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Let’s Change How We Talk About Women in Hookup Culture

Hookup culture is popularized all over the media, from lyrics in top songs (I mean, did anyone see the music video “Señorita” by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello that came out earlier this year?!) to the most viewed shows like The Good Place or Game of Thrones. Hookup culture is becoming increasingly more common, especially in progressive colleges. But despite how progressive these people are, the language surrounding women in hookup culture remains fairly disrespectful, subtly (and occasionally not so subtly) ignorant, and maybe even accidentally offensive. 

While the treatment of women in hookup culture is a larger issue that needs considerably more time, effort and activism, I think that we all can be aware of how we talk about women in these topics.  

Let’s not talk about her like she is a conquest. 

She had a choice in the consensual decisions that she made, so let’s not treat her as if she is not equal. She was not tricked when she wanted to do this for herself in the moment. 

I understand that sometimes girls can get whirled up in a moment or a situation, and that is fine and totally normal if they want to talk about themselves in that manner. The “conquest” that I am talking about is when women are talked about as if they were tricked or convinced because they are somehow less than or gullible. 

To the guys telling their friends about “that hot girl” they hooked up with last night: 

She was most likely not convinced by you, in the whirl of the moment, in the dimly lit party littered with plastic red cups, vodka breath and blown out speakers, to hook up with you. She was likely convinced several hours earlier, when she decided to shower and do a full body shave, exfoliating scrub, brush her teeth, and apply waterproof mascara when she did her makeup. She then most likely decided to go through with the hookup when she went off to the bathroom with all her tipsy girlfriends to fix her lip gloss, and they pushed her to “do her” and “be crazy.” 

You think the night you convinced her to hookup, she was already perfectly smooth and shaven, her makeup didn’t smudge at all, her hair was perfectly wavy and voluminous and she tasted like a perfectly minty daydream? You didn’t decide. She decided… Like six hours before you even had the opportunity to try.

You did not play her, my dude, if anything, she played YOU

Let’s not talk about her like she has a hidden agenda. 

There is often no secret reason a hookup happens; a girl isn’t trying to “trap” or impress someone. Sometimes she just wants to do it. And I just had to include this:

“When a woman sleeps with a man right away, it is not because we don’t respect ourselves… it is because we don’t respect you.” -Ali Wong.

Let’s not talk about her with slut-shaming words: Let’s take those words back. 

Let’s make these words only terms of endearment for our closest friends. Yes, these are my “hoes,” my “bitches,” my “sluts,” but let’s not talk about other women that way. I know that it can often be a bit of a reflex when something happens, like your crush casually hooked up with someone else: “I can’t believe David hooked up with that hoe!” Let’s keep the attention on the crush and his/her actions. Let’s not use those words to insult and belittle women for their choices.

Let’s talk about her with honesty: It’s a hookup, not a tie down.

Let’s not project stereotypes and expectations on women who participate in hookup culture. Let’s not call them clingy, let’s not call them crazy, and let’s not assume they want a relationship either. 

“Dude, she was so into you. You think she’s gonna be all over you now?”

“Oh I hope she doesn’t expect me to like text her back all the time now.”

“She left her sweater at my house and is being like crazy trying to get it back dude. So clingy.”

You would think that I am exaggerating, but unfortunately these are all sentences that I have heard, some more than once, at a progressive college in 2019.

Let’s not assume that women want relationships after a hookup. Let’s not assume a simple hookup means anything bad about her character. And for goodness’ sake, it’s 2019 David, let’s give her back her sweater because that’s probably her lucky going out sweater and she probably spent more on it than you spent on your whole wardrobe that you bought when you were a junior in high school!

The bottom line is this: Let’s start this next decade with respect for each other. 

All images via Pinterest

Maddie is a recently graduated English major and is excited to enter the publishing industry.