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?

What’s Sex Got to do With Bases?

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What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “bases?” When I hear this word baseball is the first thing that comes to mind, but would you believe me if I told you bases can refer to sex? Well believe it because every base is a step to going all the way with your partner. In my opinion, first base is kissing, second base is touching or playing with one’s private part, third base is oral sex, and a home plate is penetrating the penis into the vagina. Kathleen Bogle defines the usage of bases in two different ways. The first way was from “only yesterday:” first base is kissing, second base is deep kissing, plus groping and fondling, third base is oral sex, and home plate is going all the way. In today’s world was the second way: first base is deep kissing, second base is oral sex, third base is going all the way, and home plate is learning each other’s name. From personal experiences I would agree with Kathleen Bogle’s second definition of bases.

In this situation bases can also refer to going on dates or hanging out. For example, my first year at Vanderbilt I met a girl and the first time we hung out we were deep kissing. The second time we hung out we had oral, and by the third time we hung out we went all the way. After going all the way my partner and I started to go on dates and attend events together. Looking back on the situation it amazes me how so called relationships on college campuses work. Like Kathleen said we have sex first and then get to know each other.

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Why is it that in today’s world we have sex first then get to know someone after sex? How would you define these bases?  Do you still hear people use the base terminology in today’s world?

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?

What’s Sex got to do with…Hook up Economics?

 

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?