Blog 2 – Donna Frietas’ The End of Sex

I found Frietas’ writing to be very relatable and intriguing. Hearing what the culture that I live in looks like from the outside really made me realize how “hookup culture” has negatively affected gender relations.

Something that stuck out to me in the reading was Frietas’ comment on the vague aspects of the term hookup. Especially at Notre Dame, hooking up could be such a wide range of things and I never thought about why we purposefully use such an undefinable term. Frietas’ argued that we do it in a way to imply that either more or less happened than what actually did.

I had never realized that the phrase “walk of shame” was such a derogatory term until our class discussion. If the whole purpose of our hookup culture is sexual liberation then why is the act of walking home the next day shameful for women? The way that men dress for parties in nearly the same clothing they wear to class while women wear significantly less. It definitely draws a lot more attention if a woman is walking down south quad in her going out clothes than it does for men. I have definitely used this term jokingly to describe but I will definitely think of the term differently now.

I am glad that Frietas’ chose to draw attention to the rise of sexual assault on campus due to the increasing number of college hookups that happen. With alcohol as the major ingredient for most campus hookups, it means that the majority of sexual contact that happens at these parties could be classified as assault. It is devastating that all of us are contributing to these rising statistics and I would hope that these numbers can slow down eventually.

I had the opportunity to read past the conclusion of the book and noticed an interesting note in the appendix. Frietas’ writes a note to parents hoping to help their children to foster a better future on college campuses. Some of the things on the list included telling the story of how they met, telling their children about past romances they had, discussing with them while applying to colleges how they hope to find meaningful relationships there and more. Something I would add to this list is teaching kids to understand the importance of consent to both boys and girls. These are things I would hope to do as a parent because I think they would protect my children from instances of assault due to hookup culture as well as helping them find the relationships that they deserve.

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5 Comments

  1. Sierra,
    I too had no idea that that we purposely use the term hookup to keep an air of ambiguity surrounding the culture itself. I have definitely found myself, as well as some of my friends using the word hookup in order to keep things vague and undefined, just to make it sound better.
    I find it interesting that you described the hookup culture at Notre Dame as being about sexual liberation, because from what I have seen, hookup culture at Notre Dame is a way to avoid having relationships that would distract one from academics.
    The last point I would like to make is actually more of a question. You mentioned how, because alcohol is a major factor in many hookups, a majority of hookups can be classified as sexual assault. I find this to be both interesting and thought provoking. The questions I would like to ask is how would we be able to classify them as assault, especially if both parties are equally intoxicated, and subsequently how would we go about addressing guilt.

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  2. Hi Logan!
    I was kind of just playing around with the definition of sexual assault. If both parties are too drunk to consent then it is hard to decide who is the victim and who is the assaulter. I think that our society has just become too desensitized to the textbook definition of assault; when someone is too drunk to consent. Something else I was thinking of in relation to the topic is how drunk is drunk enough to consider the hookup to be a question of assault. So I guess to answer your question the issue we are struggling with is that the only way to classify an instance as assault is if one of the parties feels like they were assaulted. Hookup culture is so dangerous because when alcohol is involved it is very easy for a good-hearted, well-meaning person to find themselves in a situation where they have taken advantage of someone without even knowing it.

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  3. Hi Sierra!
    I really liked what you mentioned about hookup culture and the vagueness surrounding the term. I personally had not really considered the larger scale of the many different interpretations of hookups, especially how women also alter the clarity of the word. In my experience, my female friends tend to not discuss hookups at all, especially when compared to the prevalence of these comments from men. Frietas’ insights were slightly unexpected; have you experienced this vagueness by women at Notre Dame?

    I also enjoyed your thoughts on the appendix. Before reading your blog, I had not read Frietas’ note to parents but was quick to go back and read that portion of the text. The fact that she provides examples of suggestions for different groups of people closely involved with hookup culture shows the way small acts can empower students to “escape the hookup culture.” It definitely made me slightly more hopeful for the future of dating on college campuses.

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    1. Hi Erin!
      Yes, I have definitely experienced the vagueness of the use of the term hookup. I think that the vagueness of the term is also used the awkwardness of giving too much information about what happened during a hookup.

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  4. Sierra,

    Very insightful post. I too had not considered the reasons for the intentional vagueness of the term ‘hook-up’. I also think that it’s interesting that men and women use this vagueness to their advantage in different ways.

    Your comment about the use of the term ‘walk of shame’ really resonated with me. It strikes me that although the implicit assumption about the culture is that it represents equality, women often face much worse and frequent consequences for engaging in the culture, especially when it comes to social stigma and sexual assault.

    I agree with your point that the increase in the number of sexual assaults on campus is due to hookup culture and the influence of alcohol. The way I see it, the mixture of lots of alcohol with the expectations of sexual encounters almost necessarily causes instances sexual assault. A Catholic university that champions the human dignity of all persons should have a significantly lower rate of sexual assault than other universities, but unfortunately that does not seem to be the case.

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