Hanna Rosin is the author of the new book, “The End of Men” which discusses the changing gender roles in 21st century America. She’s also a noted feminist blogger who created XX for Slate magazine and published an interesting new article in this month’s Atlantic Magazine about the hook-up culture.
Now first off, let me say that the hook-up culture is nothing new. We may have more girls texting naked pictures than they did in 1991, when I was in college, but I don’t think that binge drinking and the walk of shame started with the Millenials. If anything, we’re just now seeing the effects of women who were brought up believing in full equality, which includes hooking up with men for pleasure, instead of using college to go on a husband hunt.
We can debate whether something dreamy and idealistic is lost in all of this inebriated collegiate bed-hopping.
Says Rosin, “What emerged from four years of research was the sense that hooking up was part of a larger romantic strategy…For an upwardly mobile, ambitious young woman, hookups were a way to dip into relationships without disrupting her self-development or schoolwork. Hookups functioned as a “delay tactic…because the immediate priority, for the privileged women at least, was setting themselves up for a career. “If I want to maintain the lifestyle that I’ve grown up with,” one woman said, “I have to work. I just don’t see myself being someone who marries young and lives off of some boy’s money.”
We can debate whether something dreamy and idealistic is lost in all of this inebriated collegiate bed-hopping. I’d probably say it is. But there’s no putting that genie back in the bottle. Women and men are equal and they’re absolutely dating that way – hoping to find love eventually, but content with some fun sexual experience for now.
“About 66 percent of women say they wanted their most recent hookup to turn into something more, but 58 percent of men say the same – not a vast difference, considering the cultural panic about the demise of chivalry and its consequences for women. And in fact, the broad inference that young people are having more sex–and not just coarser sex–is just wrong; teenagers today, for instance, are far less likely than their parents were to have sex or get pregnant. Between 1988 and 2010, the percentage of teenage girls having sex dropped from 37 to 27, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By many measures, the behavior of young people can even look like a return to a more innocent age.”
I’m decidedly nonjudgmental about people’s sex lives. Do what you want, try not to hurt anyone else and be conscious of what you can handle emotionally. If you can’t handle hooking up, opt out of it, like 25% of students do. Personally, I think the college years are the perfect time to experiment and feel out your limits for alcohol, drugs, and sex, not to mention making sound financial decisions, studying without being coerced, and taking responsibility for the results in your life. Since I didn’t lose my virginity until sophomore year, I had a lot of catching up to do, and far be it from me to condemn a young woman who is having the same experience. I remember it as one of the best times of my life.
What do you think? Is hooking up wrong? How has it worked for you?