December 7, 2010

Hey Feminists: This article in Duke Magazine on sex and hookup culture on campus caught my attention, and I want y'all to read it and tell me what you think. This obviously touches on gender issues/relations here and may suggest that the sex scene (a thing now) at Duke is in a post-sexism state.
Tellingly, when students interviewed for this story (not all of whom are included here) were asked what they thought of peers who have multiple, random sexual partners, the word used most frequently was “sad.”

“It used to be that if a girl slept around, she was called a slut, but if a guy slept around, he was supposed to be congratulated,” says Michael Kahn. “But that’s changing. Everyone knows who the promiscuous people are. I think most people, men and women both, want to be able to look themselves in the mirror and respect what they see.”
Thank god that's in the past and [straight, of course] males are now heckled just as much for promiscuity. 2010, YOU GIRLS. WE DID IT. Yes, I could totally be reading too much into this, and that's why I want some feedback because I really don't know. You have to read the whole article, because a lot of the things said are based on STATISTICS from a comprehensive survey with a 75% response rate (which is an insane response rate). Also,

Hey Queer Activists: Uh, over 3000 words on sex and relationships at Duke and no mention of LGBTQ students? I feel like this is a legitimate complaint. Where am I in this? I do not see myself in this. Either the survey didn't ask questions about sexuality and the researchers did not draw conclusions based on this (which I feel like they HAD to have) or the magazine/author/editor just decided to ignore this.

I mean, I recognize this has a flip side. Should We expect to be represented in every piece? We're at best what... 7% of the Duke population? For an article to be relevant to 93% of its readers is pretty impressive, no?

Haha, I'm usually better at being devil's advocate, sorry. "Blacks" (eek) and Latino students are both mentioned, minorities that represent 10% and 7% of the population respectively.



  1. Not pleased, but I'm sad to say that I'm also not surprised...

  2. Several issues. My biggest problem is that the people taking and responding to this study all seem to be in favor of fewer hookups overall. The real issue, from my feministy point of view, is the quality of the hookup. I've got a friend who has been in a long-term relationship and routinely has awful, emotionally crushing sex with her boyfriend, something that this study's analysis would condone. I've had hookups that I've felt were empowering and fun, and the other person was well aware that the plan was NOT just to serve their desires. I think anyone but the hardcore celibacy advocates would be hard-pressed to have anything bad to say about those experiences.
    In general, this study is overly simplistic and too pro-relationships (which at this age can still be hugely damaging and disrespectful toward either party...usually women in a straight relationship). They need to focus on the quality and informed, safe and consensual nature of the sex and stop fretting that, oh my god, people have sex outside of relationships.
    And yes. It did surprise me that there was no sexuality component to the study. I think it's a pretty glaring omission.

  3. Wait, I thought we were campaigning for more people to have the right to do what they want with their bodies, not for more people to be exposed to soul-crushing judgment.

  4. 3000 words and not a mention of LBGTQ? Doesn't surprise me; our society had, what, 200 years without a mention of it in our legal system? I'm not a sociology major, but something tells me this "hook-up culture" y'all have at Duke is one of many signs that something is severely wrong with our society (especially given that a large percentage of your students are out-of-staters).

    Also, to Taylor and Alyssa - I think in this instance, it is better to set aside differences in opinion about promiscuity (sexual freedom, sluttiness, whatever you'd call it; as long as it's "safe, sane, and consentual") and focus on the larger scale.

    The Lone Tar Heel

  5. I was not offended that there was no mention of lgbt in the article. Yes, it was 3000 words and none of those were "gay". However, it was only 3000 words, and for scientists writing about sexuality, that's pretty damn concise. I don't we can condemn every article for not being about gay rights/people/sexuality. I think the implication that sexism has been resolved is a much bigger problem than the omission of LGBT.