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?