Tuesday, 13 November 2012
A recent opinion article published in a college newspaper has shown itself to be quite polarizing among the students on campus. This article is one senior’s account of his personal experiences in the college “hook-up culture,” as he calls it. After spending his first three years of undergrad frequently drinking, partying, and making out/hooking up with random women, the author decided that this wild lifestyle did not bring him emotional fulfillment, and he changed his ways. In this article, he attempts to persuade other students to move away from the hook-up culture as well.
His main argument, that all women should be treated with respect, is, in itself, not refutable. After all, everybody is entitled to respect. What, then, caused all the controversy among many students? Take a look at his choice of diction in the following excerpts:
“Each woman on this campus is someone’s princess.”
“Where will they find security, support and comfort? Are there any men who will commit themselves to providing these things for a woman?”
The author’s choice to call women “princesses” and claim that men must provide security for women because they are living away from home at college is rubbing many students as sexist. Why do women exclusively need protection? Does the author not believe they are able to stand up for themselves? Why should they have to rely on men to provide them with protection?
Then, of course, there is this line from the last paragraph, which makes some bold assumptions about what women want: “You're treasured and there's a man who will call you his princess, who will protect you and keep you safe. Don’t settle for anything less.” This statement assumes that all college-aged women are ultimately interested in having a monogamous relationship and finding their “prince.”
While some students supported his stance and claimed that they, too, wanted to be in the type of monogamous relationship where they felt respected, protected and cherished, others claimed they would rather be hooking up with people than in a long-term relationship. The type of relationship a person desires is a personal choice, and it cannot be assumed that every person of the same sex is going to want the exact same type of relationship.
While I personally agree with the central message that the author was trying to convey, that all women should be treated with respect, I wish he had thought more about his word choice so that he did not come off sounding sexist to many of his peers. Why not argue that all people deserve respect? After all, women, and sometimes other men, take advantage of men as well; why should that issue be overlooked?
Do you think the negative reaction to the original article was justified? To what extent do you agree with the author of the original article? Is it a man’s responsibility to protect the women around them, or is that line of thought purely sexist and/or “old fashioned”?