Addison Smith | Opinions Editor
While driving back from Washington, D.C. this weekend I plugged in my iPod and instead of blasting music, decided to listen to podcasts. I listened to topics ranging from Chris Hardwick and Ed Helms discussing bluegrass music to past episodes of Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me from NPR, but what stuck with me the most was a podcast discussing hook-up culture.
Sex Nerd Sandra is a podcast put out by Nerdist that discusses topics from how alcohol impacts our sex drive to sex toys. However, the Sex Nerd Sandra podcast I listened to this weekend was entitled “Hook-up Culture and History with Dr. Lisa Wade.” It was one of the most eye opening things I had ever listened to and touched on students’ needs and wants to hook up in their college careers.
Did I agree with every piece of information presented in this podcast? No. Do I recommend everyone listens to this podcast? Yes.
The reason you should be so interested in it is because of how much it explains women in general. While it was entitled “Hook-up Culture and History,” it touched more on the history of “hooking-up” and its impact on women.
According to Wade, females are applauded their whole lives when they like something males typically like. If a girl wants to play baseball when she’s a child, she’s applauded for it. If a girl picks up a bug and doesn’t squeal, she’s applauded for it. If a woman in college drinks a whiskey instead of a cosmopolitan, she’s applauded for it. Women have been taught that acting like males in certain senses is an admirable trait and something they will be rewarded for. To applaud a girl for something “manly,” you’re encouraging this hook-up culture to keep spreading.
How? Because if a girl is told to be more “manly,” she will also push feelings far down into herself and want to become more free sexually. If men are against monogamy, women therefore become less interested in monogamy to keep the circle of being applauded for being masculine going.
“Why is this a thing?” I asked myself after listening to the podcast. While I am not truly polyamorous (and if that’s your thing, you do you), I also don’t feel compelled to truly love and care about someone before starting something with him while flirting with other guys on the side. Is it because I was sociologically trained to believe that no commitment and no strings makes me more appealing? Is it because I expect to be applauded for this behavior?
Throughout my life, I will admit to being more liked and even attained more friends because I was into what people call “masculine” things. Half of my friends were gained through my love for hockey, and I am still friends with these people to this day. When I discuss boys I am seeing with female friends, the question of commitment comes up, but with my male friends it’s simply about if there’s any sort of connection. Do these conversations bring us back to Wade’s hypothesis?
Essentially, yes, we are living lives that support the sociological views of Wade. As women, we are taught that doing masculine things is admirable. However, as men, they are taught doing feminine things is socially unacceptable, according to Wade.
To tie this back into a popular culture reference, think of J.D. on Scrubs and all the flak he gets from Dr. Cox and Turk about drinking appletinis. Think of when Turk calls J.D. out for doing effeminate things, Wade is arguing that this happens with most men.
Therefore, where are the “feminine” actions? To Wade, they certainly won’t be seen in college hook-up culture. Nobody wants to be the clingy significant other, because it’s an effeminate action. To college students, being in a relationship or truly caring for someone is scary because we have been conditioned to think we won’t be rewarded for these actions, but rather chastised.
While I am truly fascinated by Wade’s research, I also beg people to listen to it with caution. One woman’s hypothesis and research doesn’t mean you act a certain way due to culture. You’re still an individual, and being lumped into this study doesn’t take away from that. Wade’s research doesn’t define who you are.