Dating in college…

As you look around Vanderbilt‘s campus, there is a very strong hook-up culture, and dating is a rare sight to see.  This phenomenon described in “Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on Campus” by Kathleen A. Bogle.  To do her study she chose a random sample of college students and interviewed them in order to get their perspectives of what goes on on the college campus and why they may believe it is happening.

Bogle states that the term “hooking up” has many different meanings throughout the college campus, whether it is considered just kissing and nothing more, or the whole shebang. It varies on where the person grew up their religious status or their culture in general, and their gender. This is considered the “script” which is defined as how culture norms affect how one acts in society. In this case, Vanderbilt is a predominantly white upper class institution and many students are in sororities and fraternities. For men, being in a fraternity is very appealing for the woman on the college campus, while for men one of the only things that matter to them is looks. With this being said, many people partake in the drinking scene on weekends, altering their perceptions.  While the girls are dressed in scandalous clothing for the most part while drinking with the boys; the hookup scene more often participated in than on the weekdays.  The hookup scene is centered around alcohol in college because it helps facilitate interaction between two people.  People tend to think alcohol makes the parties more fun because they do stuff that they are not willing to do when they are more and partake in more sexual acts. Do you believe this to be true for yourself? Or do you see it happening around you while you are out on the weekends?

Fraternities and Sororities are not the only ones playing a large role in the hook up culture; male athletes are partaking in the culture also.  One of the main stereotypes for a male athlete is that they have so much “swagger” and popularity that they could pull any women they wish and at any time.  So when it comes to hooking up for them the girls come flocking.  This could be because girls are also looking for popularity or see the possibility of a good future in these athletes. Therefore if they partake in the hook up scene now, maybe they will have a better chance of engaging in a relationship later on after college.

Many hookups happen with friends or with someone that a friend of yours matched you up with (as mentioned by Bogle).  They partake in these hookups, because they know a relationship is not ideal during this time of life.  Especially for the male, because the more hookups a male can get the more he is idolized in the male society. While females are looked at as dirty, or “whores” for having many male hookups so they have to protect their reputation. This is called the “sexual double standard” in Bogle’s book.  Sexual double standards happen a lot in the hookup culture, but not much is done about it and nor will there probably ever be a change.  It has become a solid social script that society seems so be comfortable with.  Would you attempt to make a change in this script? Or do you think it is impossible to change and pointless to try?

As talked about previously, Bogle states that dating in college is a difficult thing to do, because boys and girls have very different viewpoints on the subject during this time.  She says that men are more interested in the hooking up and popularity scene while females are more into relationships.  But, Bogle’s interviews suggest that men are finding it easy to find females to engage in their hookups. Do you feel that this doesn’t quite match up with the statistics that many females are not hooking up?

Also, there is the idea that relationships and prospective marriages are jobs for after graduation.  College is a time to focus on studies and finding out who you are while you are not under the supervision of your parents.  So, if you are in a relationship during your college years, how do you know that person is the one for you if you have not looked around?

Tying into the topic of hook up culture is rape culture.  The hook up culture tends to give more leeway into rape culture, because men are not getting what they desire if they do not agree to a relationship because girls do not want to ruin their reputation with too many hook ups. So while college students are impaired by alcohol at the weekend parties and dressed to impress, many find it hard to resist the sexual desires that they see in each other and may act on it without consent of the other.


Fortunately, the hook up culture ends after college and dating returns. Why? Students are no longer in close enough premise of each other where they can see each other with ease.  Now they have to put in the extra effort to see each other so one is not willing to put in all the extra effort if they do not see a future with that person.



Do you think there is a hook up culture in schools that may be solely male or female?


****All information came from the book “Hooking up” by Kathleen Bogle and in class notes.

2 thoughts on “Dating in college…

  1. I think it’s possible but pointless to try and make changes, because our society will not allow changes to be made. For example, we have women going around referring to other women as sluts and bitches. If we want change it has to start with ourselves. Kathleen Bogle says, “Many hookups happen with friends or with someone that a friend of yours matched you up with.” Then you say it’s because they know relationships don’t exist at theses ages. Another reason it’s pointless to me. If we go around telling ourselves relationships don’t exist then that’s what people will think. If our society improves would the double standard change?


  2. i think hooking up doesn’t have to have alcohol involve. i think hooking up college campus is norm because when you talking about two people who hormones are just jumping out the roof and they just decide to have sex. people have sexual needs that must be meant and i think that plays a part in hookup culture. i also think there is a double standard when it comes to hooking up on campus. its a norm to a group of guys when one of them sleep with a lot of girl. its celebrated but its the total opposite when it comes to females.


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