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Myriad double standards refers to a social construct which recognizes that several rules or principles are unfairly applied in different ways to different social groups at once. It recognizes the complex way that society disadvantages certain social groups and advantages others. The term was coined by American writer and trans-bi activist Julia Serano in her book “Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive.”
The concept of myriad double standards incorporates deeply entrenched double standards and double standards which are more fleeting and likely to change over time. It also includes double standards we are conscious of, such as the way women can be slut shamed for promiscuity while men’s conquests are celebrated, as well as other double standards that we feel, but may not be aware of or speak about. Often the double standards we are not aware of are those concerning people in groups outside our own community or social circle. These double standards can become points of exclusion.
Considering the way myriad double standards contribute to social problems including sexism and marginalization can encourage us to challenge and tear down the double standards we see, whether they are common or rare, and whether they personally impact us in a positive or negative way or not. This mentality helps us understand a wider range of human experience than some activists do and work towards a world where people are not treated unfairly or victimized, simply because they belong to a particular social group.
For example, rather than focusing exclusively on the double standards that impact cisgender women, feminists could expand their worldview and consider how transphobia impacts male-to-female transgender women to make their movement more inclusive. Going further, they may also consider how the patriarchy oppresses men and what they could do to remove these oppressive forces to further their own goal of equality. Unpacking the myriad double standards allows activists to take a more holistic approach to their causes.
The concept of myriad double standards also helps us as humans come together. Regardless of whether we are activists or not, we tend to believe everyone should be treated fairly. Pointing out double standards when we see them can help people recognize when they are treating some individuals differently to others and rectify their behavior and reduce the myriad double standards at work in society.