Reading “The End of Sex”

by Catie on June 14, 2013 · 4 comments

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I was looking for a couple good books to read over the summer that might pertain to women’s issues today, and I came across a new book by Donna Freitas titled The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy. After reading a summary, this book struck me as especially important. Hookup culture is definitely dominant among people my age, and I hoped to hear a fresh take on the role of women in this culture.

Prior to reading about a third of this book (which is where I’m at right now) I had heard several feminist arguments that noncommittal sex was a benefit to women. In fact, Freitas quotes Hannah Rosin, a journalist and proponent of hookup culture, who represents the dominant feminist perspective:

To put it crudely, feminist progress right now largely depends on the existence of the hookup culture. And to a surprising degree, it is women– not men– who are perpetuating the culture, especially in school, cannily manipulating it to make space for their success, always keeping their own ends in mind. For college girls these days, an overly serious suitor fills the same role an accidental pregnancy did in the 19th century: a danger to be avoided at all costs, lest it get in the way of a promising future (Freitas 8).

Freitas’s research, however, suggests that this argument is misleading and may be the mask behind which today’s youth hides the despair and emptiness that accompanies hookup culture. She writes that this culture is detrimental to women and men and cannot be classified as only a woman’s issue. The more I read, the more I formed the opinion that the hookup culture was perpetuated by the left as a way for women to free themselves from past restrictions on behavior. I commented on an earlier blog that I believe women in our modern culture have moved forward in a particular sense. But simply being allowed to do whatever we please is not making any of us (men or women) happier or healthier. Perhaps feminists are partially perpetuating hookup culture as a way of getting revenge on men for past injustices. Women can now also have meaningless sex while

cunningly manipulating it to make space for their success, always keeping their own ends in mind. (16)

But was the real crime that men enacted this behavior on women, or was it that this behavior was occurring in the first place? I don’t think the solution to creating a better society for women includes women behaving in the same despicable ways men did. I am excited to continue moving through this book, and I hope Freitas provides some solutions for steering our culture in a different direction.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr. Ed Cutting June 15, 2013 at 7:51 am

Respectfully, I think you are missing the larger issue — what would happen to the feminists if women – particularly young women – were in stable, enjoyable and nondestructive relationships with men? Bluntly, if guys didn’t treat girls badly?
What if there were no “violence against women” — yes many point out that women are just about as likely to be the perpetrator as victim of violence (see, for example, some of the things Cathy Young has written) — and while there are no where near as many women injured and killed by domestic violence as the radical feminists would have us believe, it does happen. What if it didn’t?

Think of all the people who wouldn’t have jobs anymore. (I’d really like to see someone do a research project into all of the stuff that the VAWA is funding — what Eisenhower said about the military/industrial complex is most definitely true regarding the domestic violence industry. There are exceptions, and not just in the sciences (Christina Hoff Sommers was once a Philosophy Professor at Clark University in Worcester, MA), but how many female professors do you know that would have something to talk about, or write about, or go to conferences about if men & women were able to get along with each other — as they did for most of human history.

It is not unlike a lot of the toll roads — the Massachusetts Turnpike being a good example. It was built in the 1950s with 30-year bonds, kinda like a mortgage. Well in the ’80s, the folks running the ‘pike realized that if they paid off the bonds, they wouldn’t be collecting tolls anymore, and if they weren’t collecting tolls, they wouldn’t have jobs. So they quickly found all kinds of things that they needed to spend money on and floated new bonds.

It’s the same thing with the feminists. They *need* women in the “hook up culture” *BECAUSE* women are harmed by it — they need women who are harmed.

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Dr. Ed Cutting June 15, 2013 at 7:57 am

I’m going to go one step further. Men and women are different and in generations past, boys were taught how to relate to women while girls were taught how to relate to men — both sexes were conditioned to tolerate the differences of the other — and to give the other his/her “space” at times as well. Furthermore, they were taught to put their mate ahead of themselves, it wasn’t just women taught this, and we had stable marriages and Betty Fredan.

What percentage of college women are on an antidepressant today? It’s a LOT. And ask C.H.Sommers about the “war on boys” — it’s real — and these are going to be the men in women’s lives — and that’s an issue too.

Like I said, if men & women could get along with each other, a lot of radical feminists wouldn’t have jobs….

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Catie Verano June 17, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Thank you for your feedback! You make some interesting points. I intend on developing some more of my thoughts in future blogs as I work my way through the book.

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Dr. Ed Cutting June 18, 2013 at 1:26 am

Read _Brave New World_. It was written prior to WW-II, when people didn’t know what a man named Hitler would do with concepts of eugenics. And it was quite controversial in its day because of its discussion of a nonchalant “hookup” culture where babies were produced in factories, and where sex was without commitment or consequences. OR, as the book points out, attachment. I’d like to see where a young lady of your generation goes with that — I can guess, but I’d like to see it.

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