As a female college student it is safe to say that “hook ups” are gendered. When I first met my boyfriend I made all of the first moves in our relationship, which, luckily, is something that my boyfriend did not have a problem with; however, our peers had issues with my forwardness. Personally, it is very sad to see that there is a gender gap in hook ups. A woman who knows what she wants and is not afraid to get it may be labeled as bossy, or a slut, which forces females in our society to be more discreet about their late night hook ups. On the other hand, males are encouraged to be sexual and aggressive beings from a very young age. When males are shy or introvert (generally seen as a female trait) it is deemed to be a negative social behavior. Both sexes can be punished for breaking gender roles through humiliation and ostracization.
Not only does society reinforce these gender roles, but so does the media. A lot of the time you will see male celebrities, or male characters in movies with strippers and multiple female partners and the media will glorify them like they are gods. You will also see a lot of female celebrities portray characters who only pursue monogamous relationships and conform to how society thinks females should act in relationships. The media punishes females with their sexist headlines. You rarely see a headline associated with females that isn’t about their dating life or clothing options, whether it is a musician or politician. Females are constantly being scrutinized for being too “promiscuous.”
The fact that hook ups are gendered does not only hurt the female population but also the male. Girls are called sluts for engaging in a polygamous relationship while men are wimps for not engaging at all. Their peers might even question their sexuality, which leaves them feeling like they are doing something wrong and are not “manly”. The fact of the matter is, words like slut and hoe have a negative connotation. The amount of men a woman sleeps with should not define her. Slut-shaming is harmful, but if society is going to continue to use such words it should be used towards both genders, or not used at all to ensure equality.
Not only are hookups gendered, but so are relationships, marriage and sex. In the essay, “Hooking Up and Forming Romantic Relationships on Today’s College Campuses” Paula England talks about how men don’t really care if women have an orgasm during sex. This is something that I found to be very common. For some reason, guys think they are entitled to “getting off” or receiving oral sex. Girls are expected to do certain things in the bedroom to pleasure a man, but rarely themselves. If women do not meet or exceed these expectations they are seen as bad in bed or sluts. There is never really a grey area. A lot of the time, guys may not even know how to pleasure a woman. It is not all the guys fault because it is what they have been taught. When you look at porn, that is supposed to be popular amongst males, it is very subjective. Often in the videos, it will be filmed from the guy’s perspective looking down on a woman. You can tell who porns targeted audience is supposed to be. Whether society likes it or not, females also watch porn and are taught that their sexual desires are not important. Gendered hookups will help both males learn how to please women and women how to please themselves.
Hanna Rosin, author of “The end of Men: The Rise of Women” argues that “To put it crudely, feminist progress right now largely depends on the existence of the hookup culture,” Rosin is basically saying that the hookup culture is beneficial to women because it helps liberate from predescribed ideals. Hook ups can increase a woman’s self esteem. Rosin also uses statistics to back up her argument by stating, “rates of rape and sexual assault against females dropped by 70 percent nationally between 1993 and 2008.”
Hookup culture can be beneficial to women, but overall is it a bad thing? Socially, some women have to succumb to the vicious name calling from men and, sadly, women. Women cannot put other women down for not conforming to their idea of feminism. So for all you women who don’t really care for one night stands, don’t feel as though you are not helping the movement. The argument for or against hook up culture is somewhat similar to women going topless in New York to make a statement about reclaiming their own bodies. From one point of view it can be empowering, but from others it seems as though women must loose clothing to liberate themselves and it understandably is not everyone’s cup of tea.