“Participating in hookup culture doesn’t mean we’ve been deluded into thinking of our own exploitation as sexual freedom. It means we’re thinking critically about what we want instead of plunging straight into the relationships women are repeatedly told — by Taylor, by Friedersdorf, by society — we should desire for ourselves. And that’s what makes it so hard for Taylor, Rosin, and others to accept that we might be participating in hookup culture voluntarily, not to make time for resume padding: we want something different for ourselves than what our parents’ generation wants for us.”
Fifteen years ago, the very first question Carrie Bradshaw “couldn’t help but wonder” was simple, provocative, and in its own way, progressive: Can women have sex like men? That query was questionably relevant even a decade and a half ago, when Sex and the City sought to answer it for 30-something urban professionals. Unbelievably enough, we’re still having that conversation, except writers have turned their sights from themselves and their peers to a different group entirely: college-aged women. “Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too,” Kate Taylor’s lengthy study of Penn undergrads for TheNew York Times’ Styles section, isn’t the first subtly judgmental, distressingly inaccurate portrait of the supposedly post-feminist, post-relationship college dating scene. Sadly, it probably won’t be the last. But the practice of telling college-aged women how we should lead our romantic lives is patronizing, condescending, and — above all — needs to stop.
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