I was snowed in, stuck in a blizzard here in Washington, DC, when I got “the news.” The New York Times? Talking to me about hookup culture? I was excited, but notably crushed by the article, a hopeless observation of a new “problem with no name.”
The New York Times has given up on hookup culture. They declared that we, as women, were desperate and lonely. We were stuck with other women (the horror!) and we were stuck searching for partners who treated us right. We were being cheated on, and treated like dirt. And the reason for all of this, they say, is not the men we’re dating, the culture we’re living in, or the assumption that we want to get married in the first place.
The problem the The New York Times identified was college admissions numbers.
The article, relying on gender stereotypes, said that the longer colleges admitted so many women, the longer men would have the power to shape the dating landscapes on campuses. Why? Well, because women need these men. Women need their approval, need to love them, to marry them; therefore, women have to choose between being The New York Times prude orThe New York Times slut. When men are in the majority, they control the culture. When men aren’t, they still do. And the problem?
The New York Times really thinks the problem is admissions numbers.
I wrote a letter to solve this problem, and submitted it via email from my couch. My goal wasn’t to be angry or upset, or to go on and on about all the boys that never call and the hookups that become heartaches. My goal was just to let them know that I have suffered at the hands of hookup culture, too, and that I didn’t do it because I went to college to get married or find anyone else’s approval. I am fulfilled just as I am, and that is why this culture hasn’t taken away anything more from me than some of my pride.
My goal was to make them think about how little admissions numbers have to do with hookup culture and partners who don’t respect us.
To whom it may concern,
Last semester, I found myself grief-stricken by college hookup culture. No longer a myth and instead an institution of most contemporary collegiate lives, it has taken its strongest sexually empowered soldiers through the dirt. When I read “The New Math on Campus,” I was struck by your observation that women were being treated badly by hookup culture, and people of all genders were frustrated with it. But I was even more struck by what the article chose to highlight: that these women were lonely and seemingly desperate to be a part of this.
I would like for your staff to do a piece on a hookup culture that does not accept it, but challenges the root causes and assumptions. The problem with hookup culture isn’t marriage, or sex, but the belief that single women are being hurt by their success and not their colleagues. These women are going places! And your staff has no idea.