Wikipedia definition: A double standard is the application of different sets of principles for similar situations.
I once was in a discussion with my boss about double standards. I told her that “black & white” is no longer applicable in today’s complex world. We now live in the gray area. There’s a saying in Filipino, “Ang salita ng hari, di nababali” (No one can bend the king’s word). And I said, this too no longer applies.
I believe that we do and we must base our decisions per situation, where two similar scenarios may have multiple results. It’s very tricky though because our double standards are greatly affected by our biases. The situation depends on the proximity, of how near it is to what we recognize a part of our “self”.
My example then was how it is easy for us to accept a gay friend but not a gay son or brother. The reason is proximity. Family is very much part of our self; whereas a friend is a complimenting self. Friends are within the circle but not within the boundary of the self. (Note: This may be different for others. My example is also affected by my being Filipino, us who value strong family ties). Hence, if a person feels strongly about being straight, then that extends to a family member whom he considers a part of his self. While on the other hand, a friend is someone special to him and he respects and supports whatever his decision may be.
Double standards are like a double edge sword. It can protect but it can also harm. By having a double standard, we give a chance to understanding. Example is: perhaps that’s why he stole the money because he has a dying wife that he has to take to the hospital but what he did is wrong so he must be punished. Double standards can also lead to wrong judgement. Example is: he steals money but at least he gives back to the people through free cake and movie passes.
Another example is: if a person jokes about the rape of your mother, then you get furious. But when your idol jokes about rape of a total stranger then you try to dismiss it as just a statement taken out of context.
What I’m trying to say is that I believe double standards must exist and that it’s inevitable. It’s okay. I admit that I too have my own double standards. However, we must recognize its existence for us to be cautious as to whether our double standards are the ones that give understanding or simply the harmful type.