By Carly Berndt, For The Miami Student
In the least cliché and self-deprecating way this can possibly sound, I have always felt like the “odd one out” in my group of friends when it comes to a few consistent subjects. Such things include whether double-dipping is an acceptable activity or not, how many times a week (read: month) the garbage actually has to be taken out, whether high heels should be an Uptown staple, and many other issues ranking near the Israeli-Palestinian crisis in degree of importance.
One issue where I’ve seen the greatest divide, mostly among our generation, as well as those older and younger than us, is the phenomenon known as “hookup culture.”
In its most basic, Wikipedia-defined form, hookup culture is the acceptance or encouragement of casual sexual activity. In terms of my understanding, it’s whenever I go home to visit family and my mother’s friends ask her if I’m “interested in men” because I still don’t have a boyfriend.
Much like double-dipping, I have found this hookup culture “epidemic” to be an issue that is split 50/50; people are either completely in support, or entirely outraged. An avid double-dipper, I fall under the former category.
A large part of my support of hookup culture stems from my semester long stint in Intro to Women’s and Gender Studies.
Among the many topics we covered, we discussed different types of feminism. In our conversations, I found an academic basis for those who are either in support or in opposition of hookup culture.
The branch of feminism, which falls under “in support of” category, is labeled as “Sex-Positive Feminism.” At its core, this is in support of a woman’s right to do what she wants with her body within the lines of consent. Covered under this widely accepting umbrella is the support and encouragement of sexual relationships outside of committed partnerships, like your traditional “boyfriend/girlfriend” setup.
“Radical Feminism” is the branch of feminism that discourages and opposes hookup culture. The thought is that causal sexual relationships help to uphold patriarchy and the current “gender binary,” which is essentially a collective term for all the stereotypes that restrict men and women.
My biggest issue with the viewpoint of radical feminists in regards to hookup culture behavior is that it tells women what they should or should not to with their bodies.
Any restriction of this sort is a method of oppression.
This puts all the responsibility and blame on women, and in a sense, leaves men off the hook.
Most people I know who discourage hookup culture are people who confuse supporting the choice to have casual sex with being opposed to a committed relationship.
It’s similar to the bad reputation traditional feminism gets with “man-hating.” The point of accepting hookup culture is no different than the point of accepting gender, race, sexual orientation or any other personal choice. These personal choices are not made to intentionally harm a person or group of people.
The term “hookup culture” has a generally negative connotation tied to it, often conjuring the “anti-relationship” sentiments.
This is not actually the drive behind the acceptance of the movement. Again, similarly to the negative connotation that can be tied to feminism with the association of “man-bashing,” the founding of beliefs and opinions based off the meaning tied to labels leads to potentially oppressive misconceptions.
The decision to pursue casual hookups is not better or worse than choosing to be in a committed sexual or nonsexual relationship.
Human sexuality is a biological given. The only thing that arises when it is oppressed, opposed or forced into change is wildly negative misconceptions and prejudices formed towards people, much like those that exist among those of different sex and race.