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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Hookups, one-night stands and other entanglements come with the university experience. For some, it’s all fun and games to have no strings attached. For others, it may lead to everlasting love. However, without a doubt, hookup culture affects women far more differently than men. 

I have always seen this in the absolute zoo that is party and hookup culture at Queen’s. The way boys talk about girls after a hookup, is vastly different from how girls talk about boys. Of course, this varies depending on the person, but I have seen first-hand how boys will comment on a woman’s sexuality in a deeply misogynistic, harmful way that reproduces age-old stereotypes. Hearing the words such as bird, slut, ran-through and loose is all too familiar to me from conversations I’ve picked up on when eavesdropping on campus. All of these are meant to oppress women. Not to say that women don’t do the same, but I can guarantee it has a different connotation. I often hear words used by women when discussing the sexual deeds of men, including man-whore, playboy, and womanizer

However, it takes one gender studies class to understand that using inappropriate terms for men has a vastly different meaning than it does for the words used to describe women. Take perhaps the most popular one, man-whore. Whore is a word to oppress women, and adding a man in front of it with a hyphen does not change the fact that it is deeply rooted in a misogynistic history. Even playboys and womanizers are used as compliments to some. 

The consequences for women go beyond just merely sexual acts and locker room talk. The sharing of nudes and sexts from a girl between a guy and his “bros” have the power to damage a woman’s reputation to an extreme degree compared to his. However, isn’t it interesting that the girl in the photo is deemed promiscuous and an “Easy A,” but the man sharing these photos of her does not bear the same consequences? He is not deemed as anything else other than a “lucky guy.” Sure, the girl could press charges for the non-consensual distribution of intimate images; however, in the end, justice is rarely served and a woman’s reputation is still forever tarnished despite only being a victim. 

Language runs our world. So, when language like this is used in everyday life to discuss the sexual habits of one another, it can easily influence reputations. For example, the Hulu original series Pam and Tommy released earlier this year perfectly illustrates how women are quickly made sexual deviants in hookup culture, whereas men are made into Gods. 

Pam and Tommy told the tragically messy story of actress Pamela Anderson and rockstar Tommy Lee. It’s known in pop culture that they met once at a nightclub in Los Angeles and married four days later. However, when people hear this couple’s name, I can guarantee they immediately think of their sex tape being stolen and then released into the world in the late 1990s, exposing the couple fornicating on their houseboat in Lake Mead. It was a prime example of viral pornography. Still, most of all, I believe it is an excellent example of how women are negatively portrayed when it comes to sexual empowerment in comparison to men. 

Tommy Lee was deemed “just a rockstar.” 

Pamela Anderson, though? A bimbo. A tramp. An item on display.

The show perfectly illustrates what objectification can do to a young woman’s reputation, and how many men don’t even recognize their words’ strength when discussing sexual experiences with women. The same can be said about hookup culture in university. In many scenarios, as soon as a girl engages in sexual acts with a boy, it invites the opportunity to objectify them and not only see them as sexual objects, but also treat them like one. 

This story has been seen countless times in history, though. Think of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinksy. Monica was a sexual harlot trying to sleep her way up the political ladder, whereas Bill was never defined by his sexual acts. He was simply a lonely, married leader of the United States. Think of Amanda Todd, a girl who went viral on the internet for sharing her story of how she was sexually exploited as a 16-year-old after her nudes were shared around her high school. She sadly committed suicide not long after she posted the video to her YouTube channel in 2012. 

In discussing hookups and sexual exchanges between people in university, girls are the punchlines and boys are the ones holding the mic. I encourage you to discuss this with your guy friends, brothers, boyfriends, cousins or anyone willing to listen. Once more people see that women having sexual liberty and engaging with those she is willingly choosing is not a scandalous act in itself, it will combat the misogynistic societal norms surrounding hookup culture in the twenty-first century. If this does not happen, boys will simply continue to be boys and girls will remain the birds in the cage of misogyny. 

Milla Ewart

Queen's U '23

Described by the New York Times as a "Full-Time Fool."
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