to not adopt the values of the majority group, but to remain authentic to their personal values. Manufactured consent among a certain population like Black Millennial Women often causes a class to be pushed into an uncomfortable space. This longing to belong and “fit in,” encourages Black women to mask themselves and lose parts of who they are culturally while adopting the beliefs of popular culture.

Researcher Thoughts - Will the double standard (race and sex) soon become the triple standard (age)? Will age play a determining factor in what's acceptable and what's not? Has this standard already begun?

What are your thoughts?

Jackson, Jenny (2010). Black Millennial Women in Leadership. Queens University of Charlotte: Charlotte NC.

  1. Lears, T.J. Jackson (1985). “The Concept of Cultural Hegemony: Problems and Possibilities.” The American Historical Review, Vol. 90, No. 3. pp. 567-593.
  2.  Traube, Elizabeth G. (1996). “ ‘The Popular’ in American Culture.” Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 25. Annual Reviews, Inc.: CA.


  1. 2nd try: If age becomes one of the main factors which set the norm for acceptable standards along with sex and race, I'm assured that the ideology of hegemony will soon turn unfavorable. As with age, those who were once seen as intelligent and powerful will be trumped by the younger more-intelligent individuals. If so, these politicians/law-makers better hope that they've done right by their children and grandchildren because if age because a major factor in this ideology, the youth will be determining the standard of what to do with obsolete elders.

    I, for one, believe that every person young, old, black, white, purple, rich, poor, dumb, or smart can contribute which will benefit all of society, EQUALLY.

  2. I also hold this belief but as I became more aware of the ideologies like Hegemony, I am more cautious of what is going on around me. It has reshaped my basis of thought.