Hooking Up and Grinding

So as I was reading Kimmel, I was pleased (well… glad that he found) that collegiate drinking culture and hooking up are ways that guys use women as homosocial and sexual currency (this sadly reminded me of Dreamworld 3). I had a roommate who would do exactly what this chapter talked about, and although I had to relive some bad memories, this article helped me put that into perspective. I don’t like drinking that much and have rarely found hook ups to be very appealing, so I’m a little bit of an outsider when it comes to discussing this topic–I kind of feel like an old man trying to remember the last time I hooked up with someone or drank five drinks–the apparent lower limit to be able to hook up with anyone–quite a lot for a lightweight like myself.

Anyway, I was about to freak out because the chapter didn’t mention much at all about negative experiences, such as sexual assault and rape, which I always associate with a drinking culture which empowers men and objectifies women, although I am no grandmaster of statistics who can give exact figures on that topic. But I saw that the next chapter would address such things, so my wrath won’t be so great now. But unsatisfied with being unable to read the next chapter, I quickly googled “hook up culture sexual assault”. I got a few things which caught my eye: one, a documentary which I couldn’t watch but which seemed to link the two and make an argument similar to Kimmel, and the other, a few articles which reported on an Air Force general who blamed much of the rape in the military on hook up culture. One of the articles I read about this general, written by self-proclaimed male “feminist, environmentalist, humanitarian, enthusiastic learner, CrossFitter, musician, and filmmaker” on Policymic.com (a website which I don’t generally trust to give good sociological analysis), gave a very post-structural viewpoint in which anyone who commits sexual assault is solely responsible for sexual assault. Undeniably, those who commit sexual assault should be held accountable for their actions but it should be noted that our hook up and drinking culture largely puts men positions to dominate and violate women. It’s all systematic.

Policymic article here: http://www.policymic.com/articles/40893/mark-welsh-air-force-commander-says-hookup-culture-influences-military-sexual-assault

In reading the article on grinding, I became more and more aware for the need of the idea of consensual grinding. Given what we’ve learned about how men treat women in music videos (again—Dreamworld 3 is real life!), it’s pretty safe to assume that we can answer the author’s inquiry: “Why did men choose the surprise [from behind] approach most often?” I read an article last semester in my Sociology of Inequality class about how there is an extensive history of men treating women as their property—it was law back in ancient (and, perhaps, not-so-ancient) times that fathers and husbands could sell their daughters, kill their wives, and do such inhumane things to women to whom they were related. This all seems like a type of slavery to me (no wonder why sex slavery is such a huge business), which has manifested itself today in male ownership of women’s bodies on the dance floor—that a man will often not get consent to initiate sexual contact. I feel that grinding can actually be a fun and satisfying activity for consenting individuals who are committed to making each other feel good, just as sex should be. It’s very attractive, for me, as a very shy individual, if a woman shows initiative but I would feel similarly violated if a woman that I did not know suddenly grabbed me and started using my body in whatever way she felt.

Patrick Gallagher Landes

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2 thoughts on “Hooking Up and Grinding

  1. Patrick,

    Your connections to the history of men owning women as their property was really interesting and got me thinking. There’s a quote from “Grinding on the Dance floor:” “If the guy was only dancing for fun, he would often raise his arms from the girl’s hips in order to show that he was only having fun and didn’t want it to be sexual [or] didn’t want to get aroused” (368). For some reason, I got so enraged while reading this. It’s like when someone will say a sexist comment and then follow up with, “I’m just kidding. Get a sense of humor.” It gives the man–in this scenario–a free pass to say or do what he wants and then pass it up as a joke. So, he can objectify his dance partner all he wants, but when he raises his arms, it shows that he doesn’t want to take any “ownership” of his dance partner. In other words, he gets all the pleasure and none of the responsibility.

    Just a page back, Ronen explains how a man, “once he begins dancing with his partner or cuts in, he is ‘responsible for the woman until she [is] taken over by another partner”'(367). This pattern grossed me out. It reminded me of passing a good or object from one person to the other. Apparently, the woman’s wants or needs simply do not matter on the dance floor.

    Emma Weisberg

  2. Luis Ramos

    I’m just glad I’m not the only one who feels the same way about the drinking and hooking up culture here at Conn and in general. Like you, I rarely find hook ups to be very appealing as well. Not that I’m totally judging those who partake in such type of culture but I don’t find a great reason to actually be involved in such things. PDA in general is disgusting to me and it scares me when I see it most Saturday nights at Cro. I just wish people knew how to distinguish what’s publicly acceptable and what should be kept behind closed doors.

    Sorry if I offend anyone.

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