Defying the Hook-Up Culture

October 24, 2014 | Diana Stancy

Millennials are saturated in a culture that values self-gratification.  Colleges and universities provide clear examples demonstrating this trait.  In particular, the “hook-up culture,” a term defining casual and no-strings-attached relationships, has become an integral aspect of college life for many.

Yet who is benefiting from this hook-up culture?  On the surface, this seems like a great solution—it includes the “fun” aspects of a relationship without the commitments or potential heartbreaks that follow.  Even so, the hook-up culture has fostered a generation of individuals who value temporary and unstable relationships as opposed to long-term and healthy ones.

In July 2014, an article by Erica Gordon from Elite Daily addressed problems the hook-up culture has espoused upon dating and furthermore, society.  Gordon explains that the hook-up culture has promoted detached and apathetic approaches to dating in an attempt to maintain a casual demeanor.  She claims:

“The hook-up culture is appealing in part because it is so low-risk.  Keeping things casual ensures that you face much less rejection than you would if you were attempting to take it to the next level.”

As a result, women are settling for lower and lower standards. They are accustomed to ambiguous propositions to “hang out” that require minimal effort planning.  Women have tricked themselves into believing if they continue to hook-up with a guy, eventually, he will fall for them and become a dedicated boyfriend.

Inevitably, women still get their hearts broken when this seemingly foolproof approach fails.  Women are disappointed with the current dating landscape. Gordon elaborates:

“It’s rare for a woman of our generation to meet a man who treats her like a priority instead of an option. Some of the loneliest, most unhappy people I know, have a ton of options and have no problem finding someone to spend the night with. However, they’re lonely because they don’t have anyone they let themselves care enough about to develop a true connection with.”

The root of the problem is evident; while the hook-up culture develops a physical relationship between two people, it fails to establish the emotional connection necessary for a fulfilling relationship. This casual approach conditions us to believe that all relationships are in fact temporary.  By repeatedly investing in short-term relationships, millennials do not develop the skills required to sustain a lasting relationship.  Its no wonder divorce rates are so high.

Where did this problem originate?  How did it become a part of modern society?  Danielle Crittenden evaluates this question in her book, “What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us,” and designates feminism as the culprit.

The feminist movement stripped women of their feminine identities and instead, told women that the only way they could achieve equality with men was acting like men.  Crittenden asserts:

“So long as we persist in pretending that our sexuality is essentially the same as men’s, we will be unable to confront the very real problems that arise from our difference” (46).

These problems Crittenden refers to explain why the hook-up culture is detrimental to women, more so than men.  By denying that biological differences exist, society has brainwashed women into thinking their innate longings are unrealistic and has encouraged women to settle.  Crittenden further suggests:

“The desire to be courted, to have sex with someone you love as opposed to just barely know, to be certain of a man’s affection and loyalty—these are deep female cravings that did not vanish with the sexual revolution” (39).

Feminism cannot overcome biology.  The hook-up culture, offspring of the feminist movement that intended to give women sexual equality with men, has resulted in women feeling less empowered more dissatisfied with their romantic prospects.  Universally, women are hoping for more.  More depth to a relationship, more stability, more commitment, and more emotional connection.

Is there a solution?  Gordon suggests that honest and evident intentions are necessary for serious relationships to thrive.  She concludes:

“Let’s find fulfillment by taking some risks, harboring self-discipline and laying our hearts on the line in the good, old-fashioned way.  You’ll be a better person for it, and maybe grow up a little along the way.”

We should face reality. Women are dissatisfied with the hook-up arrangement and the only way to accomplish change is to dismiss this sub-par model.  What would happen if women as a whole rejected the hook-up culture? Men eventually would get the picture and hold themselves to a higher standard.  In the meantime ladies, we need you to help turn the tables on modern dating culture by taking a stand.

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