Fiona's Blog: Maybe SHE'S Just Not That Into YOU (or: Stupid Hook-up Stereotypes)
A friend of mine recently created a zine about the slut/stud double standard for a electives course called Feminisms that she’s taking. She included various fairy-tale-esque ads she found in magazines depicting women as love-obsessed. Watching her make her zine got me thinking about the image we always see of women as relationship-focused and emotional. Specifically, it got me thinking about the way we’re generally told girls and boys view random hook-ups, and I began to question whether those views are as widespread as we’ve been led to believe.
Remember the movie He’s Just Not That Into You? For those of you who missed it, the basic premise of this highbrow film (read: crappy rom-com) is that women and girls make up all kinds of excuses to rationalize men’s jerky behavior. According to He’s Just Not That Into You, we come up with justifications when a guy doesn’t call us, ignores us, or just treats us generally badly.
Apparently, we all need to realize that, upsetting as it is, he’s just not that into us. I agree. If someone is treating you badly, chances are they aren’t worth your time. But I have one issue.Movies like He’s Just Not That Into You and nearly every other rom-com in existence (save, maybe 500 Days of Summer) tell us that men often act like jerks and sometimes act nice. They usually tell us to find the nice guys, but they never address the fact that women also act like jerks, and sometimes she’s just not that into you.
It’s time to realize that girls and boys can be found on all points of the spectrum. Yes, for many girls a random hook-up is a hopeful entrée into a relationship, however for other girls it is just a random hook-up. Similarly, there exist boys who view random hook-ups as more than a successful attempt to get some. The stereotyping we see in popular culture showing women as desperate for relationships and emotional connections, and men as taking advantage of any chance to get physical isn’t entirely accurate, doesn’t allow for outliers to the formula, and creates misunderstandings.
It’s nearly impossible to escape high school (and from what I hear, college) these days without hearing about, seeing, or participating in immense saliva-sharing (hello, rising herpes rates!). I have to say, as a senior in high school, what I’ve seen does not follow the rom-com pattern. I have one very close friend who seems to think every random hook up is a possibility for a fully-developed relationship, and finds herself disappointed every time things don’t work out that way.
On the other side of the spectrum, a friend recently hooked up with a guy at a party, not expecting anything, and was approached by him the next day. Apparently the guy wanted to address what he expected to be her dismay that the hook-up didn’t mean anything. He was surprised when she wholeheartedly agreed and was surprised he would have thought anything else. I guess the moral of that story is that boys watch just as many rom-coms as we do.
The fact is, random hook-ups are probably a little confusing for all parties involved, since they don’t generally involve much talking about what it all means before it all happens. As with nearly everything in high school, if people said what they really felt, many more feelings would probably be preserved, but I don’t think anyone sees that changing in the near future. In the meantime, maybe we can just make a couple of movies about her not being into him, and cast Ryan Gosling as the weepy, confused reject instead of Jennifer Connolly.
Fiona Lowenstein is a high school senior, weekly guest blogger and Girls Leadership Institute alumna. Read more of her work here.