Women Are Waiting…

Alia Roth

I oddly found these articles very difficult to get through.  Probably because they hit closest to home (within my own age and social context).  It was Ronen’s Grinding On The Dance Floor that really made me cringe.  I honestly think it was the language put into an academic context that just made our generations behavior sound so disturbing. Ronen’s findings were not surprising, but the observations were very interesting and essentially identical to situations I have observed on Saturday nights in Cro.  It was Ronen’s language, however, that really drew out how absurd and gendered this behavior is.  This article essentially demonstrates what Dream Worlds 3 depicted, but into the real world – with the exception of (the conventional definition of) violence.  But everything that Ronen describes, alongside Kimmel’s gendered analysis of hooking up kind of states that women are going to either (1) conform and accept that this kind of dancing is normal or (2) reject the notion but be socially isolated – which I take issue with.  As a whole, I disliked Kimmel’s portrayal of women in this article.

Kimmel stated, “Women who decide not to join the party can look forward to going to sleep early and alone tonight-and every night. And women who do join the party run the risk of encountering the same old double standard that no amount of feminist progress seems able to eradicate fully.”  But as we discussed with the burka versus bikini image – where is the middle ground? Kimmel states such extremities as though women are either completely alone (forever? “every night” – also assuming that women don’t want to be alone) or that they completely conform and are condemned for it.  Why is it all or nothing?  Kimmel also made it sound as though “young women are biding their time, waiting for the guys to grow up and start acting like men” which implies that this is all women are doing, and therefore wanting or ‘waiting’ for men is what women’s sole focus is on.  I understand that Kimmel is trying to make the point that men are ill-prepared for adulthood and relationships as a result of this hook up culture, but his phrasing and emphasis on women’s expectations of men is not only heteronormative but reinforces the expectation that all women want partners, all the time.

But back to Grinding On The Dance Floor – there were a couple of quotes that I wanted to pull out because they were so poignant in this piece. “Men were predominantly the active partners. Women’s parts in grinding descriptions were limited to response. However, women generally appeared receptive to the movements once grinding had been initiated” (362).  This observation was really interesting and honestly made me think of the porn industry.  These kinds of gendered portrayals – where only men are the initiators of physical or sexual behavior not only perpetuates the idea that men are entitled to touch women’s bodies (back to Dream Worlds) but that it is unnatural for women to express physical or sexual interest in a partner.

This past weekend I was visiting a friend at Vanderbilt U in Nashville, TN – we were out at a bar and one of her friends wanted to talk to a guy that she had a crush on from class.  We were all encouraging her to go say hi and she responded with “No! That’s his job!” and I had to control my jaw from dropping to the floor… I then went on to give her a mini rant about how gendered that was and how we had to break through those norms – especially when you want to go say hello to someone! But it really reinforced how the hook up and grinding culture that we live in enables men to be hyper-aggressive and expects women to be complacent and willing (but are then condemned for this behavior, thus the Madonna-whore dichotomy that Ronen discussed on pg 374).

I left both these articles concerned and disturbed, primarily for future generations of people.  We are at a point where women are saying to men, “there are tons of hot girls waiting for you to dance with them. What are you waiting for?” (365).  If these are what we are enabling young women to say, have we made progress? If this is how we are being socialized now, what will become of this scene in 10 years?

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4 thoughts on “Women Are Waiting…

  1. Alia,

    I completely agree with you about Ronen’s language. While I was reading his article, I started to imagine a sort of documentary movie–the camera panning around the dance floor. It was really unsettling, but also fascinating especially when he discussed techniques men and women would use to get in and out of situations. For example, when men would initiate dances, they could either approach from the front or front the back. Ronen explains, “If approaching from the back, men gave women little warning. In a surprise initiation, there was no opportunity to give permission, directly or otherwise” (368). In this scenario, men are literally grabbing onto women, which–as you said in your post–“perpetuates the idea that men are entitled to touch women’s bodies.” I found it interesting that men were more “successful” when they’d initiate a small conversation first. I wonder, why is it then that men would still go for the behind approach rather than simply initiating a little conversation? I know I would definitely be more likely to say yes to dance if I didn’t feel like I was being used as an object.

    Meanwhile, in this heteronormative nightmare, women have to play it cool, never showing interest or disinterest. It was insane how women would turn to their friends, silently asking them if their dance partner was hot or signaling if they just wanted to stop dancing. Never mind just turning around or breaking away from their partner; women needed a friend to run interference. These silent interactions are once again perpetuating the idea that women cannot use their voices and define what THEY want in a certain situation.

    Emma Weisberg

  2. Alia,

    I too found it confusing that Kimmel presented no middle ground for women in the hookup culture. He seemed to suggest that almost all women who were participating in the hookup culture did so because they had no other choice, not because they actually wanted to be involved in it. I think there are plenty of women who do seem to enjoy this type of culture because it allows for them to ‘satisfy their needs’ without being tied down in a relationship. Kimmel seemed to believe that only men enjoy/benefit from this, yet there was an example of the girl from Princeton who flat out said that she didn’t have time for relationships with all the work she had going on so this was, in fact, better for her. I think it is unfair to say that all women are interested only in real, monogamous relationships and that they can’t enjoy a ‘meaningless’ hookup.

  3. Luis Ramos

    Like Cassie, I also feel like Kimmel failed to address the fact that women might necessarily enjoy this type of culture for several reasons. It’s not that women always participate in the hookup culture because they have no choice, but because they might potentially want to experiment. I mean, a girl doesn’t necessarily plan ahead because she has no choice and knows that she could potentially be hooking up. She has the choice, but planning ahead basically testifies that she wants to hookup and therefore must take precautions before partaking in it. We must not ignore that fact.

  4. I agree with you that Kimmel goes to the extremes in explaining women’s options. Women can still have fun and share a bed without “joining the party,” and they can still join the party without sharing a bed. Kimmel seems to generalize many ideas about both genders saying that men grow up later, and women have to wait. But he also explains why this is not terrible but simply a phase for young adults. He explains “Hooking up is not the end of the world but a time-out, like college.” While he says that the hook-up is experienced differently by men and women, he then gives the example of Anne a Princeton student who claims she doesn’t have time for a relationship and resorts to the hook-up. So have women given in to the desires of men and agreed to avoid relationships for a few years or have they simply shifted their thinking in regards to what they desire in their early twenties?

    Alex

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