College Math: Slut + Lush = Slush

October 5, 2010

A few weeks ago a woman named Joy Brondite left a comment at Feministing mentioning that she had discovered Hooking Up Smart. Though she found it verbose and overly analytical 🙁 , and didn’t enjoy the lively discussion, I was more interested in this statement:

“There is this notion of slut shaming in the media and it happens on a more personal level among people who shame one another. There is also something that is discussed on other websites but never in the wider media – something called slut rejection. The latter is what heterosexual men who seek a life partner supposedly engage in. I have personal experience with this. My ex did not try to shame me but upon knowing more about me, he just sort of faded away. Its so wrong that women may have to lie or not say anything and either strategy is prone to backfire. I believe that if men had less alternatives, that is if most or many women had a fruitful sexual history, then that would become the norm and therefore acceptable.”

That’s quite a remarkable statement, don’t you think? The feminist solution to slut shaming is to recruit so many women to sluthood that the supply of sexually inexperienced women will disappear. Men will have their fun in college, and when it comes time to marry, their only choice will be from among “fruitful” women. It’s interesting because it’s an acknowledgement that men can’t be rehabbed into the feminist way of thinking. The Women’s Movement tore down many walls, but the male brain is the last frontier, and the feminist siege cannot succeed in eradicating this last double standard.

The male aversion to women of “easy virtue” does not just apply to dating and relationships. Karen Owen, the meh Duke grad whose boast of the “remarkable” achievement of one-night stands with 13 different varsity athletes just went viral, has just one career option left to her at this point: Sex Columnist. Harper Collins is rumored to be ready to offer her a book deal, so if all goes well she can publish and then follow Monica Lewinsky into designing handbags after emigrating from the U.S.  Not surprisingly, even men who have no intention of seducing her may recoil at her exploits – employers, colleagues, friends, husbands of friends, family members – is there a male among them who won’t judge this woman as debauched? Feminists can revel in her critique of male genitals and technique – “Ha, now who’s being dissed in the campus quad!” – but they can’t change the way men view Karen, now or ever.

Marina Adshade writes a blog calls Dollars and Sex for Big Think, where she “applies the analytical and statistical tools available to economists to examine human sexuality.” In her recent post The Realm of Hammered, Horizontal Academics, she references the Owen piece and asks, “How much of college student promiscuity is the result of binge drinking?” The National Bureau of Economic Research published a recent study on Binge Drinking and Risky Sex Among College Students, a survey of 136 colleges. Their findings include:

  • 46% of students had binge drank in the month preceding the survey (binge drinking is defined as 5 drinks over a short period of time).
  • In the preceding three months, three-fifths of students had sex.
  • One-ninth had sex with at least two partners.
  • 65% of those having sex failing to use a condom at least once in the previous month.
  • 10% had previously become pregnant or had impregnated someone else at least once.
  • Binge drinkers are 25% more likely to be sexually active.
  • 20% more likely to have sex without a condom.
  • 94% more likely to have had multiple recent sex partners.

She concludes:

According to the research, excessive drinking leads to more risky sex in college students so perhaps, then, it is no surprise that our Duke student called the hookup she had sober an “entirely new experience” and calling sex while comatose a “normal nite.”

A dating safety website offers some other statistics:

  • 50% of men and 35% of women are binge drinkers (have five or more drinks in a row at least every two weeks).
  • 25% of all college age women drink to the point of being drunk four times per month.
  • Research indicates that women may be more affected by alcohol in the 3-4 days just before their menstrual periods than at other times.
  • Almost 50% of unplanned sexual encounters are under the influence of alcohol.
  • 80% of first sexual experiences occur under the influence of alcohol.
  • By senior year, 81% of students have had sex because they were drunk.
  • College students who mix alcohol and sex report having more partners whom they know only “slightly” or “moderately.”
  • In two-thirds of unplanned pregnancies, the woman was intoxicated during sex.
  • 60% of STDs are transmitted when the partners are drunk.
  • 40% of men in one study thought it was acceptable behavior to force sex on a woman who was drunk.
  • 75% of admitted date rapists said they used alcohol to get dates drunk so they would have sex.
  • 90% of all sexual assaults occur under the influence of alcohol.
  • Chronic or continuous drinking, even in college students, destroys testosterone in males, causes withering of the testicles, enlargement of male breasts, loss of hair, and impotence.

Recently Javier Avitia, a writer for the Johns Hopkins News Letter wrote a piece called Banging Under the Influence. It’s since been deleted and Avitia forced to apologize. Rachel Ryan at Frum Forum highlighted the most controversial of his statements:

“For guys, the appeal of [banging under the influence] is obvious: it cuts out the hassle of having to pretend to care about a relationship and the protocols of a thing called “courtship.” If they want to sleep with a girl, it gives them an excuse to think with the other head, and, as many a study has shown, girls become more submissive when intoxicated while men conversely become more emboldened. So score one for the men.

Though less obvious than a guy’s reasons, on top of the relaxing effects of alcohol and not having to deal with whiney boyfriends, girls also find drinking appealing since it gives them a convenient excuse to be promiscuous and not be considered slutty by society’s biased standards. (Girls, I’ve got your backs.)”

Apparently, this outraged Avitia’s female classmates. He continues:

“…Alcohol serves as the friendly mediator, breaking down the twin barriers of social awkwardness and moral inhibition. When we drink it not only becomes easier to court someone but there’s also a good chance that the courtee is also drunk. In these situations, alcohol makes the proposition of sex less a game of blindfold chess and more a matter of whether both of the participants can walk back to a designated destination.”

If alcohol is the lubricant that enables us to do things we wouldn’t do sober, then women who drink to near blackout do so in order that they may become carefree enough to hook up on impulse. They want to forget what they’ve known all their lives – that males punish women for promiscuity by rejecting them for commitment.

Ryan commends Avitia’s candor:

“Avitia is entirely correct in asserting that this hookup dynamic “cuts out the hassle of having to pretend to care.”

She goes on to point out that women stand to gain little from a hookup:

“In so far as asserting that such a hookup scene exists, where girls willingly drink and boys exuberantly benefit from their inevitable drunken promiscuity, Avitia is merely observing a commonly accepted reality.  Where he errs, however, is in his pronouncement that this is a good deal for all parties involved.

Talking with some of my peers, it’s safe to say that most of the boys (or, I guess – seeing as they’re all mostly over 18 – most of the men…) are in agreement that “it’s awesome.”  Not so for girls – I mean, women…?  Although many are afraid to admit it for fear of seeming – gasp – emotional and clingy, girls aren’t as enthusiastic about this generation’s no-strings-attached “relationship.”

Before “opening our eyes” to the no-strings-attached reality, my friends and I would sit around on Sunday mornings freshman year theorizing about why so-and-so from the other night hadn’t called:  “We talked a lot.  He seemed so into me.  He said he liked me. I really thought he would call.””

Refreshingly, she doesn’t let women off the hook. Being cast aside after a “one and done” hookup does not make a woman a victim:

“After a few months of perceived rejection and a requisite hardening that comes with accepting the seemingly unavoidable status quo, we resolved that “boys suck” because they took advantage and didn’t like us – this is the prevailing sentiment voiced by all those who found Avitia’s article so offensive.  However, when are college girls and feminist apologists going to realize that girls going to these bars and frat parties are not having drinks forced down their throats by the boys at the other end of the room?  Girls are an equally responsible player. They’re the ones reaching for that fourth beer and final shot.  It takes two to tango, baby.”

Avitia provides us with a cost-benefit analysis of getting wasted in order to hook up:

PROS:

  • “It can double as an amnesiac so you don’t even remember just how stupid you acted.”
  • “[It results in] “beer goggles” which means our perception of another person’s attractiveness gets skewed exponentially the more we drink.”
  • “It drastically increases our hunting grounds for the night even if we’ll probably regret it in the morning.”

CONS:

  • “While it’s great when both parties are drunk, it’s miserable to be slobbered on or harassed by a drunk when sober.”
  • “[There’s] a chance of whiskey dick which means your gun can’t be loaded and there’ll be no firefight that night.”
  • “There is also the just-fell-off-Mt. Everest hangover.”
  • “Realizing that last night you were actually banging Mobey Dick.”
  • “The infamous walks of shame in the morning when everyone has sobered up and hypocritically judges you for not being wise enough to walk back before everyone was up.”
  • “The awkward post-sex conversation a few days later.”

Um, that’s from the male perspective, and even that doesn’t sound so great.

Though it sounds like a stretch, feminists have now taken up the fight to prevent drunk-shaming. We don’t want to do anything that makes women feel inhibited about sex, including letting them get sober! A recent public service campaign at the University of Minnesota called The Other Hangover (Hat tip: VJ) has come under fire at Jezebel for shaming women who get drunk and act slutty. Anna North, that Master of Cognitive Dissonance and Crap Writing, rants:

“What do I mean by drunk-shaming? Well, here’s “The Other Hangover” campaign’s “message strategy”: “Over-consumption leads to regrettable behavior that puts your reputation at risk.” And here’s one of their many posters:








As is so often the case, “reputation” here is code for “don’t be a slut.” Specifically, don’t show your dirty pillows to dudes (who, from the weird lighting, look like they are enjoying a beer at about 10 a.m.), or they will never respect you again.”

Actually, she’s right about the lighting – that is weird. I prefer this one:

Just to put things in perspective, there are also posters about guys acting out, and girls misbehaving with no guy in sight.

North:

“These folks look like they’re having a good time… But the bar’s other patrons — extremely well-behaved and temperate twenty-one-and-a-half-year-olds — are giving them serious stink-eye…Drinking isn’t really the issue here.

…Even irrespective of its upsetting gender politics, the campaign takes a fucked-up approach to curtailing drinking: don’t get too drunk, it’s saying, or you’ll do something stupid, and everyone will hate you. Newsflash: if you are a young person, you will probably do plenty of stupid things even without drinking. Luckily, people probably won’t hate you (unless you repeatedly harass their friends, in which case maybe they should). The idea that “preserving your reputation” is a good reason not to drink is just restrictive and cruel, and basically encourages people to be judgmental assholes.”

When did it become so unacceptable to have a reputation worth preserving? Will Anna North and her cronies not be satisfied until every college woman in America is a slush? The part of the argument that I find particularly ludicrous is this tortured logic:

If you are a young person, you will probably do plenty of stupid things even without drinking. =====> really means =====> You might as well have fun drinking because you’ll be doing stupid things either way.

This is a page taken from Amanda Marcotte’s playbook on Sluthood 101, which states that plenty of women who wait to have sex in a relationship get dumped too. Not being promiscuous doesn’t prevent heartbreak, so you might as well have fun being promiscuous!

I’ve always assumed that these types of arguments were the products of massive amounts of cognitive dissonance, enabled and encouraged via years of indoctrination. But perhaps the objective is more nefarious than that – maybe sex-positive feminists want to recruit you. They can’t really take over the world, leaving men without any choice at all, until they ensure that every woman under 40 is a drunken slut.

Behaviors have consequences. You owe it to yourself to make informed choices. Look around you at the slush roadkill, and learn from others’ mistakes. One bad decision (or 13) can ruin your future. Your reputation is how you are known by the world. Don’t squander it.