America’s Next Bill Clinton!

“Unhooked: How women pursue love and crap …”

Has anyone read a book called “Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose At Both”? I heard about this book from a feminist I’d been working with on some student activism issues, and also heard a few of my female friends mention it.

By the time I finish any book, I can always tell if I hated it liked it, but I don’t really know with this book.

It brings up a good point and takes a stand against sex-positive feminism in taking the position that sexual politics and the power thereof do not translate into true political power in feminism. In fact, it might add to the plight of women. Just from that chapter alone, one could write a whole damned essay on feminist theories and personal responsibility.

But at the same time, it also covers the lives of college students and the “hook-up” culture, featuring the lives of many young women who, caught up in the casual sex culture, were unable to have healthy, loving relationships. Its attribution is, as if, somehow casual sex leads to an inability to love.

Furthermore, it treats heartbreaks, broken relationships, unrequited love (or as I like to call it, unrequited interest, as “love” is built in a relationship, and not just through mere association with someone) as if they are cataclysmic events that are harmful to young women and men. They are not. They are pretty healthy. They are a part of being an adult and social interaction. I’ve bad my share of bad (as well as good) relationships, unrequited interests, and all those things covered in the book, and it’s only made me a better person. So, I am failing to understand the author’s point.

What I find problematic is that the author presupposes that, somehow, we can’t have both. She supposes that, somehow, without love, that college students will grow old to be like that lady in “Great Expectations,” sitting at home wth a bunch of cats.

What if, it’s just that college students – and especially ambitious ones, are being promicuous because they’ve not yet (since their standards and dreams are so high) found the person who is fitting enough to love? Does this mean, then, that they ought to throw away the condoms, stay away from the bars, and just be old and boring?

It also talks about the academic challenges of college and how, because careers and academics are considered more important than love, many women are choosing the formers over the latter, and instead, choosing to “hook-up.” I get a sense, and perhaps I am being defensive here, that the author is advocating love and marriage over academic and career achievements. This, for me, opens a whole other dialogue about that Betty Friedan brought up in the “Feminine Mystique,” which, ironically, was mentioned in the book.

The book also attributes the casual sex culture with the Vagina Monologues and my favorite play, “Because He Liked to look at it.” Its message was, essentially, raising awareness about female sexuality has somehow been responsible for the sexual behavior of women that ended up hurting them. I am not a big fan of using the play as political activism, but I don’t like the idea of bashing it.

My biggest issue with the book is, like many other studies of sexuality, it only addresses relationships in a heterosexual sense. There are many of my friends who go through the same “hook-up” culture as homosexuals, both males and females.

I don’t know …the majority of the book reads like a bad episode of Real Life or Queer as Folk (straight style), but it also brings up very interesting feminist perspectives, weaving together the various movements and waves. If nothing else, it’s making me think. In all, it’s a good book. There are some quite touching parts to the book, while other parts just makes me want to throw the book out the window. It’s sort of like a roommate – sometimes you love it, sometimes you hate it.

Bottom line I drew from this book: everything in moderation in terms of both casual sex and falling in love. I don’t think the author said this, but it’s what I drew from it. There’s Marc’s creative nature at work for you.

I don’t know what to make of this book …but, if you feel like discussing it, the copy I currently have is yours. Drop by the house any time and pick it up.


7 Comments so far
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I’ve heard of the book but haven’t read it. I took from the reviews that, as you said, it critiques the career ambitions of (straight) women who forgo relationships. But as a woman who experienced college culture, I have a lot of problems with the hypersexual atmosphere. As a woman who was very very choosy about any amount of physical intimacy in a relationship, I got sick and tired of every guy I dated copping the attitude that “I spend $20 on you tonight; you owe me a sexual favor.” A lot of guys ended their dates with me with a door slamming in their face and the sound of rolling laughter from the other side. 🙂 Which is probably why I married early (22) to the first Good man I dated after high school. We are still married, have 3 lovely daughters, and the mere thought of ever having to go through the dating ritual again terrifies me.

PS: I reached you through wordpress tag surfer. Probably “feminism.”

Comment by radicalmama


Thanks for stopping by. I am finally figuring this blog thing out. The thing, as you mention about college, is that most men feel as though women “owe” them some sort of sexual favors for dinner, or being nice, or friendship, or whatever. It’s actually pretty fucking pathetic!

It’s an interesting culture to date as a pro-feminist male. I might write about it sometimes.

Three kids, huh? I hope you’re raising them as feminists. 🙂

Comment by profeministmale

I heard of that book… a friend of mine was reading it a while ago, but I didn’t get her rating of it after the fact.

I’m not a big advocate of the pure hook-up culture, but I think it;s also nearly impossible to say one decisive thing about it one way or the other. The truth is, some women (and men) can deal emotionally with hooking up randomly and be fine, while others cannot deal with that (I would be one of the latter). If it works for you, and you’re being honest with yourself, then fine, go for it. If not, don’t.

Relationships and breakups are practice, how are you supposed to get good enough at them to last a lifetime, if you don’t have some false starts along the way??

It sounds like, from what you’re saying, that the author thinks we should all be finding our soulmates in college and get married soon after. While that works for some of us (that was my route, still pretty happy about it) others are totally fine not finding their dream mate till later in life, late 20’s or 30’s or whatever. What’s wrong with that?

Comment by Marcy

“Three kids, huh? I hope you’re raising them as feminists.”

Of course! 🙂 But I am not the run-of-the-mill liberal feminist so whether other people see me as feminist, I don’t know.

Comment by radicalmama

Hi! I found you through your comment on Feministing to the “B-word” article discussion. Just thought I’d let you know that I’ve added you to my blogroll, and you’re more than welcome to add me to yours if you’d like. I like what you have going so far. Keep it up.

Comment by L

Wow. Nice! Thanks for dropping by, L. Although I can’t find a link to your page. 🙂 How do I find you?

Comment by profeministmale

Hey, I don’t have any condoms except one that this creepy guy gave me as a creepy joke that I threw away, and I stay away from bars, but I’m not old and boring. ; )

But I don’t know. I think people need to get the fuck off women’s backs about the choice between love and work, you know, that choice we shouldn’t have to make in the first place. So I guess you can tell how I feel about that. But beyond that, and you know this is coming from an unexperienced biased kind of place, but I feel like the hookup culture is a rabidly antifeminist place, and if I visited, I would most likely end up being degraded, in the eyes of other people if not my own. That’s not to say shame on women who hook up, it’s not their fault that people are sexist against them. And I mean, people are sexist all over, so not hooking up doesn’t mean I’m covered. It’s mostly about the guy you’re sleeping with – if he’s a feminist, well ok, but otherwise….

PS – I’m so jealous you got added to a blogroll ;)! I knew I needed to get my blog linked to my comments on feministing.

Comment by judgesnineteen

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