- Category: Volume 85 (Fall 2013 - Spring 2014)
- Published: 12 February 2014
Should Our Era be Deemed Kings and Queens of Sleeping Around and Not Settling Down?
If there’s one thing that we know for sure, it’s that sex sells. From Marilyn Monroe becoming a legendary sex symbol to Miley Cyrus twerking on stage at the VMAs, people have always been drawn to the hype that surrounds scandal. Yet, can we be blamed? Sex is arguably the most humanistic act we can perform; it connects us to our ancestors as well as our next of kin, it is used for pleasure, and it is a rite of passage in the realm of coming of age. However, how soon is too soon to be hooking up with the guy you just met, your boyfriend of only a short time, or a complete stranger?
It is obvious that our generation is one that feels random hook-ups are widely accepted. However, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), the history of hook ups dates back to the wild days of the roaring twenties. As women gained more freedom due to the 19th Amendment, they felt independence in not being permanently attached to a man.
The APA also noted that the 1960s brought even more sexual freedom with the use of birth control, drugs, and the popularity of the free loving flower power culture. The point is that “hooking up” has been around longer than we have, but our generation is getting all the slack for it.
Chair of the Psychology Department, Dr. Gary Lewandowski said, “I think these types of labels are provocative, but it isn’t clear from data that this generation is really all that different. It could be there is just more comfort in talking about it.”
This leads to the question of whether or not we can blame the media and widespread use of social media for the label. Way back when, teenagers were busy hiding their extra-curricular activities from their parents. Drive-in movie theaters, backseats of cars, and vacant parks were all places were kids could go to satisfy their sexual needs. That was way before cellphones and social media existed.
With picture messaging, texting, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (among plenty of others) private life has become public for everyone to see. Even if you’re not updating your Facebook status about getting to second base with Tommy from your science class, chances are other people may have found out and spread the word. This goes to show that if you’re going to continue your hookup sessions, you may want to stay far away from the public eye.
The idea of sex appeal has also been heavily influenced by the media. Our television screens and internet pages are flooded with images of picture-perfect Victoria’s Secret models in scantily clad clothing, movies are filled with highly graphic sex scenes, and pornography is easy to come by with one simple search.
Young girls are highly influenced by this, and brand markets are tailoring their products to the need to be sexy. Clothing, Halloween costumes, and the use of makeup are all adding to the sexualization of young girls, which leads them to believe that promiscuity is commonplace. It is not so hard to understand how women are continuing to be objectified— a trend that we have been trying to combat since the first feminists protests.
To give modern women the benefit of the doubt, it is true that social norms have changed drastically, even in the last 50 years. According to infoplease.com, in 1950, the median age for women to get married was 20.3. In 2010, the number was 26.1. Six years can be a significant span of time in a woman’s life, which can account for why we aren’t holding off for marriage as often.
Lewandowski added, “There is a trend where people are waiting to get married later.”
It was historically traditional to wait until marriage to lose your virginity, but back then, most brides were younger than most of today’s college students. It would be unfair to compare the marriage standard with such a big age difference between them.
Sophomore business administration major Kelly Park said, “Our generation is just more accustomed to not settling down. We shouldn’t be considered ‘the hookup generation’ because we like to keep our options open. I like to think we are a generation of both happy couples and happy singles.”
The age old song “Love and Marriage” links the two together, and it is expected that if two people decide to get married, there is a lot of love going on between the two. However, we don’t have to be in love to hookup.
Junior history education major Zach Savage said, “I feel like the term hookup culture was created because of our society’s fear of commitment but also the fear of missing out on being with many different people instead of just one for a long period of time.”
According to National Public Radio, the ritual of courting has changed from looking for a mate to looking for a quick hook up with “no strings attached.” They also note that the new objective is to have fun, not to commit to marriage right away. This also links back to the fact that we have many more years to explore before we settle down than we did in the past.
Although there may not be any long term benefit of hooking up, there is always a possibility it can turn into a lifelong partnership. The way one goes about forming sexual relationships is unique to them, and should not be attributed to an entire population, as it has been with the notion of the “hookup culture.”
The role of women in society has also changed, which has in turn altered the process of forming sexual relationships.
Women are no longer desperate housewives, waiting for their husbands to come home to fulfill their every need. Instead, women are part of the working world, the educational world, and have many more hats than they wore in the past. For this reason, they have gained independence and somewhat equality, in the modern day. If women can get jobs just like men and go to school alongside them, why shouldn’t we have the same sexual rights?
Men hookup with women and are often seen by their friends as a hero and women should have the same luxury, if they so choose. If a standard is to be set for hooking up, it should span across both genders. And if it is seen as self-objectification, this should not have a gender standard either.
Although men have always been seen as sexually and physically dominant, the myths about their lack of emotional attachment may not be true.
According to USA Today, a survey of over 5,000 people revealed that men typically fall in love faster, with 55 percent of men saying they have felt love at first sight, while only 44 percent of women responded that way. The survey also showed that woman prefer personal space more than men. Research like this aids in changing the way males and females are viewed in society.
Even though hooking up is often given a negative connotation, it does have benefits. Kate Hakala of the Nerve actually looked at the positives of the hookup. Some of them include enjoyment and upward mobility for women, the potential relationships that can be formed, and the improvement of one’s sexual performance before settling down. She also mentions that it’s not as harmful as many people make it out to be, and that the stigma of hooking up has been blown out of proportion in the media recently.
The media objectifies women, but this does not mean women have to self-objectify. If women choose to become intimate with a partner (or series of them), it should be because they are empowered to do so, not because of society’s influences or that of peer pressure.
The question of whether or not hooking up objectifies a woman is based on her individual choices and reasons for doing so. If she is influenced heavily by the sexualization of the media, she may strive to become one of the objects portrayed on the screen. But, just because a woman is comfortable in her sexual skin, that doesn’t mean she is trying to turn herself into an item or object.
On a broader scale, we need to work on how both men and women are viewed sexually in society, both in real life and in the media. This will allow us to remove the stigma that looms above our generation when it comes to settling down and hooking up.
IMAGE TAKEN from metro.us