Karin Agness

I went inside and overheard more than one young woman complaining about some guy and the lack of dating on campus. They put the blame on the guys, apparently oblivious to their likely complicity in the current hookup arrangements. Since Valentine's Day fell on a Saturday this year, these same conversations were likely happening in bars instead of dessert places.

These women were having a girls' night at Arch's, and certainly those can be a lot of fun. Yet, many of those women are likely the same women who are hooking up with guys and calling it no big deal the next day. In Unhooked, Stepp cites studies showing that almost 80 percent of undergraduates had hooked up.

Freitas finds that even if students are not hooking up that much, they think others are, so hooking up has gained dominance on campus. It is not all the guys' fault; women are partially responsible for the campus culture.

The hookup culture is a tough competitor. Many women are tempted by the instant gratification of a hookup. Even headlines such as "Study: One-Fourth of NYC Residents Have Herpes" from last July seem abstract and are ignored with an it-won't-happen-to-me attitude. Yet, days like Valentine's Day might be able to do more to change the college campuses than scary statistics.

While these young women sit in a dessert shop complaining about men and their lack of a love life, it becomes all too apparent that as much fun as they have hooking up with guys, hooking up is all it is. It is not a real relationship.

Hookups do not buy you flowers, bring you candy, or take you out to dinner.

While men may be content with the hookup culture, it poses special problems for women. Not only are women more likely to end up with a sexually transmitted disease than men, they more quickly tire of the sex without commitment. Instead of leaving women empowered, liberated and fulfilled, it ends up leaving women disappointed, confused, and hurt.

By participating in the hookup culture, women continue to perpetuate it, and this discourages dating.

If books documenting the harmful consequences of the hookup culture on women are not enough to convince more young women to stop, then maybe Feb. 14 did the trick this year or will do so next year. Valentine's Day should be a wake-up call to all young women that they should rethink the hookup culture and their active participation in it.


Karin Agness

Karin Agness is President of the Network of Enlightened Women.
 
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