Hook-up culture: Why women go along

Do young women today prefer hooking up to having a serious suitor?

Among college students and young professionals, serious relationships and marriage are out—while “hooking up” for a night is commonplace. Does that mean women are being exploited in a culture created for the benefit of frat boys? asked Hanna Rosin in The Atlantic. If you talk to young women, you’ll quickly realize that the answer is no. In fact, it’s “women—not men—who are perpetuating the culture.” Today, young women are outperforming men in college and in the workplace, and they value their success and independence. They know that once they marry or enter a serious relationship, they’ll be pressured to defer or downgrade their own ambitions. For them, a serious suitor “fills the same role an accidental pregnancy did in the late 19th century: a danger to be avoided at all costs, lest it get in the way of a promising future.” They hook up for fun and a bit of temporary companionship; whether social conservatives like it or not, these new feminists say they find casual sex empowering—not degrading.

I simply don’t believe it, said Maggie Gallagher in NationalReview.com. In her obvious attempt “to shock the conscience of a trendy nation (yawn),” Rosin implies that the few women she interviewed speak for all young women. But one 2010 study found that just 2 percent of female college students preferred hooking up to traditional dating. To succeed, do women really need to be “fierce amazons” who view love as a trap? said Erika Christakis in Time.com. One Yale sorority girl Rosin interviewed admitted that after many meaningless sexual encounters, what she really longed for was “some guy to ask me out on a date to the frozen yogurt place.” Kind of pathetic, no?

The problem here isn’t the young women, said Amanda Marcotte in Slate.com. It’s the young men. Today, a lot of women say, the guys they date are needy, immature momma’s boys who expect their girlfriends to bolster their fragile egos, clean up their messes, and organize their time and social lives. As a result, young women are concluding that “maintaining a boyfriend is so much work” that it precludes building a life and career of their own. So let’s stop “scolding women for their self-defeating bed-hopping.” Start blaming the men, who should learn how to be “a value-add to the lives of their girlfriends, instead of a burden.”

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