Our Culture

Romantic love in our culture:

In our culture, love is viewed as an all-encompassing aspiration rather than as a base emotion. (See survey questions 12 and 15) In some cultures, romantic love is seen a base emotion and is looked at as something that holds you back from what you should be doing.  However, we see love as something that takes over; when we are in love it is all that we can think about – nothing else matters.

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Despite the fact that we see love as all-encompassing, it is institutionalized.  Love is embedded in our government; for example, we have several laws about who you can marry: you can’t marry your cousin, you have to be of a certain age to get married, gay marriage is being debated, and, in the past we had laws about interracial marriage.  We get our ideas about love from movies, fairy tales and books.  Media is a socializing tool that affects the way that we think about love.

Don’t we usually associate families with love?  Many of us believe that “the love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege” (Charles Kuralt).  But technically, a family has nothing to do with love.  The federal definition of a family is any two or more people related by blood, marriage or adoption.  Even the idea of family is institutionalized.

“Sexual” Revolutions:

How has our current society become so sexualized and why are kids putting themselves out there sexually at younger and younger ages?  There is uproar and concern for our youth who usually experience sexual pressure by middle school.  This has been in effect for decades.  It began as early as the 1930’s when women started to gain more rights-specifically employment rights.

As you all know, women had to fight hard to get the rights that they wanted.  The women who stepped up and decided that they wanted to be treated as equally as well as men are came to be known as feminists.  Feminists developed an extreme anti-sex stereotype because sex was seen as the objectification of women.  Soon young women didn’t want to be seen as feminist because of their hairy, bra-burning stereotype.  As a result women tried to become more attractive to men and thought that acting like or becoming part of “Girls Gone Wild” would help them escape the uptight stereotype.

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Hooking Up:

Hook up culture is prevalent in our society today.  Hook ups are a way of getting sexual gratification with no strings attached-you don’t have to go through the emotional rollercoaster of a relationship in order to have sex.  However, is it truly about sexual gratification?

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Studies show that only 19% of women reported having an orgasm compared with 44% of men who were hooking up.  Studies also show that women enjoy relationship sex more than they enjoy hookup sex.  So why do women participate in hookups if they don’t even enjoy themselves sexually?  Is it because of social pressures? Men’s participation in hookups does not make much sense either.

Men who are in relationships have sex much more often than men who just hook up, so why do men prefer hookups?  Michael Kimmel argues that hooking up is more about men’s relationships with other men than men’s relationships with women.  He believes that it’s more about men bragging to other men.

Works Cited:

Armstrong, Elizabeth A., Laura Hamilton, and Paula England. “Is Hooking up Bad for Young Women?” Ctx.sagepub.com. Sage Publications, 2010. Web. 4 Nov. 2013.

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