The Atlantic has come out with another post-feminism cover article about how college hook-up culture actually allows women to have successful careers.
Like most of the articles, it’s interesting, but far too lengthy to really analyze unless you want to write a fucking book.
But, to get into some of the problematic points:
“Single young women in their sexual prime—that is, their 20s and early 30s, the same age as the women at the business-school party—are for the first time in history more successful, on average, than the single young men around them. They are more likely to have a college degree and, in aggregate, they make more money. What makes this remarkable development possible is not just the pill or legal abortion but the whole new landscape of sexual freedom—the ability to delay marriage and have temporary relationships that don’t derail education or career. To put it crudely, feminist progress right now largely depends on the existence of the hookup culture.”
Firstly, according to most statistics I’ve read, women still don’t have equal pay, or access to high level managerial positions as men do, so we are absolutely not, if you can define success by money and stature, “more successful.” I would have appreciated some stats to back up that statement, because maybe they’ve changed.
Secondly, I don’t think that the hook-up culture empowers women. What empowers women is not having to get married or have children, and therefore, being able to pursue careers. There is a negative flip side to that, in the sense that it makes us all very selfish, which also applies to men, and kind of ties back to Paul Ryan and individualism, but I won’t go there.
The hook-up culture, on the other hand, teaches women that men don’t respect them. In turn, women don’t respect men either. When men and women DO decide to settle down—both genders are hooking up because they want to try out a potential mate, unless they are blindingly drunk, let’s be honest—they have no idea how to have intimate relationships.
They know how to have selfish relationships, in which they keep on demanding what they need and want, and don’t take into account the other person. I do that with Caleb, and I hate myself for it.
As I think shows like Girls illuminate, women have learned to see other women as their partners in life, and men as enemies or fools. It doesn’t make for great long-lasting, care-taking bonds.
Rosin says of Girls: “In Hannah’s charmed but falling-apart life, her encounters with Adam count as “experience,” fodder for the memoir she half-jokingly tells her parents will make her “the voice of [her] generation.” She is our era’s Portnoy, entitled and narcissistic enough to obsess about precisely how she gets off.”
The problem, of course, is that Hannah doesn’t get off. She just fucking lies there.
Because most women I know don’t really enjoy random hook-ups. They are awkward, and weird, and they don’t have orgasms. In my experience, men don’t either. They have trouble getting hard, they feel a lot of pressure to perform, and because of that, they do so poorly.
And by the way, random hook-ups have nothing to do with whether or not women like sex. Women can like sex without having to randomly hook up with dudes, and they can like sex if they do.
Women are just confused (so, by the way, are men). We’re figuring out our new role in a society where we have more opportunities than ever before, and because of them, can opt out of older traditions like marriage and staying home to raise our children…if that’s what we want, of course. It’s no better, or worse, than before, but I think that as we do become more empowered, we’ll become more intolerant to bad behavior in sexual relationships. The hook-up culture is a growing phase. Which is actually the point that Rosin makes in the last paragraph of the article, so kudos to her.
I’m sorry for this rambling, nonsensical post. There’s a kernel of a good idea here, I promise. I’d love to hear more from you. And I’d love to hear men start writing some rebuttals to this shit.
(And thanks to a new friend Emily for sending me the article!)