"It is by now pretty well understood that traditional dating in college has mostly gone the way of the landline, replaced by “hooking up” — an ambiguous term that can signify anything from making out to oral sex to intercourse — without the emotional entanglement of a relationship.
Until recently, those who studied the rise of hookup culture had generally assumed that it was driven by men, and that women were reluctant participants, more interested in romance than in casual sexual encounters. But there is an increasing realization that young women are propelling it, too.” —”Sex on Campus: She Can Play that Game, Too,” by Kate Taylor
“Sex on Campus: She Can Play that Game, Too,” an article published in The New York Times on July 12, begins with a description of a young woman called A. When “A.” finishes her night’s worth of studying, she texts “her regular hookup, the guy she is sleeping with but not dating.” As the article goes on to describe: “He texted back: Come over. So she did. They watched a little TV, had sex and went to sleep.”
Apparently, it’s noteworthy that college women are more interested in pursuing their degrees, partying with their friends, and getting laid than falling in love and being in a relationship. While I see the good intentions behind articles such as this—women are driven; women want to have sex; women like to work hard and then party hard—ultimately this article, like many others on this topic, leaves me only rolling my eyes and feeling angry.
Why am I rolling my eyes? I’m rolling my eyes because in 2013 it’s only “an increasing realization” that women are propelling casual sexual encounters. I’m rolling my eyes because of women like Susan Patton, “the Princeton alumna and mother who in March wrote a letter to The Daily Princetonian urging female undergraduates not to squander the chance to hunt for a husband on campus,” who said:
“I thought, ‘My gosh, what have we come to that these brilliant young women are afraid to say that marriage and children are significant parts of what they view as their lifelong happiness?’ ” Ms. Patton said.
“They have gotten such strong, vitriolic messages from the extreme feminists saying, ‘Go it alone — you don’t need a man,’ ” she added.
First off: Plenty of brilliant young women truly don’t view marriage and children as significant factors to their lifelong happiness. It’s not that they’re afraid to say it. They actually aren’t interested. Shocking! Second: LESBIANS. They exist. Fucking acknowledge that. Not every woman is straight. (Maybe the group she talked to were all straight women interested in marriage and children, but that is simply not representative of every woman.)
But then we get to the “strong, vitriolic messages from the extreme feminists” and I just have to laugh. As this article points out: “But, in fact, many of the Penn women said that warnings not to become overly involved in a relationship came not from feminists, but from their parents, who urged them to be independent.”
(So none of these parents are feminists? Sounds to me like parents who urge their daughters to be independent and driven are exactly that.)
Now, why am I angry? I’m not angry because of this article. I’m angry because this article has to exist in the first place. I’m angry that the first young woman interviewed for this story was only comfortable being addressed as A., which is not even the initial of her first name! The need for anonymity was so important that she was only comfortable using her middle initial.
“Because they believed that talking publicly about sex could come back to haunt them — by damaging their reputations at Penn, their families’ opinions of them or their professional future — the women spoke on the condition that their full names would not be revealed. Most are identified by their first or middle names or by a middle initial.”
Reputations. Family opinions. Professional futures. These are the things at stake if women dare to not only be free with their sexuality, but are free to speak about it openly. And even with the anonymity, A. was still not comfortable revealing how many sexual partners she has had!
Perhaps articles like this are a step in the right direction for women, and our right to be sexual beings, just as men. But I long for the day where these articles aren’t necessary.
Where women who say they “hook up” rather than pursue relationships because they’re focused foremost on their studies aren’t, in turn, scared that this choice would jeopardize those future opportunities, should their identities be revealed.
I’d like to read an article about women hooking up that doesn’t include the inevitable rape plotline, with the underlying message that women must be wary about getting too drunk, because then what might have been a casual hookup could turn into a casual rape.
I’d like to read about results of a sociologist’s study that doesn’t result in saying that men aren’t focused on pleasing women in hookups because of the sexual double standard, “which sometimes causes men to disrespect women precisely for hooking up with them.” And that women aren’t judging other women for their sexual experiences and reputations!
Now let’s listen to En Vogue!
FREE YOUR MIND.
Cross-posted from my other blog, Chasing the End of My Rainbow