Teen sex hook up
As authors like Ariel Levy and Jean Kilbourne and Diane Levin have shown, the sexualization of girls and young women has been repackaged as girl power.Sexual freedom was supposed to be good for women, but somewhere along the way, the right to be responsible for your own orgasm became the privilege of being responsible for someone else’s.Like the girls who write to me at Teen Vogue, most of the women Bogle interviewed crammed their dreams of a boyfriend into casual connections determined entirely by the guys.Susan, a first year student, has a typical story: “…We started kissing and everything and then he never talked about…having it be a relationship.Will they import these patterns of repressing thoughts and feelings into the more formal dating arrangements that follow after college?Will young women feel pressure not to challenge hook up culture because it appears uncool, unfeminine or antifeminist?I fear feminism has been backed into a corner here.It’s become antifeminist to want a guy to buy you dinner and hold the door for you.
Bogle writes that the system is “fraught with pitfalls that can lead to being labeled a ‘slut.’” Hook up with too many guys in the same frat, or go too far on the first hook up, drink too much, act too crazy, dress revealing…you know the drill. Women who went too far and hit the trip wire were “severely stigmatized” by men. Now, just to be clear, I’m all for the freedom to hook up.
My concern led me to Hooking Up: Sex, Dating and Relationships on Campus by sociologist Kathleen A. It’s both a short history of dating culture and a study of the sexual habits of men and women on two college campuses.
Hooking Up is a nonjudgmental window into the relational and sexual challenges facing young women today. Bogle opens with some downright cool history: In the first decade of the twentieth century, a young man could only see a woman of interest if she and her mother permitted him to “call” on them together. Cut to a hundred years later: in today’s hook up culture, physical appearance, status and gender conformity determine who gets called on, and Jack, a sophomore, tells Bogle about party life at school: “Well, talking amongst my friends, we decided that girls travel in threes: there’s the hot one, there’s the fat one, and there’s the one that’s just there.” Er, we’ve come a long way, baby.
(hint, hint: college women, please comment and let me know if I’m off here.) This book opened my eyes to the need to begin teaching girls to pull back the curtain on the all-powerful hook up culture and deconstruct its terms and conditions. : In Which I Get Taken On and Schooled in Mostly Awesome Ways – Don’t miss Salon Broadsheet’s inimitable Kate Harding responding critically to my piece.
Nona Willis Aronowitz offers an honest and compelling perspective on the importance of learning hard lessons about sex.