Hookup Culture: Empowerment or an Unfulfilled Promise?
In a matter of milliseconds, women today feel as if they have acquired the same rights and privileges as men in almost every aspect they can imagine. Because of this, the idea of hookup culture, which some claim is a result of modern feminism, has become popular among young women in their twenties and thirties.
But is hookup culture really empowering women and unlocking new freedoms, or is it instead ultimately leading to a feeling of emptiness and loneliness? Aided in part by the recent headlines claiming that women in their thirties are blaming feminism and hookup culture for their lack of marriage prospects and feelings of singleness, this is a timely topic that deserves an analysis.
To start, it is important to acknowledge that modern feminism has made great strides to empower and liberate women throughout their lives. From equal pay rights and access to higher education to being able to own property, women are no longer confined to the socially constructed boxes of the past. As such, it is only rational that there should also be a newfound sexual liberation.
While the idea of hookup culture itself is not un-empowering, the practice of it has shifted whereas women today feel a pressure to take part in it as a way of being viewed as desirable and liberated. If one is to go out on a Friday night, they should expect to be “hooking up,” if one is to be socially accepted. Because of this, young women can often feel like they have to adhere to this notion in order to fit in, when the reality is that hooking up is a personal preference that a person should be empowered to make choices about.
Furthermore, when taking into account the recent headlines surrounding thirty-something women’s loneliness and singleness, it is important to understand that this does not mean that hookup culture is to blame. Instead, it can be difficult for all women, regardless of their relationship status, to feel empowered in the modern world. Women who enter the workforce often find themselves as the “only” female in a meeting or feel as if they have no real female.
Hookup Culture: A New Social Phenomenon
The new term “hookup culture” has been dominating the popular media for seasons, being used to explain the shift in the traditional dating scene and its effects, particularly among the younger generations. It has become a popular topic of discussion for its potential implications on women, and most especially given the recent revelation that women over 30 are blaming it as a contributor to their loneliness, single status and marriage prospects. Beyond the media discussions, it is important to understand what hookup culture truly is in order to define and address its implications.
Hookup culture refers to casual, non-exclusive sexual relationships. It has been argued to have emerged from the growing trend towards greater sexual freedom and experimentation, as well as changes in societal attitudes towards gender roles and expectations amidst the #MeToo movement. At the core of this phenomenon is the new-age philosophy that prioritizes “hooking up” over traditional dating. That is, the main goal is to find someone to provide one with sexual satisfaction and enjoyment rather than emotional support or attachment.
Considering its emergence, it makes sense that the most usages of “hook-up” is found among young adults in college and university campuses, where it is perceived to be more socially accepted. Studies have even shown that college campuses with membership in Greek life, particularly fraternities and sororities, tend to have higher levels of hookup culture due to their focus on partying and the pressures of fitting in with particular social groups.
It goes without saying that this new casual sexual relationship has its implications on society as a whole. On one hand, it can be viewed as liberating for individuals who prefer to enjoy casual sexual encounters without attachments or expectations. For women, the perception of increased control and power over the pursuit of their sexual pleasure is seen as a positive. On the other hand, it has been argued to potentially pressurize individuals, force them into situations that are uncomfortable or pose a risk to their safety.
For the female demographic in particular, especially for those over 30 who may or may not have had an experience with hookup culture, this phenomenon certainly plays a role in their current situation.