Title: Unhooked: How Young Women, Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both
Author: Laura Sessions Stepp
Summary: Journalist Laura Sessions Stepp looks into the changing youth dating culture. Instead of the traditional dating to relationship to marriage path, more and more women (and men) are “hooking up,” creating a no-strings-attached sexual culture that lets participants change partners at will and without ever committing to each other.
Stepp gets at these issues by following a number of high school and college-aged girls and learning everything she can about their sexual lives. Rather than condemning the culture change, Stepp tries to explore what the causes are and what the potential implications for women and men might be in the short- and long-terms.
Book Review: I thought this book was fascinating, especially as a sort of cultural comparison to another recent book I read on youth culture, The M-Factor, which was about Millennials at work. In many ways, this book was an exploration of Millenials at play in the bedroom.
I hadn’t spent a lot of time thinking about the way dating works for people around my age, so Stepp pointed out a lot of things I hadn’t thought about. See, I dated one boy for many years in high school, then found myself in a series of shorter but exclusive relationships through college. I wasn’t the kind of girl that gets profiled in exposes on high school sex lives because I just wasn’t “sensational” like that.
But the idea of hooking up is more than just sex, and it’s actually much less sensational that you might expect. Hooking up implies a whole shift in the culture of dating and developing relationships. Stepp points out that women of this generation don’t get into long-term relationships because they’ve been taught to be independent, take control of their sexuality, and not put relationships before their careers. Because of those pressures, hooking up becomes a logical and even empowering choice.
I’m not sure that I agree with the logic of hooking up itself, but I think that’s the point Stepp was trying to make: hooking up might be the thing to do, but is it the right thing to do? I highly recommend this book for Millennial-aged women who want to think critically about dating culture and their own choices within it.
This would also be a great book to read for the Women Unbound Challenge because of the way it looks at changing sexual culture and the impact feminist rhetoric has had on young women’s sexuality.
Audio Review: This book was read by Ellen Archer, and I thought she did a find job. There were a lot of extended quotes from the girls Stepp interviewed, and Archer did a good job distinguishing them from each other and from the main text. I can’t think of anything that bothered me about it that I should mention.
Other Reviews: Curled Up With a Good Book |
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