I was astonished to read Susan Dench’s column the other week that implied feminism had indirectly led to this new found ‘hook-up culture’. One thing is for sure, Dench surely would not be able to voice her opinion without feminism.
The column attacks feminism, claiming that the movement has caused a shift in traditional values, thus leading to how men and women see each other. However, Dench’s romanticized view of life prior to women’s liberation is a naive way to offer up answers to the hook-up culture of today. Women endured constant sexism and had very few rights. To solve the question as to why we are in this situation, consumerism should be scrutinized.
Due to consumerism, in the United Kingdom the majority of us spend our time looking at a screen. This opens the window to a constant barrage of messaging, whether it be on the internet or the telly. We are told, we should be sexy, we should all hop around in our underwear, we should smell sexy and be seductive at all given moments. This is not just directed at women, men are victims of this also. However, what do these advertisements show us? One thing, it is not promoting mutual respects from both sexes or appreciation of natural beauty.
Consumerism enhances expectation of the opposite sex and therefore promotes and encourages casual sexual encounters, free from emotion.
Due to consumerism we are made to feel inadequate. There is so much pressure to push ourselves in every aspect of our lives, to be the most accomplished, the prettiest, the most hard-working. Media portrays this picture of a perfect person and we therefore feel pressured to succumb to this, when in reality, this utopian figure is unobtainable. Yet we feel failures for not achieving this status, ultimately lowering the way in which we value ourselves, thus offering an explanation as to the increase in casual sexual encounters.
The lack of respect we hold for ourselves and male counterparts explains the huge influx in recent years of casual, emotionless sex. However, is this such a bad thing? Again, the media depicts this image that one-night stands and multiple sexual partners makes us failures. We are therefore deemed to be lacking purity, a credit that is so highly praised in today’s society. Do not get me wrong, I cast doubt on just how empowering casual trysts really feel. However, should we be made to feel that we can’t engage in them due to societal opinion?
Feminists such as Virginia Woolf have fought for the boundaries of sex to be pushed. It could be argued that casual sex is the ultimate sexual emancipation for women. To be able to engage in this kind of culture is liberating is it not? Years ago, women who had sex out of wed-lock were impure and not suitable for marriage (Downton Abbey taught me a lot). It was not lady-like to enjoy sex or to want for this.
Women have much more freedom in regards to sexual encounters in contemporary society, albeit not truly emancipated. Yes, maybe women who sleep around are deemed as sluts. However, at least this does not affect women’s place in society or deter men from wanting to marry us simply due to how many notches we have on our bed posts.Consumerist society has ultimately made people feel inadequate and lacking, and therefore we are made to go in search of acceptance through the use of casual sex. Whether this is right or wrong however, I do believe that such negativity should not be attached to this. We should implore the fact that hook-up culture is part of our society. Fifty years ago the very thought of casual sex would send people to an early grave. Now, it is a common and regular occurrence in our society. Surely that should be applauded?