It’s November 1st. As I walk to breakfast, I see two cats, a schoolgirl, a pizza, and a firefighter. Wasn’t Halloween yesterday?
Though everyone knows these individuals are still in costume because they “shacked” or spent the night in someone else’s room, this walk of shame is taken lightly and even seen as humorous.
On this particular day, as all the tours passed by these costumed individuals making their way back to their respective rooms, only one girl made an effort to “hide” her actions. The fire fighter kept saying loudly how she “hated waking up early to volunteer at the children’s center for Halloween, but that it was well worth it”. I actually know this specific girl so I know she was not actually volunteering but if I were a stranger that overheard what she was saying, I would believe her. However, with all the other walk of shame victims, they made no effort to hide what they had been up to and even seemed proud of it. In my opinion what one does sexually is personal so I don’t understand why the walk of shame is something that has to be broadcasted. Do they want reassurance? Congratulations you got laid.
In the hook up culture that college campus life has created, it is no secret that boys and girls interact sexually and cover the bases. Though there is some vagueness, generally, first base is kissing and making out, second base is touching and intense kissing, third base is oral sex, and home run is having penetrative sexual intercourse. It is this vagueness, however, that leads to these norms such as the walk of shame. Though my example was on Halloween, the walk of shame is a regular occurrence every Saturday, Sunday, and even on some weekdays.
In Kathleen Bogle’s Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on Campus, she works to examine the hook-up culture on college campuses nationwide. She found that especially freshman and sophomore year, relationships are rare and “hooking up” is the norm. When dating does start, however, it usually stems from a hook-up into a relationship rather than vice versa. Because “hooking up” is what everyone expects his or her peers to do, many individuals feel pressured to join in because “everyone else is doing it”. Though in pressured situations like these my mom always asks me, “Tanya, if everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you,” it is extremely hard to break away from the status quo. One of my friends: lets call her Lucy, came into college with no sexual experience what so ever. On the night of the first football game she was talking to this boy that she has classes with, and they ended up going back to his room. Because the term “hooking up” is so rare, it could be taken to mean any of the bases, from both extremes of just kissing and penetrative sex to somewhere in the middle like oral sex or “fondling”. Where Lucy grew up they took “hooking up” to mean having penetrative intercourse, and because everyone here at Vanderbilt was talking about all their recent “hook ups”, Lucy decided to have sex that night with basically a stranger. Though I embarrassingly will admit, I have done things just to have a story to tell my friends, I think it’s horrible that people feel pressured to lose their virginity just because it is seen as the “norm” in “hooking up” on college campus’s.
Though having more defined terms rather than an umbrella word would be extremely beneficial to the hook-up culture, the ambiguity is part of its charm. Especially due to the sexual double standard among males and females, the term “hooking up” can cover it all without having to be explicit. Girls are a lot of the times looked down upon by girls and seen as “dirty” by boys if they hook-up and sleep with lots of boys. However, when boys sleep with lots of girls they are labeled as “studs”, and idealized by their friends. Therefore, when talking about what happened at some party of over the weekend, females often hope the term “hooking up” makes the sexual encounter seem more innocent and less scandalous. Conversely, even if no sexual intercourse occurred, males often hope the term “hooking up” implies more than actually happened so his friends can look him up to him.
In Deborah Tolman’s “Adolescent Girls’ Sexuality”(NSS 153), this double standard creates a lot of contradictions for adolescent girls, especially, to follow. We must appear to be “sex kittens” but not act on any of our desires and instead keep them bottled up inside. It appears to be the same way on college campuses. We work so hard and finally get to the school of our dreams, but are now told to act a certain way and follow a sort of social “script”. In my opinion, that seems to majorly defeat the purpose. What is the point of telling young girls not to let a man define them when in actuality, we are letting everyone defining us by keeping our sexuality on the back burner.