I was really excited to read these chapters as I will be seventeen in a little over a month, and this was almost a sneak peak into my future. These chapters focused mainly on the development and repercussions of hook up culture, in the ways it has been incorrectly associated as a result of the Free Love movements in the 70’s, the double standards it perpetrates, expectations it creates mainly for girls, and it’s development into normalizing sexual harassment and rape. Sales describes the hookup culture, very alive in colleges and high schools, as a way many students have been able to find sex without the emotional attachments. And at first glance it seems it benefits both sides, but it turns this culture causes many women to feel empty inside and even become slightly depressed. Women describe hook ups as emotionally draining and they use excessive amounts of alcohol as a method to keep themselves emotionally distant, as they are expected to be. This also continues to create the extreme double standard of men being rewarded and praised for having numerous sexual partners and bragging about them, while women are shamed and called “sluts” or “whores” for having even one sexual partner if they aren’t dating or haven’t been dating for very long. And these double standards continue to confuse and annoy women as it creates a persona they must keep up where they aren’t “too slutty” but also not “too prudish”. This impossible balance produces an expectation for women to basically become submissive to men, allowing them to do sexually inappropriate things to themselves or their peers at parties or even in school. Teen girls Sales talks to report being almost afraid to say anything, knowing they will be teased and harassed if they dare say anything. Many also claim that they find it common and normal and don’t see how speaking up could change anything. This has also lead Sales to find the troubling tread of girls and women not realizing, at the time, that the things men and boys were doing to them were considered sexual harassment. Women claim that these things happen so often they don’t perceive it as sexual harassment, although they don’t like it, its become so commonplace women feel like its just a fact of life. They allow men to touch them or speak to them sexually without their consent because they believe there isn’t anything they can do. And this allowance of sexual harassment and the growth of hookup culture has developed into a alarming increase of rapes, that often give little justice to the victim if reported. Many times it seems people believe the lines become blurred between consent and rape when both people are drunk. And women have commonly been taught rape prevention(which can also be considered victim blaming as women are told not to dress “too sexy” or to drink or flirt with men) and rapist prevention is rarely mentioned. These chapters look into a shocking development of men sexually controlling women and the women becoming submissive, believing they have no other choice, which proves that hook up culture is not free love or sexual liberation.
Sales continues to use words and phrases she finds as a commonality in the teens she talks to, but in this chapter she also uses some words that came more from the feminist movement in the 70’s.
Hooking Up(v)- usually strangers making out or having sex one night at a party, and usually never talking to each other again; this is also used in “Hookup Culture” which describes the new sense in which young adults are expected to “hookup” with people at parties pg 234
Text by Committee(n)- texts that are sent after a group of friends contemplate and decide the perfect response(usually a group of girl friends helping their friend respond to a boy she likes) pg 231
Sexual Liberation(n)-an allowance, mostly for women, to have sex before marriage or sex with people outside of the marriage pg 59
Cuffing Season(n)-during winter when couples stay together just to be “together” because of the cold weather pg 268
Roofie(n)- a drug, usually a benzodiazepine sedative and hypnotic drug, combination that usually a man slips into a girls drink when she isn’t looking to make it easier for him to rape her pg 312
Sales argues the differences between hook up culture and the free love and sexual liberation movements of the 70’s. Many argue that this culture has allowed us to live in the world idealized by these thinkers of that time, but Sales retorts that there is no real “freedom” and that women still are not allowed to be an equal in sexual experiences, especially hook-ups.
” ‘Hookup culture’ is not a phrase that’s used to describe a blissful state of free love in which men and women enjoy each other sexually in an atmosphere of mutual respect. It’s not free love as envisioned by Utopians and feminists of the past. The term as acquired a negative connotation, based on reports from young people experiencing hookup culture themselves, as well as many studies of it’s effects. For years, especially since the mid-2000s, with the emergence of websites and blogs, young women have been voicing their dissatisfaction. (“Really fuckin hate this hookup culture,” said a Yik Yak post in New York.) Young women talk about bad sex and a lack of intimacy, about the scarcity of relationships, and the persistent double standard in which women who hook up are judged while men who do the same have scored. When it comes to women’s sexuality, we still seem to be locked in a struggle between the Victorian and the modern eras, seeing women as modest or promiscuous, often accommodating no middle ground.(“Guys: liking casual sex doesn’t make a girl a slut,” said another Yik Yak post.)” pg 234-235
Sales also points out the alarming fact that many teenage girls won’t do anything about sexual harassment towards themselves or their peers, partly because it’s so normal and partly because they don’t want the backlash.
“So these were empowered, privileged girls, girls who saw themselves as future doctors. And yet they didn’t feel they could speak up when they were being sexually harassed in a high school classroom.” pg 272
And as Sales continues to the even bigger threat of rape, she reflects at the complete passivity of the girls of all ages and races and backgrounds. All the girls she talked to in some way or form had begun to mold themselves and become submissive to please boys.
“She talked about ‘getting passed out’ as if it were something that just happened to her, as if she were passive in the experience. There were moments in other interviews when an impression of passivity among girls came up: the girls in Montclair saying how they felt they had to placate boys who asked them for nudes, lest there be retaliation; girls all over saying they felt there was nothing they could do when nudes were put up on slut pages; Lily in Garden City and others saying they felt they had to put on makeup and dress a certain way in order to attract boys and fit in with girls; the girls in Boca saying they felt they couldn’t speak up against sexual harassment; Jennifer Powell-Lunder saying outright, ‘Something about social media is making girls more submissive to boys.’ ” pg 312-313
At the end of Chapter six Sales describes a horrifying gang-rape of a nineteen-year-old girl in Panama City Beach in the middle of the day, “…as she lay unconscious in a lounge chair,”. She was on a spring break trip, and this is just one of many stories of girls being rapped during spring break. One story this reminded me of was that of Brittanee Drexel who was gang-raped, shot, and left in an “gator pit” in April of 2009 while also on a spring break trip. This case has been brought back into the medias attention as an inmate allegedly witnessed her death and rape, and has given the FBI more information on the case. Unfortunately Brittanee Drexel’s body has not been found yet and no one has been arrested in connection with her case, although some of the main suspects are currently serving time for unrelated charges.
More information on the case here