Seeing Double

Kathleen Bogle’s book, Hooking Up, devotes an entire chapter to discussing the double standard as it exists on college campuses. In it, she illustrates how women are seen as “good” if they do not have sex with many people, do not dress provocatively, and take things slow and wait awhile to have sex. A “bad” girl is one who may be incredibly sexy, but has sex with many men, dresses improperly, and has sex when she wants to. Bogle’s research has shown that men and women in hookup cultures want different things; men want only sex and women want relationships. Now, (setting aside psychological reasons like women being more emotional and getting attached more easily) some women are looking for relationships because they want to marry in a few years. Other women may feel the need to be in relationships to protect their reputations and not be labeled “sluts” for having sex. As far as sex goes, men can have sex as much as they want to without having to worry about any sort of social backlash; they have basically no rules. For women, however, it is a different story.  It is very easy for a woman to get a bad reputation– if she hooks up too often, hooks up with too many different people, hooks up with two friends (or frat brothers), dresses too scandalously, or behaves too wildly. When women do engage in these no-no’s, they are labeled as “sluts,” stigmatized, ostracized, and not seen as candidates for relationships. It seems women who want to be in relationships almost have to trick or coerce the men to be in them. Bogle found that guys are a little more willing to enter into friends-with-benefits relationships, although they are still worried about women wanting “more.” Because clearly men and women want different things, men want hookups and women want relationships, why do women not opt-out? Men are in a higher position of power within hookup culture, because that is all that they want. If women choose not to participate in hookup culture, they don’t really have any other options.

As an undergraduate female at Vanderbilt, I have seen, and even experienced firsthand, much of the double standard and differing goals of male and female students. One guy I’ve heard of is extremely well known for hooking up with lots of girls; people who talk of him almost regard him with a sort of awe. On the other hand, my female friend was once worrying about being seen dancing on guys at parties, as she didn’t want to get a bad rep like some other girls who were known for sleeping around. Guys really don’t have many “rules” governing what kind of behavior is acceptable. Hooking up with someone else’s girlfriend may make him mad at you, but you’ll still probably gain a lot of esteem from your friends. Really, guys can hook up with whomever they want, whenever they want, and not face much (if any) stigma. Girls, however, have to watch their steps. I do not agree with these labels or stigma, but I am describing what I see as dominant scripts here on campus. A woman who avoids sex and parties altogether may be branded a “good girl,” someone innocent and naive, or possibly a “goody-goody” who stands on a moral high ground above the other people who do engage in those behaviors. She can’t be too “good,” but woman cannot go too far in the other direction either. If she drinks and parties too much, she may get a name for that, especially if she makes a habit of getting “sloppily” drunk, passing out, or throwing up. If a woman has sex with too many people, she is seen as a “slut,” and then is less desirable. If a woman is looking for a relationship, she can’t have sex with the candidate too soon, or else he won’t see her as relationship material (I just want to point out that it takes two to tango here, he had sex just as soon as she did). Now, a woman’s safest bet here is to have a boyfriend (if she can snag one), or even a friend-with-benefits. She wouldn’t be judged for sleeping with too many people, or regarded as “too good” to hook up with anyone.

The problem is that a large amount of guys are not looking for relationships. They view college, especially the first couple years, as a time to let loose and have fun. Everyone just wants to party and live the college experience, right? I think that many freshmen, guys and girls, come into college with this mentality, but that over time, it gradually changes. I agree that girls are more likely to want relationships, but that there is no clear course to finding one when hooking up seems to be the only option.

I think this double standard is completely ridiculous, though the solution is not to start slut-shaming men equally. Men and women should be able to have sex whenever, however, and with whomever they want (with consent). No one should have to feel embarrassed about their sexuality. Having sex does not make someone a bad person. Our culture needs to recognize women as sexual beings with desires of their own who can make choices for themselves and do not need the fear of outside judgment to keep them in line. It is absurd to me that today, in 2014, men and women are still not equals. They may be protected from discriminatory practices by law, but in social situations with socially constructed rules and scripts for behavior, men are often favored.

How do you think we can work to eradicate the double standard? Why do you think guys do not seem to want relationships, but girls do? Does the double standard apply to non-heterosexual and non-cisgender people?

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What’s Sex got to do with… Mono?

We all know that if you have sex, you have a chance of getting STD’s. This risk is surely higher within hookup cultures, where it is normal to have many partners, for anything from kissing to intercourse. We don’t always think about how a hookup culture could contribute to the spread of other diseases, like mono for instance. Continue reading

What’s sex got to do with… Boyfriends?

Dating in college… it almost seems like a long lost past time. Other than the occasional long distance relationship or high school sweetheart, what are the odds of seeing a relationship in college? Hook-up culture is such a prevalent thing now-a-days in college students, dating seems like a lost art. However, I will say for the few out there who came into college with boyfriends, I definitely feel as if hook-up culture is seen from an entirely different lens.
In Kathleen A. Bogle’s book, Hooking Up, she discusses how in the 1960’s the concept of dating shifted to what we know as hookup culture. This was specifically seen on college campuses. She explains how college parties present opportunities for sexual encounters, and alcohol as another huge contributor to college hook ups. This is due to alcohol weakening a person’s inhibition and increasing their chances of engaging in sexual acts. Now there’s nothing inherently wrong with casual encounters and sex, after all, it is a natural part of life for people. However, I find the attitudes toward college to be polar opposite between someone with a boyfriend in college and someone without. It’s interesting how we, as college students, don’t even realize how much of an effect “hook-up culture” has on us… from what we wear when we go out, to where we go, to how much we drink… everything is based off of the hope and assumption that we MIGHT meet someone when we go out. I mean who doesn’t dress to impress the opposite sex? Life with a boyfriend in college makes you realize the extremities of hook up culture. With a boyfriend, there’s no pressure to always look your best or partake in the hooking up: no walk of shames, or regretful nights, or awkward “next day encounters.”
I think there’s definitely an unspoken pressure among college students these days to partake in hookup culture. Having a boyfriend can alleviate the assumption that you will hook up with someone. And of course there’s the classic line: “I’m sorry, I have a boyfriend” which can save you from almost any situation. I think without even realizing it, we overlook how big of an impact the “hookup culture” in college truly has. Although casual sex has been something that has gone on for years, I think in recent years this idea of hooking up has been the driving force behind many decisions made by young people in college regarding going out and how to act.
So the real question is: is it better to go into college with a boyfriend? Or is it simply a myth that girls act a different way in college when they have boyfriends versus when they don’t? How does having a boyfriend lessen social pressures when going out…

When Will Universities Finally Understand?

As rape cases are becoming more and more public on university campuses, more is being done with this terrible problem of sexual assault. One out of every five females will be sexually assaulted on campus and one out of sixteen males will be sexually assaulted on campus. Why are these numbers so high on campuses and how can we stop this problem? It seems like the more people know about this, the more people will do something about it. On November 19, 2014, an article was released by Rolling Stone magazine about a rape that happened on the University of Virginia’s campus to a freshman girl. She is just now sharing her horrific story, but sadly it’s a story that is too similar to other rape victims.

From Rugby Road to Vinegar Hill, we’re gonna get drunk tonight
The faculty’s afraid of us, they know we’re in the right
So fill up your cups, your loving cups, as full as full can be
As long as love and liquor last, we’ll drink to the U of V
—”Rugby Road,” traditional University of Virginia fight song

This fight song sets the stage for the female student that was raped on Virginia’s campus because of the effect that alcohol had on her perpetrators and the influence it has around campus. After reading about what happened to “Jackie” (the name was changed in the article to Jackie for her anonymity), many things line up perfectly with what we have discussed in class and with what has happened in other cases of rape victims. In the article, one of the quotes that I could most relate to was: “Jackie’s orientation leader had warned her that UVA students’ schedules were so packed that “no one has time to date – people just hook up.” We find this same type of culture on the Vanderbilt campus. I wonder if it has to do with the level of academics at both universities- the students are so dedicated to succeeding in the classroom and with extra-cirriculars that they do not feel the desire to date or have the time. Do you think this is a valid reason for hooking up? Do you see this trend on campus or with other campuses?

In class we learned that conservative estimates suggest that twenty five percent of women experience sexual assault in their lifetimes and about eighteen percent of those assaults involve rape. Also, eighty to ninety percent of sexual assaults are perpetuated by an acquaintance. This was true for Jackie. She went out to dinner with a Junior in one of the best fraternities on UVA’s campus and afterward went to the fraternity house for a party. They went upstairs to “talk” and when she got in the room there were other guys in there waiting for her. A sad and scary quote she gave in the article was about what one of the guys said about her: “Grab its motherfucking leg,” she heard a voice say. And that’s when Jackie knew she was going to be raped.” This quote can be a reality for many people, more common than what we realize. Jackie was raped by multiple college fraternity guys in a small amount of time and could not protect herself. Forty four percent of United States sexual assaults are perceived to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and this was no exception in Jackie’s case. She explained how for three hours she could smell marijuana and hearing them drinking alcohol while seven different men took turns raping her. They abused her sexually and violently and Jackie escaped around three am once she was finally alone and she woke up. 

Once Jackie escaped the horrific scene and found her friends, the friends did not want to take her to the hospital because it would ruin their reputations on campus and Jackie’s. In the article, it explains how Jackie recalls what was said from her friends about what to do; “Jackie listened as Cindy prevailed over the group: “She’s gonna be the girl who cried ‘rape,’ and we’ll never be allowed into any frat party again.” I believe that this issue is why many people do not report when they have been a victim of sexual assault. It is a topic that can hurt so many people, that victims are afraid to share what had happened to them. The fear of reliving the story and the fear of their perpetrators out weighs their ability to go to an authoritative figure who can help. While I was reading this, I was wondering if the University of Virginia had an organization like Project Safe on campus. After the representatives from Project Safe came to our classroom, I realized that this organization is necessary on every campus because it truly is a safe place for people to get help and learn what their next step is after being a victim of sexual assault. One in five women are sexually assaulted on campus but only twelve percent actually report the crime to the police. The importance of an organization like Project Safe would have helped Jackie figure out what exactly she needed to do. 

What are the next steps to prevent something terrible from happening on campus like it did to Jackie? How do you think we could better educate people about the seriousness of sexual assault on campus? This needs to end but I believe it begins with us.

Bogle’s Three Sexual Scripts…How Have Things Changed?

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In Kathleen A. Bogle’s novel Hooking Up, she describes the three sexual scripts throughout history and how we have gotten to the script we are at today. The first script is called “calling culture” and was primary until the mid-1920s. Calling culture was dictated by the girl and her mom. Her mom had all the power to say who is allowed to come into their home and “court” the girl. Courting was considered as “more of a career move than a romantic interlude for young men” (http://www.literary-liaisons.com/article009.html). Courting was done with the intent to marry, and was generally acted upon by members of the upper class. It is a perfect example of gender and power because the mother and daughter had all of the power in this situation. The boy would attempt to call the daughter, and the mother would decide if she wanted to invite the boy in or not. In addition, the young women would have multiple suiters, an idea that is exactly opposite than in today’s world because in many cultures, males are allowed to have multiple girlfriends or even wives. The mom had two major jobs in calling culture. First, she was to make sure that things between the daughter and a suiter did not go too far. She knew that there was always a logical line. Thankfully, knowing that this was more of a business decision for both parties saying that “all of a woman’s property reverted to [the man] upon marriage” (http://www.literary-liaisons.com/article009.html), neither the daughter nor her suitor led either of them on when they weren’t serious in the relationship. The second job by the mom was to keep lines of appropriateness and suitability intact.

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After calling culture led to dating culture. Dating culture lasted throughout the 1920s-1960s. Surprisingly, dating culture in this time was used in the lower class. The word “dating” was considered as a derogatory term because when there was no more room in the lower-class home for a couple to have a date, they had to go out somewhere else to have time together. The couples were much more independent and were able to have much more time for themselves, so the upper class soon adopted dating culture. The younger crowd was who was most into dating and they realized that if they could go out to different places, then they would get more alone time. In the first two months of dating culture, women tended to judge men on their looks, what fraternity they were in, their memberships, and what they had materially. On the other hand, men tended to rate women solely on their looks. I believe this idea, that women were rated solely on their looks, and the idea that the transportation to get to the dates was tough led into hookup culture.

Hookup culture started in the mid-60s and still goes on today currently. Hookup culture occurs in high schools, colleges, and even after college, but the majority of hookup culture occurs in college. Hookup culture for males is defined as hooking up with as many women as they can and then being congratulated for it. If females did the same thing, on the other hand, they would gain derogatory labels like “slut” or “whore”.

I think this portion of Bogle’s novel titled Hooking Up relates significantly to the concept analysis post written by @starrsara14 titled “What’s Sex Got to Do With…Does This Shirt Make Me Look Like a Slut?” Personally, I found this blog post incredibly interesting and relatable. I think this relates to Bogle’s description of the 3 sexual scripts significantly between the dating and hookup stages of the sexual script. The two reasons why I believe the dating changed to hookup is one, because of the  transportation issue of dating and two, because of the fact that women were only judged by the men on their looks. I believe that this idea made the change into hookup culture because the idea of hooking up, specifically on college campuses, begins with when a guy thinks a girl is cute, they start flirting and then they go for it. The guys feel like they can just go for it because when they hookup with girls, they are congratulated for it. On the other hand, when girls hook up with a lot of guys, they gain stigmatizing labels like “slut”. This specifically leads to the idea of girls not wanting to look like a slut with the clothes that they wear because they don’t want to gain these specific derogatory labels. The idea that males only judge females on what they look like and even what they are wearing makes girls gain the labels like “slut” that they try to avoid. This, in turn, is one of the reasons that girls went from having the power in the relationship in calling culture to having very little power in hookup culture.

An example of this idea that girls don’t have the power in relationships anymore is shown in the MTV reality TV series “16 and Pregnant”. This show is filmed with a lot of unrealistic drama, but the message I am trying to portray happens in our society more and more every day. Maci, a girl from Chattanooga, TN and her boyfriend Ryan had a little boy together named Bentley. Recently, Ryan chose to randomly leave Maci and Bentley. This is a perfect example of how girls don’t get treated with a portion of respect in modern day culture than they did in calling culture before the 1920s.

The real question behind this is simple: how did we get from calling culture, where women had the power of the relationship, to hookup culture, where women have very little power and only gain social stigmas? Is my evaluation right, or is there more to it? Also, why does one gender have to be in power in hookup culture? Marriages are supposed to be equal, so why in hookup culture does one gender have to gain all the sexual labels and one be congratulated for hooking up with people?