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College Campus Hookup Culture and Its Effects On Self Esteem and Sexual Expression In College Age Women

Katherine Feinstein



College women discuss the effects that hookup culture has on their self-esteem on campus.
Source: Jerk

Hookup Culture is a phenomenon especially prevalent on college campuses that operates through heteronormative sexual scripts. Though at times sexually freeing, the non-emotional, one-sided rules of hookup culture can also be sexually oppressive and damaging to the self esteem of college women. 

Casual sex is a sticky subject, especially for college age women. At a school like the University of Michigan with 40,000 students, the prevalence of hyper masculine frat culture and alcohol is no small effect.

It’s no wonder many women aren’t always having their sexual and romantic needs met. Further, sexual stigma and heteronormative gender roles may be creating an oppressive culture for heterosexual women, as well as leaving women to blame and shame themselves. 

A casual sexual  relationship between two people in college is connected by one's self-esteem, especially in college women.

A study was conducted of 91 college-age women ranging from Freshmen (22%) to Seniors (4.4%) and varying in sexual identity to get a sense of if negative experiences with hookup culture and self-esteem are typical for women on campus.

As for if women even want casual sex to begin with, collectively 71.4% of women surveyed were either excited to have casual sex going into college or were considering/curious about it. 

Casual sex, it seems, is having its own movement as young people are decidedly more sexually active than they ever have been. 

According to the American Psychological Association (APA),  the age when people first marry and reproduce has been pushed back dramatically, while at the same time the age of puberty has dropped. Changing social and sexual scripts along with these developmental shifts have driven the rise of casual sex.

College women, then, don’t necessarily have as much legroom in determining what type of sexual encounter they’re looking for. When asked if they’ve felt in control of the encounter the times they’ve had one night stands or recurring casual sex, 51.2% of the women surveyed said that at times they’ve felt unheard. 

Olivia, who is a Junior at the University of Michigan, definitely felt as though the hookup culture has a power imbalance in that men have the final say, and she learned to not expect anything after a casual encounter. Further, there does seem to be a lack of respect when it comes to women’s expectations and pleasure. 

Hookup culture can be a touchy subject for college aged women, so young women further examine how it effects their self-esteem.

From the 91 women surveyed, when asked if they felt their needs were being met during casual sex, 50% answered “sometimes.” And that “they had to ask for it and were not completely satisfied” if their partner did try to address their pleasure.

There are several factors playing into why some college women are being left unfulfilled in the hookup scene.  Because the majority of women represented in the discussed survey are in sororities on the UoM campus, one aspect that may be driving this male dominance is the influence of hyper-masculinity in college fraternities. 

Hyper-masculinity characterizes the uber-macho, patriarchal and dominant aspects of manhood that, in the right environment, condition and pressure young men to validate their own masculinity.

Author Alexandra Robbins noted how the prevailing masculine characteristics include being expected to suppress emotions, desire multiple sexual partners, want to dominate situations and have control over women. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the majority of fraternity men want to follow them. 

Robbins states that “most college guys don’t endorse traditional masculine norms, but believe that most other men do”. Fraternity men then overestimated aspects of masculine behavior such as how much their fraternity brothers use alcohol and other drugs, how much sex they actually have or want to have, and tolerance of behavior that degrades women. 

Another Junior at the University of Michigan, Ali, is also a sorority woman who has recognized the sexual power dynamics on campus. She noted a specific partner whose actions towards her were influenced by the hypermasculine narrative: 

“When I was hooking up with this guy, I remember the guys in his frat would make fun of him for being friends with me, but also staying loyal to me even though we were only f**k buddies. That definitely influenced him ultimately disrespecting me and hooking up with someone else because, according to his guy friends, he would be a ‘pu**y’ if he didn’t.”. 

Ali knew this partner as a good friend and knew that it wasn’t necessarily in his nature to hurt her as he did. Instead, she said “guys know exactly what they’re doing and do it in front of other guys. They’ll jab each other when it comes to girls, and it creates that dynamic.”.

So, what are all of these confusing standards and rules doing to women’s self-esteem? Hookup culture seems to do one of two things: it either empowers women in their sexuality and autonomy in making sexual choices or can have a judgmental effect that diminishes their self-worth. 

Out of the 91 women surveyed, only 6% said they had “never” felt bad about themselves after a casual sexual encounter. 21% of these women- a whopping fifth- said they felt bad about themselves “About half the time”. 

Collectively 94% of these women have had poor self esteem from one of these experiences at some point or another. 

Similarly, Olivia admitted she mainly has had boyfriends in college because of the poor self-esteem that hookup culture caused her. When asked to elaborate, Olivia touched on the mentality many sorority women have when it comes to monthly Greek Life “Date Parties”. 

Date Parties at UofM are events hosted by sororities and fraternities typically at a club in Detroit, in which sorority women or fraternity men invite a date and spend the night with them drinking heavily at the club. Olivia noted how, if you are asked to a fraternity date party, it is almost expected that you ‘hook up’ with your date. 

Further, Olivia recalled several mornings after a Date Party or night out and felt almost exposed when re-entering her sorority house. 

She noted, “People judged me when I would come back the morning after, and I felt terrible about myself. I would come back the morning after in a dress and we would all laugh as if it were a joke. But it actually really hurt me.”

Interestingly enough, Olivia found a college woman’s body count- or the number of people she has had sex with- is this “dirty little secret” that other women care about. Men, on the other hand, “don’t really care about body count”.

In analyzing this through Robbins’s lens, perhaps this is because a college man’s body count is essential to the validation of his masculinity. Whether or not this is universally true, it certainly plays a part in dictating the inherent roles female and male sexuality play in hookup culture.

Ali also noted that the notorious morning-after “walk of shame” can be a point of deprecation, but has actually used it as an opportunity for her to take back her sexuality. She said, “It can be empowering to do the walk of shame knowing it’s what you want and just being strong and ‘impolite’ with no mercy when guys do that to girls all the time and get no shit for it.”

Ali also found a strategy early on in her sexual experiences at UofM to assert her needs. Ali said, “I knew I had to be non-committal, as well as openly honest and brutal when it came to my expectations”.

Ali  “felt empowered” by taking control of her own sexuality in the hookup culture scene, and saw that this was the best way to protect herself and check imbalances of power.

Thus, casual sex in college can cut both ways. This is all not to say that casual sex is bad, or the availability and opportunity to express and experiment with one’s sexuality is always damaging. 

Casual sex can actually be extremely beneficial to one’s personal and sexual growth, especially at this age. The root of the problem is the collection of heteronormative, patriarchal, and hypermasculine narratives that dictate how partners should operate in casual sex encounters.

Moving forward, as pointed out by Ali, the most important thing in casual sex relationships is to “be upfront, confident, communicative, and unapologetic”.

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Ways to Overcome Anxiety From the Coronavirus and Stay Positive

Sydney Murphy



Source: Creative Commons

Last week the World Health Organization officially declared Covid-19 a pandemic. The virus has infected approximately 413,000 people globally, greatly affecting financial markets, local economies, and home life.

The spread of this pandemic has resulted in over 18,000 deaths worldwide, with numbers exponentially increasing.

There is still time to change the course of Covid-19. Many are taking the initiative to constantly wash their hands, stockpile essential materials, and practice social distancing.

Dr. Harriet Lerner, a psychologist and author, has offered a few suggestions on how we can live as positively as we can in this time of global crisis.

Lerner suggests avoiding unregulated online news sources and relying on only depoliticized sources.

“My advice for coping,” she says, “is the same for all the scary events and possibilities that life brings: Go for the facts — even difficult ones — because anxiety escalates and fantasies flourish in the absence of information.” But don’t overdo it, as too much information can aggravate stress.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Reach out to your friends and family to hear what they have to say about the steps to take in this situation. Many have experienced different challenges than what you have overcome. Advice from others can be a valuable aid to your own comfort and safety.

Now is the time to turn toward each other.

“We are here to help each other out, so avoid being a do-it-yourselfer when you’re not qualified. You may choose not to follow the advice you seek, but it’s essential to have other perspectives” suggests Dr. Lerner. 

Prepare based on your own comfort.

If you are feeling anxious about the fear of everything disappearing from the markets, it may be calming to get a couple of extra weeks’ supply of food or medication. Do what makes you the most comfortable and sure of your well being.

“Passivity and inaction will make fear grow,” says Dr. Lerner.

Connect, connect, connect.

Though social distancing and quarantine mandates may require us to stay in our homes, this does not mean we have to isolate ourselves completely from the outside world.

Many have the ability to converse with loved ones and friends on social media platforms. This can be a vital part of keeping sane while in such an isolated environment. 

“It’s essential to stay connected to friends, neighbors, your adult children, anyone who matters to you. Especially those who induce a sense of calm rather than chaos. People need to hear your voice — and vice versa,” says Dr. Lerner.

Practice self-care.

Stay positive about what you are doing and don’t let any negative thoughts keep you from enjoying the sunshine through your window each day. Preparing positive affirmations can bring a great boost to our confidence and mood.

Even keeping a journal about the good things that happen each day, no matter how small, can make something negative into something appreciated. 

“Slow down, engage in healthy practices and try to sustain regular routines that bring comfort and stability. Therapy, conversation, exercise, yoga, meditation, and religious and spiritual practices are good starting points,” suggests Dr. Lerner.

Don’t let fear and anxiety become pandemics, too.

During times as stressful as these, it can be important to manage our own anxiety and support others as well.

“We should not let fear lead us into isolation or stop us from acting with clarity, compassion, and courage. Terrible things happen, but it is still possible to move forward with love and hope,” says Dr. Lerner.

These are five things you can do to prevent the spread of coronavirus:

Wash your hands for 20 minutes, regularly.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Limit how much time you spend out in public or around others.

Sanitize all common use surfaces with disinfectant wipes or spray.

Cover your sneeze or cough


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Mariah Carey Shows Support to the LGBT+ Community By Headlining Brighton Pride 2020



Mariah Carey praises the LGBTQ+ community by headlining the Brighton Pride.
Source: IG: mariahcarey

Mariah Carey is set to headline this year’s Fabuloso Pride festival in Brighton, Sussex.

The singer, who has sold over 200 million albums worldwide and accumulated 19 number-one hits, will take over the stage August 1. 

Brighton’s Fabuloso Pride in the Park is the UK’S largest pride festival that takes place July 31, to August 2. Recently rejoined girl group “The Pussycat Dolls” will headline the event Sunday, August 2.

Coordinator Chris Jepson said Mariah Carey is “a huge LGBTQ+ ally.”  Jepson also said Pride is excited for “everything Mariah can throw at us” and is hoping she’s going to pull out all the big hits for the festival.

            “She’s a global icon, not just for the LGTBQ+ community,” Jepson said.

In 2016, Carey was awarded the GLAAD award, which is given to those who represent fair, accurate and Inclusive representation for all. During her acceptance speech, Carey decided to put a spin on the meaning of LGBTQ+. 

“L for legendary, G for gorgeous, B for beautiful, T for tantalizing, and Q for quality,” Carey said. 

Before accepting the GLAAD award, Carey released an album titled “Rainbow” on November 2, 1999. The album includes songs titled, “Can’t Take That Away” and “Against All Odds.” Both songs, along with others, express self-love and acceptance for all.

“In a perfect world, human beings would coexist harmoniously, like a rainbow, a multitude of colors. Each layer vibrant and clear by itself but in unison boundless, breathtaking, celestial,” Carey said. 

Member of Mariah Carey’s fanbase the ‘lambily,’ Solomon Fortune, expressed his excitement for Carey’s performance

“Mariah has supported the LGBT community in her personal life with her two gay uncles, and with her fans.” Fortune said, “It’s nice that she’s finally headlining a gay-themed event, and I can’t wait to see her there.” 

In a recent Instagram video, Carey confirmed her appearance in Brighton with a playful video. 

“Of course I’m doing Brighton Pride this year darling’s, I can’t wait to see you there,” Carey said.

Jason Cruz, who is also a part of Carey’s fanbase, was filled with joy after finding out Carey was headlining Brighton’s pride. 

“I can’t think of anyone in the music industry who has been an ally to us as long as Mariah has.” Cruz said, “Mariah was supporting us way before it was even accepted, and for that alone she has my full support.”

Last year the festival brought more than 250,000 people to the city, but with the constant growth of the festival each year and Carey performing, there is no doubt this number will significantly increase.

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A Loving Boyfriend Surprises his Girlfriend with a Wedding Proposal at the end of her Chemo Treatment

Sydney Murphy



At the end of this lady's chemo treatment program, her boyfriend surprises her with a wedding proposal.
Source: Memorial Sloan Kettering | Youtube

Max Allegretti had the chance to prove his love for his girlfriend, Jillian Hanson, during a sensitive and challenging time in their lives.

Though Hanson was going through cancer treatment, Allegretti was her unwavering support system.

The couple met when Hanson signed up for a dodgeball tournament in her senior year of college and ended up playing on Allegretti’s team.

Allegretti and Hanson had known each other for a while before they started dating. It wasn’t until a couple of years after they had met that Allegretti asked Hanson out on a date. 

“I knew he was the one after a month of us dating. I never usually move that fast, but something about him was different,” Hanson said.

When Hanson was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer in July 2017, Allegretti held her hand in support and said, “I’m not going to leave your side.”

This was an immense undertaking of Allegretti, which strengthened Hanson’s trust in Allegretti’s love for her and the strength of their relationship. 

“They tell you how sick you get during treatment, but no one can really prepare you for any of this,” Hanson said. 

When Hanson learned that her cancer had spread and that treatment was going to get more intense, Allegretti remained by her side. They went through radiation treatments, lymph node removal surgeries, and hair loss after chemotherapy. 

“I had 16 rounds of chemotherapy for five months, plastic surgery, 25 rounds of radiation for five weeks, and now I am finishing infusion treatments that I do every three weeks,” Hanson said

Allegretti never failed in giving his all to Hanson’s comfort by finding ways to distract her or brighten up her day. He planned little events like going to the movies or spending a night out for dinner.

Throughout Hanson’s treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital Monmouth, Allegretti was there supporting her and empowering her through it all. 

“He told me that I was the strongest woman he knew and that this whole experience has made him love me more,” Hanson said.

Allegretti was sure he was going to propose to Hanson and was excited about what their future together would hold.

He discussed his plan for the wedding proposal with Hanson’s family and friends to create the best experience he could for Hanson.

“We all decided it would bring a lot more joy even to the special day it was going to be already,” Allegretti said.

Hanson was thrillingly surprised when Allegretti proposed to her at the hospital. Though just the thought of having a wedding was exciting enough, the luxury wedding planner Lauren Grech offered the couple a free designer wedding as recognition for Hanson’s strength and Allegretti’s loyalty. 

This couple’s undying love is true inspiration to savor each relationship’s good health and the loyalty involved. 

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