Hook-up culture: women actually want it, and less needy fellows too

Hook-up culture: women actually want it, and less needy fellows too

Hook-up culture: women actually want it, and less needy men too

Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Pictures.

Our own Hanna Rosin’s fresh book The End of Dudes: And the Rise of Women is coming out next month, and the Atlantic is previewing it in its September issue with Hanna’s chunk about the so-called “hook-up culture” that has conservatives in a decade-long huff and much of the media in a hookup funk.

Amanda Marcotte is writer for Salon.

The typical assumption about hook-up culture is that it’s something fellows imposed on women, exploiting modern contraceptives and sexual liberty to get away with having hook-up with women without having to commit or do anything icky, like pretend to like them. The narrative has always sat uneasily with me, as it’s based on the presumption that women are so foul that studs will only put up with them in order to get hookup. So I was stoked to detect that Hanna’s research led her to conclude that women aren’t being victimized by delusions of feminism and the fellows taking advantage of them. On the contrary, she believes that women perpetuate the hook-up culture. Youthful women want romance in theory but find that in practice, relationships are more trouble than they’re worth. Quoting research from Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton, she writes:

In other words, youthfull women believe maintaining a bf is so much work that it’s unlikely to have one while at the same time building a career and a nonromantic social life&mdash,and that the latter two are higher priorities. Which suggests that all the people who are so upset about hook-up culture are attacking it from the wrong angle. Instead of scolding women for their self-defeating bed-hopping, they should be scolding boys. If studs request so much time and attention from girlfriends that those girlfriends can’t have a life outside of the relationship, that suggests boys are asking way too much of women. So needy!

If you want women to be more interested in long-term commitment, the best place to embark is with fixing dudes. Dudes need to learn to be a value-add to the lives of their girlfriends, instead of a cargo. Traditionally, women are expected to spend a superb deal of time on their boys with tasks like ego-stroking, cleaning up after them, and plan-making. If fellows could come to relationships with fewer requests, women would be more interested. After all, as Hanna notes, women do want the benefits of long-term love. They just don’t want the price to be higher than the prizes.

Clarification, Aug. 24, 2012: The original version of this post did not give credit to researchers Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton.

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