Writing in the Atlantic, Emily Esfahani Smith describes a young woman who got caught up in the college hookup culture.
Let’s hope that Nicole is the exception, not the rule:
Not long after she arrived on campus in September, Nicole had started hooking up with a guy who belonged to one of the more popular fraternities on campus. As she explained to me over coffee that day, one night in the fall, she got drunk and ended up having sex with this guy in his dingy frat room, which was littered with empty cans of Keystone Light and pizza boxes. She woke up the next morning to find a used condom tangled up in the sheets. She couldn't remember exactly what had happened that night, but she put the pieces together. She smiled, looked at the frat brother, and lay back down. Eventually, she put her clothes on and walked back to her dorm. Mission accomplished: She was no longer a virgin.
This was a routine she repeated for months. Every weekend night, and on some weekday nights, she would drink so heavily that she could remember only patches of what happened the night before and then would have sex with the same fraternity brother. One night, she was talking with someone else at the frat when the brother interrupted her and led her upstairs to have sex. On another occasion, they had sex at the frat, but Nicole was too drunk to find her clothes afterward, so she started walking around the house naked, to the amusement of all of the other brothers. She was too drunk to care. Eventually, everything went dark. Next weekend, she returned to the frat.
On that spring day, as Nicole told me these stories, she didn't make eye contact with me.
When I asked Nicole if she was still hooking up with the same frat boy, she shook her head. She explained that the entire time she was having sex with him he never once spoke to her or acknowledged her outside of his fraternity's basement. Not in the library, not in the dining hall, not at the bookstore.
"One time, I waved at him in front of the food court and said hi, but he just ignored me."
"Was he with anyone?" I asked—as though that would make a difference.
"A bunch of his friends."
Emotionally, Nicole has been severely damaged:
She talked less. She stopped exercising. And she started walking around with her eyes to the ground. The lively girl I had known in the fall, who reminded me of so many freshman girls I had met as editor of a campus publication and vice president of my sorority, had recently been placed on suicide watch by the university health clinic.
Ask yourself this: Would Nicole’s experience be significantly different if she were being sex trafficked?
Yes, it would be, you might think: Nicole is doing it of her own free will. She was not kidnapped and coerced by a crime syndicate. She is not being forced to do anything she does not want to do.
If that is your view, you are missing the crucial point. Read through Smith’s story and you will see clearly that Nicole is acting as though she has no free will. If she were exercising her freedom she would not have to drink herself into semi-consciousness to do what she was doing.
The hookup culture persists because women have been persuaded that they have no other options. They know that there are more women than men on campuses these days. Young women are induced to believe that hooking up is the way to go if they want to have relationships.
They are told that they can choose between hooking up and nothing. At that point they have effectively been disembarrassed of their free choice and free will.
It's as though a mugger were to tell you to choose between your money or your life: he is not offering your a free choice.
College administrators who counsel young women are permissive about hooking up. They believe that women like sex just as much as men and therefore that if a man likes hooking up a woman must like it too. They are comfortable with the idea that abuse is not abuse if it is consensual.
Thus they encourage hooking up and pretend that it is normal behavior.
Young women have learned from the ambient culture that the alternatives to hooking up, dating and courtship are oppressive. They have learned that abstinence is unnatural and repressive.
As I have often mentioned on this blog, feminism deserves considerable responsibility for this state of affairs.
Feminists encourage hooking up. They are pimping out young women for the cause. They must count among the sex traffickers.
In her recent book, The End of Men, Hanna Rosin said what many other feminists have tried to obfuscate.
Hooking up is part of the feminist life plan. A young woman who hooks up in college is less likely to develop a relationship that will deter her from achieving the career goals that feminists want her to have.
If a woman comes to believe that she is doing the right thing she might become a true-believing feminist. That is, she might develop a Stockholm syndrome.
True enough, none of these young women are chained to a bed. They are not threatened with physical violence. They are not beaten and harassed.
Yet, our culture has imposed mental constraints that are every bit as powerful as physical coercion, but far less difficult to identify.
It has taught young women that when they hook up they are making free choices and are doing something that Hanna Rosin and the sisterhood approve of. Forcing young women to hook up by persuading that they have no real choice int he matter is utterly contemptible.