Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch
The latest “ZOMG! Hook up culture is killing GRLZ!” article was, for a change, written by a feminist. Rachel Simmons is an advice columnist for Teen Vogue: http://www.rachelsimmons.com/2010/02/why-the-hook-up-culture-is-hurting-girls/ And she is concerned because many of the girls who write to her for relationship advice are unhappy with just hooking up and want actual boyfriends.
Now, as commenters at Kate Harding’s response to this: http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/feature/2010/02/26/hook_up_culture/index.html?source=rss&aim=/mwt/broadsheet/feature and Amanda Marcotte’s response to this: http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/its_not_the_sex_its_the_sexism/ pointed out within the first dozen comments, “Has Ms. Simmons not stopped to consider that girls who are happy with their relationships or hooking up are unlikely to write to her for advice?”
This was my first thought. Seriously, you give advice. People who are happy with what they are doing neither want nor need your advice. Your JOB is self-selecting you to hear only from girls who are unhappy. If I, and several other people, can figure this out, why the hell can’t you?
Now we get to the navel-gazey, anecdata history of my sex life.
I was raised in a household by parents who are still married, and if my mom wasn’t a virgin when she got married, I’m pretty sure my dad was the only person she’d ever slept with. There was nothing radical in my upbringing about sex. NOTHING. We just didn’t talk about it. Apart from watching the menstruation films in Jr. High at the special parents night, and asking me if I knew how my best friend had gotten knocked up at 14 and did I know how to keep that from happening? That was it.
Fast forward to my late teens early 20s.
I had consensual sex for the first time at 18. I can say a lot of nasty shit about that particular ex, but his sexual performance and caring whether or not I enjoyed it are not part of those nasty things. Having someone stop when I winced, and tell me that if it was no fun for me, it was no fun for him was nothing short of a shocking revelation.
After the discovery that, “Hey! Sex feels good and SHOULD feel good!” I set about tearing up the Seattle nerd scene. We had a whole incestuous little clan of our own, where we hooked up with each other, the girls pretty much regardless of gender, with impunity. I had a little black book, and would scroll through the numbers trying to decide who I felt like fucking that night.
Now, what I’m trying to say in my long rambly way, is that I “hooked up” a lot. A lot. In fact, I hooked up with my husband, after he’d hooked up with all my female friends, and after discovering that neither of us wanted a long term relationships, we fell in love and have been married for 16 years now.
Yeah, I’m not so sure how that works either. But it does. At least for us.
The point being that as I was happy with my relationship, or un-relationship status, it never occurred to me to write to anyone for advice on it. I mean, it was working for me.
But there were also girls that hooking up just didn’t work for. Some people are just not wired that way. I have a sibling, raised by the exact same parents, with the exact same no talking about sex, who is not wired for slutting it up like I did. And that’s ok, too. As Amanda Marcotte wound up saying repeatedly in the comments to her post, we should be about broadening the possibilities for women’s (everyone’s really) sexual experiences and autonomy, not limiting them to either putting out all the time, or staying “pure” at the behest of the men in our lives.
And that’s what a lot of younger Feminists who get accused of fostering a “Girls Gone Wild Feminism” are trying to get across. The fact that sexuality is fluid and diverse and young women should be able to experiment sexually, and be able to decide FOR THEMSELVES what they want to do. Does she want to “hook-up?” Good for her!!!! Does she really want to wait until she’s older or in a more committed relationship? Good for her!!!!
Should women cave to what some guy wants just to get or keep a boyfriend? NO. Absolutely not. Instead of bemoaning that putting out makes girls miserable (which it doesn’t necessarily), why aren’t we telling girls that they don’t need a boy to be happy or complete? Why aren’t we telling girls that yes, they are sexual beings, and sex feels good and they should enjoy it WHEN THEY WANT TO?
Because we’re still letting the Right write the cultural narrative about sex in this culture, and we need to stop doing that. Now.
More on that later. This is getting long, and it’s a school night.