Monday, July 15, 2013

The Drunk Hook-Up: You Call This Progress?

In the NYTimes, Sex On Campus: She Can Play That Game Too.  This was a truly nauseating article, describing workaholic young women at Penn engaged in the hook-up culture.  I have a sinking feeling that some of these young women are the high achievers of the local schools that Older Daughter won't be attending this fall.
As A. explained her schedule, “If I’m sober, I’m working.” 
The hook-up culture is fundamentally a drinking culture:
Women said universally that hookups could not exist without alcohol, because they were for the most part too uncomfortable to pair off with men they did not know well without being drunk.  
How many of these young women are present or future alcoholics?

The headline is just plain wrong; women are not playing the same game that the men do.  It's obnoxious to try to spin this as sexual equality for women, because women's sexual needs are not addressed by hook-ups.  The hook-up is defined by the male orgasm, and it's over when he's been satisfied:
One girl, explaining why her encounters freshman and sophomore year often ended with fellatio, said that usually by the time she got back to a guy’s room, she was starting to sober up and didn’t want to be there anymore, and giving the guy oral sex was an easy way to wrap things up and leave. 
Well, you can see what the guy is getting out of this deal, but what's in it for the girl? 

From a comment by dc lambert, nj:
These students think that life is a series of shallow, meaningless competitions on their race to make the most money and buy the most toys, and the only way to cope is to do drugs and avoid intimate relationships.
How do schools factor into this?  High achieving girls are the ones who constantly strive for the A and the high test score.  They're certainly not encouraged to develop their own inner compass or to ask themselves whether this is the game they want to play.  In a very deep sense, these are girls who can't say no, either to the achievement rat race or to boys.


  1. From a comment by LOL JUST LOL, USA:

    I graduated from Penn a few years ago and witnessed the behavior that is described in this article. Dating was virtually nonexistent at Penn. The root of Penn's hookup culture, is that the men, particularly the fraternities, control the social life. The men have evidently realized that if they demand sex and refuse to offer anything in exchange, women who don't want to be celibate will have no choice but to capitulate. The result is that women rationalize hooking up the way "A" does.

    I saw this play out repeatedly with my female friends at Penn. Like "A," several of my friends had regular hookup buddies whom they would text/IM/Gchat for sex every so often. None of those hookup buddies wanted to date my friends, and one even had the nerve to tell my friend she wasn't "hot" enough for him to date. Men at Penn could be brutal: I am no stranger to having a frat jerk inform me I wasn't "that hot." It was a tactic used to break women down so they could be made to do what the men wanted.

    Although at the time I was somewhat aware of how dysfunctional Penn's hookup culture was, I hooked up a couple of times myself. It was probably no small factor that some of my friends who were hooking up accused me of being a prude for not doing the same.

  2. From a comment by kb of Los Angeles, CA:

    What I took away from this article is the entitled position of fraternities on elite college campuses. It sounds as if they control a campus social life that's characterized by unsupervised consumption of alcohol and drugs. In other words, nothing much has changed since I went to college in the 1960's. Then no one pretended that women had any choice in the matter. You went to these parties in the hopes of meeting a future husband, and you were lucky not to pass out and get raped in the process.

    That these privileged boys clubs still run the show is maddening. That girls' participation is presented as a sign of women's sexual equality is just sad.

  3. I work at a university full of high-achieving students, and my best friend is a grad student at Penn. Every word of this article is 100 percent true.

    These power resumes full of high grades and internships and extracurriculars come at the price of real-world skills. I know people who don't require their kids to do any chores around the house because they'd rather they spend all their time on schoolwork and other organized activities. So their kids go off to college knowing calculus but not how to prepare a healthy meal or do laundry.

    Likewise, the typical teen job like bagging groceries or working at McDonald's is seen as a waste of time compared to an internship or volunteering. My summer jobs at daycare centers, a movie theater and Subway were maybe the only opportunity I ever had in my first 21 years of life to really talk to people with a different background than my own, and they also made me appreciate my education.

    Looks like the opportunity to form real connections with people and learn to navigate a relationship is the most recent "real world" skill to disappear from high school and college.

  4. What is in it for the young high achieving women is a release . A release from the terrible fear of humiliation that haunts them ,drives them, into humiliation itself .

    They take a time out, stop running and rush to met it in what feels like their terms .

    Mentally they strip these acts of all meaning and then get drunk for the emotional numbing necessary

    But I think the hard to see payoff for them is relief from the fear of humiliation , by submersing themselves into humiliation . Sometimes a constant fear is worse than what you fear .

    These acts are not humiliating were there is love of course and so they careful avoid that by often not even knowing the young men.

  5. It's enough to make me want to organize an airlift of vibrators to the Ivy Leagues. There's got to be a better way.

    Maybe young women do this to reassure themselves that they're desirable?

  6. It's enough to make me want to organize an airlift of vibrators to the Ivy Leagues.

    Very funny . We should organize a walk for them! AND apparently classes on how to use one! lol I can see them thinking it's a martini mixer . For Moi? surely not

    They seems to have learned not to value their own pleasure. They seeming can't even grasp the concept of something only they know about and enjoy. What's the good of that? How does that raise you in another's eyes?

    This what happens when you see yourself in external terms only. Sylvia Plath, another high achieving woman, had this problem . She could only see her value in another eyes. That can never be enough to sustain one. Because you must keep achieving to have any self value can't just hang out and take a break...unless it's like this ? Perhaps they are afraid they will stop achieving if they think about themselves from the inside?

    Another problem is it's now EXPECTED on a first date, like a hand shake, as well as these drive by encounters. Remarkably they don't see how this doing it with anyone devalues and drains the the act of meaning ,or perhaps they do and that's the point? Are they saying they too are meaningless?

    It just seems like a time out for them from forever worrying if they are making the grade...which would be brought to an actual relationship with a person they care about ( shocking idea!) as well as work, where it is now

    They don't care about themselves and so find it hard to care about seems

  7. Ugh. Feminism should mean respect for women as people everywhere, from school to the boardroom to the bedroom.

    Maybe there's an equilibrium here? As if the culture is saying, "OK, we'll let you have your academic success and your career success (as long as you don't have kids), but in return boys get to exploit you sexually."

    I've always thought that being a cog in the capitalist machine doesn't sound like liberation to me. We need to rethink our society.

  8. So.....homeschool college? (jk, I know it already exists.)