Search results for hook up

Cross-posted at the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, and BlogHer.

In an Op-Ed article on hookup culture in college, Bob Laird links binge drinking and casual sex to sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, confusion, low self-esteem, unhappiness, vomiting, ethical retardation, low grades and emotional inadequacy. “How nice of The Times to include this leftover piece from 1957 today,” snarked a reader in the online comments.

Fair enough, but Laird is more than out of touch. He also fundamentally misunderstands hookup culture, the relationships that form within it and the real source of the problems arising from some sexual relationships.

Laird makes the common mistake of assuming that casual sex is rampant on college campuses. It’s true that more than 90% of students say that their campus is characterized by a hookup culture.  But in fact, no more than 20% of students hook up very often; one-third of them abstain from hooking up altogether, and the remainder are occasional participators.

If you do the math, this is what you get: The median number of college hookups for a graduating senior is seven. This includes instances in which there was intercourse, but also times when two people just made out with their clothes on. The typical student acquires only two new sexual partners during college. Half of all hookups are with someone the person has hooked up with before. A quarter of students will be virgins when they graduate.

In other words, there’s no bacchanalian orgy on college campuses, so we can stop wringing our hands about that.

Laird argues that students aren’t interested in and won’t form relationships if “they are simply focused on the next hookup.” Wrong. The majority of students — 70% of women and 73% of men —report that they’d like to have a committed relationship, and 95% of women and 77% of men prefer dating to hooking up. In fact, about three-quarters of students will enter a long-term monogamous relationship while in college.

And it’s by hooking up that many students form these monogamous relationships. Roughly, they go from a first hookup, to a “regular hookup,” to perhaps something that my students call “exclusive” — which means monogamous but not in a relationship — and then, finally, they have “the talk” and form a relationship.  As they get more serious, they become more sexually involved (source):

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Come to think of it, this is how most relationships are formed — through a period of increasing intimacy that, at some point, ends in a conversation about commitment. Those crazy kids.

So, students are forming relationships in hookup culture; they’re just doing it in ways that Laird probably doesn’t like or recognize.

Finally, Laird assumes that relationships are emotionally safer than casual sex, especially for women.  Not necessarily. Hookup culture certainly exposes women to high rates of emotional trauma and physical assault, but relationships do not protect women from these things. Recall that relationships are the context for domestic violence, rape and spousal murder.

It’s not hooking up that makes women vulnerable, it’s patriarchy. Accordingly, studies of college students have found that, in many ways, hookups are safer than relationships. A bad hookup can be acutely bad; a bad relationship can mean entering a cycle of abuse that takes months to end, bringing with it wrecked friendships, depression, restraining orders, stalking, controlling behavior, physical and emotional abuse, jealousy and exhausting efforts to end or save the relationship.

Laird’s views seem to be driven by a hookup culture bogeyman. It might scare him at night, but it’s not real.  Actual research on hookup culture tells a very different story, one that makes college life look much more mundane.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a Visiting Scholar at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming Introduction to Sociology text. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Summer means writing!

We’re all breathing a sigh of relief now that the semester is over!  Gwen and I are both looking forward to making lots of progress on writing projects over the summer!  Myra Marx Ferree and I should be finishing our sociology of gender textbook within months and I can hardly wait!

Twitter love:

We reached a milestone on Twitter.  12,000 followers and counting!

12000 twitter

12,000 followers means lots of love!

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We freaking love you too, Eli!

Upcoming lectures and appearances:

I am officially on sabbatical and writing full time, but I’d love to use my flexible schedule to do lots of public speaking as well.   I have great talks on the value of friendship, the biology of sex differencesthe politics of genital cutting and, of course, hook up culture.  And I do a pretty decent AKD induction ceremony/commencement speech.

I’ve already scheduled my first talk for next year. I’ll be part of the Bastian Diversity Lecture Series at Westminster College in Salt Lake City.  Looking forward to it already!

Virtual friends:

We continue to be thrilled to see SocImages’ posts cross-promoted on other sites.  Here are some graduation season-themed highlights of the month:

New Pinterest board on rape culture:

In response to the sudden public interest in sexual violence, we decided to begin a rape culture Pinterest board.  I recommend visiting with a stiff drink in hand.  If you’re sensitive to images of sexual violence, I wouldn’t go at all.

SocImages has 25 Pinterest boards and some of them aren’t horribly depressing!  You can visit our new guide or check out some of our more popular themes: sexy toy make-overswhat color is flesh?gendered housework and parenting“subliminal” sexual symbolism, and violence in fashion.

The national movement against sexual assault:

SocImages continues to follow the national movement to use Title IX to reform sexual assault adjudication on college — and now, rumor has it, middle school and high school — campuses.  Dartmouth, UC Berkeley, and USC, among others, are the most recent schools to file complaints with the federal government.

This month we posted about the role of social networking in the movement and covered the faculty votes of “no confidence” in higher level administrators at Occidental College.  I also had the opportunity to give a 12 minute interview to KPFK about the developments at my campus (you can listen here, starting at 28:30).

Social media:

SocImages is on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and Pinterest.  Lisa is on Facebook and most of the team is on Twitter: @lisawade@gwensharpnv@familyunequal@carolineheldman, and @jaylivingston.

In other news…

I thought I’d share this nice shot from just after commencement at Occidental College.  To my left and right are two of the professors who have joined with students to lead the national movement against sexual assault: Dr. Caroline Heldman and Dr. Danielle Dirks.  In other words, some badass chicks right there.  Follow them on twitter @carolineheldman and @danielledirks!

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Lisa Wade, PhD is a Visiting Scholar at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming Introduction to Sociology text. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

SocImages News:

Updates on Image Guides

We are super excited to have a new Image Guide!  UCLA graduate student Calvin N. Ho has collected and organized our posts on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.  His excellent guide joins our others:

If you’d be interested in writing a guide on one of the other racial/ethnic groups — or on anything at all! — we’d be glad to make it available.  We’re even happy to have duplicate Guides, since every instructor is different.  Analytics show that thousands of professors visit these guides every year, so we’re eager to be able to offer more.

New Pinterest Board

We also have a new Pinterest page: the social construction of flavor.  If you’ve never heard of cucumber Pepsi, celery-flavored JELL-O, seaweed Pringles, whiskey toothpaste, or the delicious combination of ham and jelly, then this board is for you!

We’ve got 24 Pinterest boards, including sexy toy make-overs, what color is flesh?, gendered housework and parenting“subliminal” sexual symbolism, and violence in fashion.  Maggie particularly likes “Women vs. People,” which collects images that expose the fact that men are usually the default human (thanks Maggie!):

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Elsewhere on the Net:

This month SocImages or its authors were quoted in…

Cross-post highlights…

Upcoming Lectures and Appearances:

I go on sabbatical next year to write in earnest, but I’d love to use my flexible schedule to do lots of public speaking as well.  Visit my website if you’d be interested in having me.  I have great talks on the value of friendship, the biology of sex differencesthe politics of genital cutting and, of course, hook up culture.  And I do a pretty decent AKD induction ceremony/commencement speech.

I’ve already scheduled my first talk for next year; I’ll be part of the Bastian Diversity Lecture Series at Westminster College in Salt Lake City.  Looking forward to it already!

Tweets of the Month:

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Aw shucks.

Social Media ‘n’ Stuff:

Finally, this is your monthly reminder that SocImages is on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and Pinterest.  Lisa is on Facebook and most of the team is on Twitter: @lisawade@gwensharpnv@familyunequal@carolineheldman, and @jaylivingston.

In Other News…

I want to send a shout out to all the great people I met at the University of Akron this month!  Here are two pictures: one of my ascent out of Los Angeles and the other from the airport on my way home, waiting for the white-out to clear.  Oh earth, you play such tricks!

Los Angeles:
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Ohio:

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Lisa Wade, PhD is a Visiting Scholar at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming Introduction to Sociology text. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

TODAY WE HAVE THE BEST NEWS EVER!

Sociological Images founder and author and, more importantly, my Best Friend is now tenured!  Congratulations Gwen Sharp!  You are a genius, a damn good person, and you make people laugh.  Nevada State College is incredibly to have you.  Everyone else should follow you on Twitter!

SocImages News:

Tomorrow we’re launching a competition for a new logo.  The top five sketches will receive $50 each and the winner will be invited to work with us to design a polished logo for $500. We hope you can help us spread the invitation far and wide!

Someone liked our post on high heels as a marker of distinction among women enough to cross-post it at Alternet.  Us?  We’re just happy to spread the word of good ol’ Pierre Bourdieu.  In any case, we hope it’s the first of many!

I’m quoted, starting with the phrase “Let’s be frank,” in an article at Bitch about an administrative reluctance to take steps to improve the sexual assault policy at Occidental College and the ongoing efforts to make us a leader in this regard.

Speaking of sex at Oxy, a video recording of my talk on hook up culture at Occidental College is available here.  The sheer enthusiasm of our wonderful students makes up for the bad lighting.  You’re the greatest y’all!

Thanks to PolicyMic, the Huffington Post, and Jezebel for featuring our posts on everything from data on porn stars to vintage baby cages and our fight at Oxy.

Updates on Image Guides:

Sociology doctoral student Calvin Ho put together a set of his favorite SocImages posts about Asian and Asian America.  It’s a great collection and we’re hoping he’ll revise it into an Image Guide.

I organized our a selection of our vintage stuff for Women’s History month and have published it here.

If you are a graduate student or professor who would like to make an Image Guide, we would love to hear from you!  It requires picking a topic, browsing our archives, pulling out the most compelling posts, and arranging them in ways other instructors would find familiar and convenient.  The guides can cover entire courses or be designed to help illustrate a theory, article, or book.  Only the most fabulous sociologists do it.

Upcoming Lectures and Appearances:

The semester is starting to wind down and I enjoyed giving campus-wide talks at Harvard, Queen’s University, Pomona College, and my own lovely Occidental.  Just two more before the semester is up:

  • Apr. 2 — Citrus College — “The Promise and Peril of Hook Up ‘Culture’” (11:30am Handy Campus Center East Wing)
  • Apr. 19 — University of Akron — “Anatomy of an Outrage: Female Genital Cutting and the Politics of Acculturation”; AKD Induction Ceremony Speech

I go on sabbatical next year to write in earnest, but I’d love to use my flexible schedule to do lots of public speaking as well.  Visit my website if you’d be interested in having me.  I have great talks on the value of friendship, the biology of sex differencesthe politics of genital cutting and, of course, hook up culture.  For Akron this year I’m doing an AKD Induction Ceremony Speech.  Who can think of something nice to say about sociology? I can!!!

Tweets that Make Us Blush: 3Thanks Cassie!

Also, may we take a minute to have a giant nerd crush on Shankar Vedantam? He tweeted us twice this month!  TWICE!

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Social Media ‘n’ Stuff:

This is your monthly reminder that SocImages is on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and Pinterest.  Lisa is on Facebook and, sigh, Google+.  Most of the team is on Twitter: @lisawade@gwensharpnv@familyunequal@carolineheldman, and @jaylivingston.

In Other News…

Gwen Sharp has decided to use the new protection of tenure to start the Cockroach Liberation Front (CLF), dedicating to refurbishing the invertebrate’s image and fighting for their equal rights (recognition and redistribution).

The CLF’s first mission is to oppose the use of the cockroach in scientific experimentation. To that end, they staged a protest at the laboratory of a biologist at a local college, publicly exposing the senseless torture of these sensitive and complicated creatures.

CLF (1)

Sociological Images stands with the CLF. Anyone who likes TV shows and cake is a friend of ours… and they should be a friend of yours too.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a Visiting Scholar at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming Introduction to Sociology text. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

I just got home from a great visit to Ontario.  A huge “thank you” to the Health, Counseling, and Disability Services folks at Queen’s University. I had such fun sharing my research and learned a lot!

More Talks!

I’m looking forward to going back to Harvard in a couple weeks to give a lecture that’s close to my heart, “A Feminist Defense of Friendship.” It’s got a wonderful message and, equally importantly, it’s the cutest talk I have!  Really!

Then it’s Pomona College on March 27th, the Western Political Science Association the next two days, and the University of Akron for a special Sociology Department Keynote and Commencement Address.  What an honor!  I get to talk about my research on American discourses about “female genital mutilation” and what it can teach us about the future of progressive, multicultural democracies.

Next Year?

This month I got word that I will be on sabbatical next year and I would love to do lots of traveling, so please feel free to consider bringing me out for a visit!  Among the others, I have a new talk I’m dying to work up titled “Hook Up Culture: A History.”  It’s a wild ride through some crazy and surprising American history and explains everything.

New Pinterest Page:

I was inspired by the response to our post on the male neutral — i.e., men and people and women are women (2,000 likes!) — to make it a Pinterest page.  Check out the 48 pins at our Women vs. People board.

In the News:

Speaking of…

On the heels of publishing our post calling out the sexualized insult — e.g., “you suck” — Bess S. sent us the following screenshot.  “Note the headline up top,” she wrote.

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Social Media ‘n’ Stuff:

Finally, this is your monthly reminder that SocImages is on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and Pinterest.  Lisa is on Facebook and most of the team is on Twitter: @lisawade@gwensharpnv@familyunequal@carolineheldman, and @jaylivingston.

Tweet of the Month:

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Lisa Wade, PhD is a Visiting Scholar at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming Introduction to Sociology text. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

SocImages News:

A huge “thank you” to all of the nearly 30,000 readers who liked and shared our post The Balancing Act of Being Female; Or, Why Women Wear So Many Clothes!  I’m thrilled that it stuck such a nerve!

In Twitter news, SocImages’ account reached 10,000 followers!

I’m also pleased to announce a new relationship with PolicyMic, a site dedicated to democratic media for the Millennial generation. I’ll be posting select stuff there.  (Special thanks to Sam Meier!)  I’ve re-started my blog on The Huffington Post as well.

Thanks, as well, to Jezebel, Racialicious, and Ms. Magazine for re-posting our bits about:

Tonight at 7pm I’m giving a public lecture about hook up culture on the campus of Occidental College in Los Angeles.  If you’re in town and would like to drop by, we can convene for drinks afterward!

Upcoming Lectures and Appearances:

I have six talks scheduled for Spring. If you’re in Kingston, Boston, or Akron, I’d love to schedule a meet up!

  • Jan. 31 — Occidental College — “‘The Night Overall Wasn’t Bad’: Oxy Students on Hooking Up”
  • Feb. 26 — Queen’s University of Kingston — Hook Up Culture Lecture and Workshop
  • Mar. 8-14 — Harvard University — “A Feminist Defense of Friendship”
  • Mar. 27 — Ponoma College — “‘The Night Overall Wasn’t Bad’: What College Students Really Think About Hooking Up”
  • Mar. 28-30 — Western Political Science Association (Hollywood, CA) — panels on “Public Intellectualism” and the “Twenty-First Century Sex Wars”
  • Apr. 19 — University of Akron — “Anatomy of an Outrage: Female Genital Cutting and the Politics of Acculturation”

Social Media ‘n’ Stuff:

Finally, this is your monthly reminder that SocImages is on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and Pinterest.  Lisa is on Facebook and most of the team is on Twitter: @lisawade@gwensharpnv@familyunequal@carolineheldman, and @jaylivingston.

In Other News…

I was in Costa Rica this month and this — a wild sloth that came down from the trees to cross the path — was my favorite moment of the trip.  After he climbed into the forest on the other side, I actually burst into tears.
You would’ve too! Look at that face!!!

Lisa Wade, PhD is a Visiting Scholar at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming Introduction to Sociology text. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

SocImages News:

In betwixt the holidays, we’ve been keeping busy.  I booked an additional talk for the Spring; I’ll be visiting Queen’s University of Kingston to talk about the relationship between hook up culture and sexual assault (see upcoming lectures for details).  I always try to squeeze in a Meet Up when I travel so, if you’re in the area, keep your eyes peeled for an announcement!

Speaking of college kids gone wild, I was tickled to get the last word in this Bloomberg article by Chris Staiti on bad behavior in the Ivy League.  I concurred that there were some pretty gnarly things going on at the Ivies, but closed out the piece with this comment:

Colleges are a microcosm of American society. It’s a story of hormone-driven kids packed into dorms like sardines. And what we see when we look there — the glamorization of casual sex; the binge-drinking; the crude, insensitive humor; the homophobia; the racism — is a story about us.

So, that was a treat!

Since many people have had kids and toys on the brain this past month, you might be interested in listening to my appearance as a guest expert on At Issue with Ben Merens for Wisconsin Public Radio.  I talked with the host and guests about the history, politics, and economics of gender-segregated toys, plus gave a little advice to parents (download).

SocImages was also cross-posted at Jezebel (How Infant and Toddler Girls Learn to Beautify) and Ms. (The Truth About Pink and Blue Brains) and enjoyed links from French SlateMarginal RevolutionThe IndependentThe FriskyBitchAfroSpear, and GigaOm.

All in all, a great month!  Oh, and we reached 21,000 Facebook followers and are SO CLOSE to 10,000 on Twitter! Hopefully that’ll be part of our news for January.

Upcoming Lectures:

  • Western Political Science Association (Hollywood, CA, Mar. 28-30): panels on “Public Intellectualism” and the “Twenty-First Century Sex Wars”
  • Harvard University (Women’s Week, Mar. 8-14): “A Feminist Defense of Friendship”
  • University of Akron (Apr. 19): “Anatomy of an Outrage: Female Genital Cutting and the Politics of Acculturation”
  • Queen’s University of Kingston (Feb. 26): “‘The Night Overall Wasn’t Bad’: What College Students Really Think About Hooking Up”

Social Media ‘n’ Stuff:

Finally, this is your monthly reminder that SocImages is on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and Pinterest.  Lisa is on Facebook and most of the team is on Twitter: @lisadwade@gwensharpnv@familyunequal@carolineheldman@jaylivingston, and @wendyphd.

In Other News…

Both Gwen and I will be in South America for the beginning of January, so hopefully we’ll have some fabulous photos to share next month!

Lisa Wade, PhD is a Visiting Scholar at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming Introduction to Sociology text. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

While I’m most well-known for my work on hook up culture, I’ve written extensively on a different topic altogether: how Americans talk about female genital cutting practices (FGCs), better known as female genital “mutilation.”  While FGCs are passionately opposed by essentially all Americans who learn about them, our understanding of the practices is, in fact, skewed by misinformation, ethnocentrism, and a history of portraying Africa as naively “backwards” or cruelly “barbaric.”

The main source of distortion has been the mass media.  Aiming to encourage journalists to think twice when covering the topic, the Hastings Center has released a report by the Public Policy Advisory Network on Female Genital Surgeries in Africa.  In the rest of this post, I briefly discuss some of the things they want journalists — and the rest of us — to know and add a couple of my own:

Using the word “mutilation” is counterproductive.

People who support genital cutting typically believe that a cut body is a more aesthetically pleasing one.  The term “mutilation” may appeal to certain Westerners, but people in communities where cutting occurs largely find the term confusing or offensive.

Media coverage usually focuses on one of the more rare types of genital cutting: infibulation.

Infibulation involves trimming and fusing the labia so as to close the vulva, leaving an opening in the back for intercourse, urination, and menses.  In fact, 10% of the procedures involve infibulation.  The remainder involve trimming, cutting, or scarification of the clitoris, clitoral hood (prepuce), or labia minora or majora.  While none of these procedures likely sound appealing, some are more extensive than others.

Research has shown that women with cutting are sexually responsive.

Women who have undergone genital surgeries report “rich sexual lives, including desire, arousal, orgasm, and satisfaction…”  This is true among women who have experienced clitoral reductions and undergone infibulation, as well as women who’ve undergone lesser forms of cutting.

Health complications of genital cutting “represent the exception rather than the rule.”

News reports often include long lists of acute and long-term negative medical consequences of FGCs, and these may feel intuitively true, but efforts to document their incidence suggest that health problems are, for the most part, no more common in cut than uncut women.  The Report concludes: “…from a public health point of view, the vast majority of genital surgeries in Africa are safe, even with current procedures and under current conditions.”

Girls are not generally cut in response to the influence of cruel patriarchs.

Most societies that cut girls also cut boys; some groups that engage in cutting have relatively permissive sexual rules for women, some do not; and female genital cutting practices are typically controlled and organized by women (correspondingly, men control male genital surgeries).

FGCs are not an “African practice.”

The procedures we label “female genital mutilation” occur only in some parts of Africa and occur outside of the continent as well (source):

Moreover, cosmetic genital surgeries in the U.S. are among the fastest growing procedures.  These include clitoral reduction, circumcision of the clitoral foreskin, labia trimming, and vaginal tightening, not to mention mons liposuction, collagen injected into the g-spot, color correction of the vulva, and anal bleaching.  While it would be simplistic to say that these are the same as the procedures we typically call “mutilation,” they are not totally different either.

Western-led efforts to eliminate FGCs are largely ineffective and sometimes backfire.

It turns out that people don’t appreciate being told that they are barbaric, ignorant of their own bodies, or cruel to their children.  Benevolent strangers who try to stop cutting in communities, as well as top-down laws instituted by politicians (often in response to Western pressure), are very rarely successful.  The most impressive interventions have involved giving communities resources to achieve whatever goals they desire and getting out of the way.

In sum, it’s high time Americans adopt a more balanced view of female genital cutting practices.  Reading The Hastings Center Report is a good start.  You might also pick up Genital Cutting and Transnational Sisterhood by Stanlie James and Claire Robertson.  Full text links to my papers on the topic, including a discourse analysis of 30 years of the academic conversation, can be found here.

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Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College.  She frequently delivers public lectures about female genital cutting. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.