Outrage as Lily James 'slut-shamed' and 'mocked' over photos of her kissing Dominic West
Getty

It comes as no surprise to be reminded that men and women are judged in vastly different ways when it comes to their relationships and sexuality.

But every now and then a story will bring the double standard to the forefront of online discourse – again.

Yesterday, photos emerged of actor Lily James on holiday in Rome with co-star in the upcoming The Pursuit of Love Dominic West. The two appeared to be kissing, and many have interpreted it to suggest they are romantically involved.

Immediately, the internet went to town, furiously criticising James, for reasons including the fact that West is married and 19 years older than her, and that James reportedly recently split from Doctor Who actor Matt Smith after a five-year relationship. James was quickly trending across social media. She was repeatedly accused of – among other things that we won't repeat – "breaking up a marriage".

But fans were quick to call out the gender-based nature of the reaction, given that West faced comparatively limited criticism.

Many other echoed this sentiment, saying “this has just proved the double standards” and noting, “this is just another example of a sexist society that blames women and lets men go unpunished”.

West has been married to landscape designer Catherine Fitzgerald for 10 years and they have three children together.

They have not announced that they are no longer together, but many people pointed out this doesn't mean they didn't split privately.

While others suggested he and his wife could very well be in a consensually non-monogamous relationship, and chose not to disclose it to the world.

West has previously said that he does not see monogamy as "the natural way to be" in an interview with Harper's Bazaar last year while discussing his role in the TV drama The Affair, in which he played a cheating spouse.

If nothing else, it's a reminder to not make assumptions when such things are revealed, and to interrogate why the women in these equations are typically judged so much more harshly than the men.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)