Double Standards in Girl by Jamaica Kincaid

Although times have changed since the story “girl” was written, mothers, as well as society, continue to hold women back from having the ability to be independent because of without being judged or looked down upon. This is shown in the short story “Girl”, which was written by Jamaica Kincaid in 1978. A double standard is “a rule or principle that is unfairly applied in different ways to different people or groups”. The world continues to evolve, yet the double standards between men and women have yet to revolutionize.

In the story, the mother tries to teach her daughter how to be an acceptable woman in society and how to be what a man deserves. The double standard is first shown when the mother says to her daughter “how a man bullies you;” “this is how to love a man.” The mother is teaching her daughter to tolerate a man who bullies her, even though a man is not expected to tolerate a woman who bullies him.

The mother tries to teach her daughter that it is important for a woman not to be seen as promiscuous or “slutty” because if she is, society will not view her as a respectable woman to marry. This is shown when the mother tells her daughter that she cannot “squat while playing marbles or “talk to the wharf boys.”

This double standard still exists today. A man can have a casual sexual relationship with a woman and be commended for it, but if a woman does the same she is considered a “slut”.

Get quality help now

Proficient in: Girl By Jamaica Kincaid

4.7 (348)

“ Amazing as always, gave her a week to finish a big assignment and came through way ahead of time. ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

The mother tells her daughter she must be “a lady”, while the boys can sit however they want as well as talk to whoever they desire.

When the story takes place, as well as today, a man is seen as the leader of the household. The man is to work and make money and the woman is expected to take care of the house and raise the children. This expectation is shown when the mother gives her daughter lists of chores she must know how to A woman in our present society may have a job of her own, but if her child does not act correctly, the mother is always to blame. Another example of this is can be seen in the ratio of male to female babysitters and nannies. Despite the mother having a  job, the person hired as the nanny or babysitter is typically a woman. Meaning, that society does not approve of men staying home the way a woman is expected to.

Cite this page

Double Standards in Girl by Jamaica Kincaid. (2022, Aug 06). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7