Tue. July 16
Time to Unhook from “Hook-up Feminism”
Trite. Boring. Eye-roll. Lame. So 2003.
These all came to mind when I saw that the New York Times had published the latest gushy piece about how hooking up frees women to focus on their academic and career lives. Didn’t Kate Taylor get the memo from Hanna Rosin about how “feminist progress right now largely depends on the existence of the hookup culture”? She gave the world the great news that, “Women can delay marriage and have temporary relationships that don’t derail education or career.”
They just get raped at a frat house, have an abortion, and get HPV in the meantime.
Sorry if that sounds harsh, but that is what the hook-up culture is “doing for women.” One study the Times article itself cites found that fourteen percent of college women were sexually assaulted—often while drunk. Other studies show that as many as one-fourth of women feel “out of control” while having hook-up sex, and more than ten percent of women hooking up feel pressured into the encounter. Almost 100,000 cases of booze-fueled date rape are reported annually. That’s a lot of hook-up rape. Women under 24 account for more than half of all annual abortions. That’s a lot of hook-up death. And just about half of all women have HPV—which, as we all know, can cause certain forms of cancer and infertility. The CDC basically says that if you are sexually active, plan on getting it. That’s a lot of hook-up disease.
Instead of continuing to regurgitate the same trope about how hooking up with someone with whom one can’t even stand to have coffee “is so empowering for women” (in the words of one woman profiled in the Times piece), could we all just back up and ask one question: Are serious relationships and marriage incompatible with career?
As a career-minded woman who fashioned herself marrying sometime at 30 after a couple years of dating, but instead met The One at 24 and got engaged after five months of dating, married six months later, and was pregnant 11 months after that, I can speak for myself: No. My career took off after getting married, and accelerated even more after having a baby.
Think about it. Having emotional support from a committed and lifelong partner, being liberated from the perils and anxieties of the dating world, spending your evenings and weekends with your best friend and love of your life is like constant defibrillation. Bad day at work? You have someone who will always take your call. Nervous before a speech? You have someone to listen to you rehearse over and over again. Just feeling down? You have someone to pop the cork off a bottle of wine and sit down and just listen.
Or you could sext or drunk dial your sex buddy?
The next generation of women needs to free itself from the preconceived notions of the feminists of the generation prior. Yes, they gave us some good things: we can’t get fired for getting pregnant, our boss can’t slap us on the behind and get away with it, and our husbands can’t beat us and then leave us. But the most recent variation of feminism also gave us a vision of sexuality that has cost some 55 million lives to abortion, infected us with countless sexually transmitted diseases, and led us to believe that having drunk sex with strangers is not just okay, but the golden ticket to career success.
Instead of hooking-up, let’s unhook ourselves from their feminism and forge our own. And let’s begin by questioning some of the most prevalent premises that undergird popular thinking about women today. The premise that marriage is incompatible with career is a good starting point.