For me, the most important concept to understand the relationship between sex and society is heteronormativity. The Oxford dictionary defines heteronormativity as “denoting or relating to a world view that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation.” Throughout the semester we have seen how much this concept plays out in our modern world despite burgeoning support for the LGBTQI community.
In chapter four of Hooking Up, Bogle tackles how the sexual double standard isinfluenced by hook-up culture. While people might assume that hook up culture liberates women and grants them the ability to satisfy their sexual needs without facing judgment, we know that, historically, women’s’ sexual expression will usually be judged harsher than men’s’ no matter what.
The Duggar family made their national TV debut in 2008 when 17 Kids and Counting aired on TLC. Fast forward 6 years, two more kids, and and a couple grandchildren later and the show is now 19 Kids and Counting and still airing today. But maybe not for much longer…
An article posted on November 19th from the Huffington Post reports that a new petition from change.org, started by Jim Wissick of San Jose, CA, is calling for the cancellation of the Duggars’ series because of the families’ discriminatory feelings toward the LGBT community.
In his letter to TLC, Wissick explained that “The Duggars have been using their fame to promote discrimination, hate, and fear-mongering against gays and transgendered people.” Fear-inducing practices are a recurring pattern we’ve seen towards the LGBT community. For example in Pascoe’s essay, “‘Guys are just homophobic,’” he writes that analyzing boys’ homophobic practices as a ‘fag discourse’ shows that their behavior reflects not just a fear of same sex desire, but a specific fear of men’s same sex desire.” (NSS 177). The idea of the “predatory fag” and attaching scariness to homosexuals is something that we’ve seen as a popular but ignorant discourse. For whatever reason, scare tactics are a strategic means of discrimination because it is human nature to want to avoid things we perceive as “fearful.”
Likewise, in the documentary (A)sexual, at the pride parade we saw many people react to David and his team with fear. They were hesitant to accepting informational pamphlets about asexuality almost as if it was an illness they could contract. Again, we see ignorance and fear as a common reaction to “non-normative” sexual identities.
Furthermore, the oldest Duggar, Josh, is the executive director of the anti-gay Family Research Council’s legislative group, a Christian lobbying group, which openly opposes gay marriage and goes as far as to link pedophilia with homosexuality. This sort of illogic and unintelligence in regard to minority groups is unfortunately accepted amongst discriminatory folks. Rather than being accepting and tolerant of diversity they dismiss and demean it. For example, we saw this play out in the misconception of homosexuality as a disease or illness in some cultures of the 19th century.
I am afraid, that despite the strides the LGBT community in garnering acceptance by society, there are still many people practicing unjustified and uninformed discrimination. What’s worse is when these people are media figures, such as the Duggar family. The media is a pedagogical force that should only purport messages of equality and acceptance.
What do you think about this petition to cancel the series? Should media figures be held to higher standards when it comes to acts of discrimination? Do you think the principle of “freedom of speech” is ever exploited to justify discrimination?
This article published by The Rolling Stone on November 19th, echoes everything we’ve been discussing in regards to sexual assault on college campuses. The article focuses on UVA, specifically, but from our discussion we know that this is an issue plaguing dozens of universities in the nation. However, I was absolutely floored when I read about UVA’s actions toward sexual assault and rape incidents. I’m afraid that UVA is not the only school guilty of this conduct and that’s the scariest part. How many other prestigious institutions are sweeping sexual assault under the rug for the sake of their reputation and funding?
Way back at the beginning of the semester we were introduced to Marxist ideas about sex. One of the main ideas was that because of its focus on performance, sex has come to resemble work. With the shift towards a corporate culture comes a whole new set of values and beliefs. People are no longing working to live but rather living to work and with this shift comes a shift in priorities. This work-hard mentality is also present on college campuses, specifically the ivy leagues and other particularly rigorous universities. Because of this, Kate Taylor, in an article for The New York Times, argues that college aged women, at Penn for example, embrace hook-up culture because having causal sexual interactions is more productive and conducive to their busy schedules than investing in a relationship. We’ve analyzed hook up culture from many different lenses (class, race, sexuality) and now we have an economic perspective on it.
One of the interviewees of the article, a Penn junior, explains that she doesn’t want a relationship because of the “cost benefit” analyses and the “low risk and low investment costs” associated with hooking up. This may seem like an extremely technically approach to the complicated hooking up scene on college campuses but for this girl (who’s name was left out for anonymity) this is her means of justification behind it. She goes on to explain, “If I’m sober, I’m working.” Not only does her busy schedule not allow for an intimate relationship but there is also the risk that something better might come alone. For example, she says that her and her friends, “are very aware of cost-benefit issues and trading up and trading down, so no one wants to be too tied to someone that, you know, may not be the person they want to be with in a couple of months.” Where have we seen this rhetoric before? That’s right– when discussing boys and their opposition to commitment. There tends to be a common underlying belief that guys don’t want to settle down with one girl out of fear that something better will come around. However, if both men and women share this fear, as the interviewee and her friends seem to suggest, then its no wonder that casual hook up encounters are going to flourish on college campuses. Hooking up allows for both men and women to act on natural sexual impulses without being emotionally and temporally invested.
This is contradictory to what Bogle argues in her exploration of hook up culture. From her interviewing experience she finds that college-aged women are, in fact, looking for a relationship and thus end up hurt and unfulfilled from just hooking up. She says that men believe some women are looking for sex but most are looking for relationships and conversely that women believe men are looking for relationships but most just want sex. This miscommunication amongst genders is what makes hook up culture unappealing to women since she suggests that most are in pursuit of a relationship.
So whose findings are more accurate–Bogles or Taylors? While Hooking Up was written in 2008 and this article is from 2013 perhaps the 5-year gap accounts for a change in female college students’ priorities and desires. Or perhaps it varies from school to school. Women at ivy leagues are probably more likely to put academic achievement above intimate relationships. Or by age– underclassman women who are far from graduation are more likely to play the field than women about to graduate and are rapidly approaching the ominous “real world,” in which a career and marriage are typical social scripts.
How do you think women approach the economics of hooking up? Have we changed from the old “going to college for an Mrs. Degree” days? Or are women truly inconvenienced by relationships and thus opt for causal hook ups? What about men, what is their overarching justification for preferring hooking up besides stereotypical commitment fears? Is hook up culture economically savvy (in terms of time and priorities) or is it just an arbitrary adolescent-hormones-raging phenomenon?
When you think of “capital” what comes to mind? Green? The O’Jay’s hit “For the Love of Money” that was the theme song for The Celebrity Apprentice? Or perhaps you think back to your glory board-game-playing days in which you dominated monopoly every time. When we think of capital we tend to think in terms of dollar bills and wealth. However, after finishing our global and transnational unit, it has become clear that wealth is not the only source of capital.