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HOOK-

UPS

hooking-up; you're doing it, your roommate does it, and hey - even your parents might be doing it. rising from the ashes of the of the seemingly dead practice of traditional dating has emerged the cultural trend known as the hook-up culture.

 

a relatively new phenomenon, only gaining recognition in empirical literature in the last decade or so, hook-ups are defined by scholars as “brief uncommitted sexual encounters among individuals who are not romantic partners or dating each other."

 

further, hook-ups have replaced dating as the primary form of intimate heterosexual interactions that take place on college campuses.

WANNA 

HOOK-UP?

HOOK-UP
"SCRIPT"

okay, so unless you've been living under a rock, you know what a hook-up is. let's go over the basics, shall we?

 

the script in which a hook-up might occur on a college campus occurs loosely in the following format: 

 

1. two people who are hanging out at a party, bar, or place of residence begin talking, flirting, and/or dancing. typically, they have been drinking.

 

2. at some point, they move to a more private location, where sexual activity occurs. sometimes they are strangers, but more often they know each other at least slightly. 

AT THE MACRO-LEVEL, HOOKING-UP IS A PHENOMENON THAT PENETRATES THE NATIONAL YOUTH CULTURE IN AMERICA. 

 

AT THE MICRO-LEVEL, THE HOOK-UP CULTURE PERMEATES OUR OWN CAMPUS AND CREATES A GENDERED PROBLEM AT TCU.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH

HOOKING-UP?

the hook-up culture is problematic as it is a trend in the cultural understandings of sexuality that benefits men over women, further perpetuating female oppression and the patriarchy.

while hook-ups on an individual case-by-case basis do not inherently disempower women, the societal practice of hooking-up on a cultural level are gendered to the disadvantage of women.

THE "FREE LOVE"

ARGUMENT 

SOME MIGHT DISAGREE WITH THE PREMISE THAT HOOK-UP CULTURE IS PROBLEMATIC.

arguing that hooking-up should be celebrated as a tool of empowerment in which women can embrace their sexuality after historically being shamed for it.

 

this “free-love” argument might convince some, but should not be blindly accepted. the notion that hook-ups are empowering to women is based on a faux-reality that distorts the hook-up culture as a mutually beneficial process to both women and men, which is rarely the case. 

instead, sexual health scholars have found that “hooking up is an activity that women sometimes find rewarding but more often find confusing, hurtful, and awkward,” resulting in an overall negative experience for women.

 

in contrast, however, men are found to view hook-ups as incredibly positive experiences, aspiring to “pursue sexual opportunities regardless of context." 

PLEASURE INEQUALITIES ESPECIALLY PREVAIL IN HOOK-UPS.

one academic study found that receiving oral sex and clitoral stimulation during sex occur more often in relationship sex than casual sex leading to the orgasm gap being larger in instances of hook-ups.

another study found 91% of men and 39% of women always or usually orgasm during casual sex.

THE DOUBLE STANDARD

vs.

PLAYER

WHORE

in the unspoken norms of the hook-up culture, it is understood that women should be readily available to have sex, but only when initiated by a man. if a woman pursues sex based on her own desire or outside that of a committed relationship, she’s branded a “whore,” a stereotype that has roots in Biblical times.

 

meanwhile, men have no equivalent stigmatized notion of their own sexual agency. sometimes referred to as “slut-shaming” or “the double standard” this phenomenon champions promiscuous men while at the same time defaming promiscuous women.

the gendered differences in the hook-up culture also contribute to the continuation of harmful stereotypes of women.

THUS, THE HOOK-UP CULTURE ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES FACILITATES AN ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH WOMEN ARE ENCOURAGED TO ENGAGE IN CASUAL SEX FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE MALE PARTNER, ONLY-IN-TURN TO BE SHAMED FOR IT.

HOOKING-UP AT

TCU’s imbalanced gender-ratio, in which more than half of all students are female, brings about a heightened awareness to the gender inequalities underlying the hook-up culture.

 

for instance, a study called Bare Market: Campus Sex Ratios, Romantic Relationships, and Sexual Behavior, found that: “women on campuses where they comprise a higher proportion of the student body give more negative appraisals of campus men and relationships, go on fewer dates, are less likely to have had a college boyfriend, and are more likely to be sexually active."

 

further, in TCU’s case, this creates an environment in which male students have a greater opportunity to hook-up with multiple females and view them as sexual objects while female students have a lesser opportunity to explore their sexuality through dating or outlets that are not hooking-up.

 

this notion is exemplified in an article posted on TCU’s news media website, TCU360, in which former student Alyssa Sweeney explains what the phenomenon looks like on our campus: “there is a saying that as a girl on TCU’s campus, your 1 to 10 ranking on the hotness scale goes down 2 to 3 points, but as a guy, it goes up 2 to 3 points. The ratio causes this huge imbalance where guys who are considered a 3 are dating girls who are 10’s.” 

although the issues regarding the hook-up culture are a nationwide problem, beginning an intervention project at TCU is a step in the right direction due to the salience of this issue on our community. 

INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE?

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