What’s Sex Got to do with…Gossip Girl?

A very ambiguous term, hooking up means completely different things to different people. Depending on a person’s age, hooking up can be anything from kissing to sex, or anything in between. A hook-up’s boundaries are practically non-existent. A hook-up can happen between two people who barely know each other and have just met, or between good friends. Bogle’s study reveals however that among college students, a hook up is a sexual interaction between individuals who have no intent of being committed to one another, and often is a one time occurrence, yet is sometimes a recurring event between two individuals.

Among college students and on many television shows, a hook-up typically occurs when individuals are under the influence of alcohol, but alcohol definitely isn’t a prerequisite. Yet typically on television, these are disastrous events and often bring hardships to the individuals who participated. The television show Gossip Girl chronicled the lives of wealthy New York City teens in high school, college, and beyond. Throughout the series, there were numerous hook-ups and relationships between the main and minor characters on the show with many of them causing severe conflicts between characters.

The show however presents hook-ups as something that cause individuals immense regret. Hook-ups are portrayed as mistakes made when drunk between two people who shouldn’t be having sex, yet this is not typically the case in real life. The show presents the idea that alcohol often leads an individual to having sex with the wrong person. Yet, in actuality it isn’t that often when a girl’s best friend sleeps with her boyfriend, a la Blair, Serena, and Nate.

Gossip Girl presents a very skewed view of hooking up. It often showed the worst parts of hooking up, and as a result was often negatively received by parents. Hooking up can be troublesome (other than the risk of pregnancy or STDs), but it often isn’t. The show’s success derived from it showing the worst that could happen from hooking up with someone and the drama it produces and not because of its accuracy in portraying hook-ups.

Why don’t television shows present the reality of hooking up, but instead present the worst parts of it? Is it simply for entertainment purposes, or is it to purposefully put hooking up in a negative light, and if so, why?

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3 thoughts on “What’s Sex Got to do with…Gossip Girl?

  1. I personally watched this show from beginning to end and loved every minute of it. It always had your wondering what was going to happen next, who was going to hookup with who, what drama the hookup was going to produce, and who gossip girl was. The questions the writer asked were “Why don’t television shows present the reality of hooking up, but instead present the worst parts of it? Is it simply for entertainment purposes, or is it to purposefully put hooking up in a negative light, and if so, why?”. I believe that television doesn’t show the reality of hooking up but the worst parts of hooking up because drama and all the other worst parts sell. No one really wants to think of the reality of things but they like to see drama. I also truthfully believe hooking up is portrayed like this in TV shows and movies mainly for entertainment purposes due to the fact that sex sells. I don’t think these directors are trying to show hooking up in a negative light but they will do whatever to make their show/movie a hit.

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  2. I really enjoyed reading this post because I am a big fan of Gossip Girl and have seen every season at least twice. You bring up an interesting argument that this show portrays the negative side of hook up culture. Certain hook ups in this show do drive characters apart and create conflicts that often add intense drama to these shows. In my opinion, shows like these include the drama in the hook ups primarily for ratings and for suspenseful events that are addicting to follow on the television show. I think it is important to question whether or not this non-reality is giving viewers the wrong perspective of what hook up culture entails.

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  3. I’ve watched Gossip Girl over and over again and it is an entertaining show! I never questioned the hook-up culture in the show until I saw the hookup culture in college. I do agree that most of it is for dramatic effect but I also believe that TV shows portray the negative sides of hooking up because it is written by older people who did not experience the dating culture in college. They display the social implications that occur after a hookup because that’s the biggest perspective they get on the hookup culture. It is clear that in the show it is mostly the women regretting what they have done. This shows that even the TV writers are displaying the gender norms that judge women for engaging in promiscuous behavior.

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