“Hooking up” is a term thrown around quite a bit in the college environment. However, the actual meaning can often be ambiguous. People with varying social experiences define the term in different ways. This was the topic Rebecca Plante, associate professor of sociology, spoke about at this week’s Tuesday Salon titled, “Hooking Up: What is it Good For?” in the Handwerker Gallery at Ithaca College.
Plante spoke about aspects of hooking up with 20 to 25 students in an open discussion. She began the evening by saying 120 interviews have been conducted in 30 schools about the subject of hooking up.
“That’s a lot of detail and a lot of information,” Plante said.
From then on an explosion of discussion occurred.
The beginning subject was what the definition of hooking up actually is. One thing the majority did agree on was that hooking up is used as a vague term for some sort of intimate encounter. It was a popular opinion at the discussion that explicitly telling people what happened in a hookup was not always the best thing to do. However, some felt pressured to tell. The group talked about a locker room situation where men might be pressured brag about women they’ve hooked up with.
There was no clear-cut consensus from everyone. Some people said hooking up is meaningless, and it is just something that happens. Others said hooking up had to be between two people who did not know each other before their encounter. Several other students said it is OK for the people to know one another. Everyone had a different opinion about what it really meant.
Plante said her initial interest in this subject came from parents who misinterpret what hearing about hooking up means.
“[Parents] hear about this kind of thing and automatically assume that it means that kids are just running around having rampant sex with strangers and that [they] don’t date and are not interested in relationships,” she said. Therefore, these parents have doubts young adults in this generation will get married and the values of the previous generations will fall to the wayside, she said.
Freshman Benji Maust said he enjoyed attending the event.
“It was really educational,” he said. “I feel I took more from it than I would have if it was in a book. Being able to discuss with different people about hooking up, it was more personal and human.”
For senior Noah Drori, the discussion brought up a lot of questions of the importance, or lack thereof, placed on hooking up.
“The issue with having something so rare as the level of engagement and depth and trust in the room sort of loses its possibility,” he said. “Hooking up’s purpose is to not have any binding or anything to actually have to relate to the person next to you, so I think that has it’s pivotal play in how that actually works out.”
Whether or not every student agreed with what was said, it was a successful discussion with nearly everyone participating. Plante said she feels like being able to have a discussion students feel comfortable talking about is important.