Unhooked- A Review
February 29, 2008, 5:10 pm
Filed under: Books | Tags: ,

As I said in an earlier post, I have had an ongoing conversation with myself about the hook-up culture, particularly as seen on my campus. I picked up the book Unhooked, by Laura Sessions Stepp. Essentially, it is a popular non-fiction expose of a culture that I am used to, but that people of my parents’ generation might be horrified to learn of.

And rightly so. Stepp follows a number of girls through the course of a year: they meet, they email, and they tell her about their lives, particularly their sex lives. She goes with them to bars, and witnesses how girls behave there. She follows high school girls, college girls, black girls, white girls. In that respect, it is a pretty well-rounded sample. Of course, it is a very small sample. That is the nature of the beast of a sociological study, particularly one that is performed by a journalist writing pop-nonfiction. One must take these findings with a grain of salt: she went in, expecting to find something, and find it she did. And then she wrote about it. No science. Ok, shutting up now.

In the end, she concludes exactly what I did: as a society, we are doing girls a disservice by convincing them that they must wait for love, to the point of running from it into the arms of an unworthy boy that they know they will never fall for. That way, they will never have to risk their future plans by accidentally falling in love with someone who will treat them well and is a good match for them. It really is absurd that this is the message we are sending girls: falling in love is bad, because you’ll ruin your chances for a future. So, you should avoid good men, and only see bad men, because they are discardable.

In the end, we are encouraging young women to sleep with inappropriate men. That’s a problem. If these girls are as stellar as we are told, they deserve men that will treat them as such. And most importantly, they deserve support from their parents and elders when they do find such a man.  A good man will support her in what she wants to do, and if they are truly in love, the relationship will last regardless of her plans. If it doesn’t, it wasn’t a waste of time, not in the way a string of hook-ups are.

However, it is in this article in the New York Times today that sums it up best: “The culture of dating is much healthier than the culture of the hookup, in which the primary form of sexual intimacy is a girl on her knees servicing a boy.”

How is a woman prostrate in front of a man she doesn’t care about, servicing him, a sign of sexual freedom? It isn’t. It’s a sign of sexual inequality and shame.  Young women deserve better than that. Shame on all of us for encouraging anything less, especially in the name of freedom and success.


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