Heterosexual hookup culture has been juicy fodder for academics and journalists over the past decade as Millenials move from adolescence to adulthood. This week, The New York Times ignited a firestorm of debate with an article (in the Fashion & Style section) pedantically titled “Sex On Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too.” The L Magazine soon fired back, along with Slate, Business Insider and New York Magazine.
Much of what has been discussed this round isn’t groundbreaking, but a few new variables are coming into play. Culture, class and ethnicity are now being taken into account, although the perspectives of the men with whom the young women profiled are either sexing avidly or being coerced into alcohol-induced rape are not. Either way, articles such as these rely too heavily on voyeuristic titillation or Madonna/Whore trope juxtapositions between the virginal, studious girls from challenging circumstances and the sexually voracious slackers of privilege. That narrative might still fly in amateur porn, but does nothing to elevate sexual dialogues and fails to depict the nuance and complexity of young, contemporary female sexuality.