A friend of the Network suggested this article from this blog, where a feminist woman writes honestly and candidly about the flaws in the hook-up system, and how it’s harmful for women. The post generated hundreds of comments from readers who congratulated Steph on her honesty, while others dismissed her statements. We quote:
Happening upon your blog has been something I’m extremely grateful for at this point in my life. I am a senior at college and head of the sexual assault center at my school. I co-run another female mentoring program as well. I read Dworkin, Kimmel,Brownmiller on a regular basis and peruse sex toys with my friends. I am down with the cause, definitely. Yet being an (occasionally) single feminist college student has been tricky in regard to how I operate sexually in hookup land when I so strongly and vocally align myself with sexual education, equality and autonomy in my school community. Really, what’s a girl to do?
I recently hooked up (albeit rather drunkenly) with a male friend of mine. It was very nice, consensual, and he is someone I really respect. But post-hookup something about me just felt done, over the whole thing. I’ve had much worse hookups with much lamer guys. I spend so much time thinking about hookup culture, talking about it, researching, etc., yet it took me three years to truly realize its shortcomings were not something that could be overcome if done the right way.
I always knew it was flawed and brewed a great deal of insecurity and crippling self doubt, but felt it was the only option. Even though I’ve had serious boyfriends in college I always viewed hookup culture as the main highway, one that must be taken and hopefully leads to some kind of fulfillment. It doesn’t. Any brief satisfaction is quickly replaced by a great deal of emotional fallout. Who hasn’t seen the sexiest, smartest of her friends white knuckling her cell phone, pleading with assorted deities that the overly coiffed, Ed Hardy-clad econ major sends her the obligatory text? It doesn’t matter that 3 days ago, she thought he was a tool, didn’t kiss very well, etc., the reassurance is what we’re after. The assurance that we are enough: smart, cool, different enough to attract someone, even if its not who we want. Despite our real feelings about these guys, whether we respect them or are repulsed by them, we beg, hope and need for them to like us.
I’ve seen this one too many times in recent weeks, leaving me no choice but to conclude “there must be something better out there.” And whether or not it exists, I will now be seeking it. In talking with my best friend I realized I am through with accepting hookup culture as inevitable. It is an incredibly problematic and often unfulfilling (in numerous respects) system.
It has taken me this long to realize that in order for me to truly claim that women deserve respect, kindness and to have the sort of relationships they want, I have to stop participating in hookup culture. It’s flawed and it remains flawed because no one is willing to take the road that involves more clothing. I, for one, think it’s at least worth a try.
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