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[began] to think of what had happened as rape.” The piece then devotes eight paragraphs to the idea that the “close relationship between hooking up and drinking leads to confusion and disagreement about the line between a ‘bad hookup’ and assault,” citing a study of two large universities in which 14 percent of the women had experienced sexual assault, and half of those assaults involved drugs or alcohol.

Another Penn student quoted in the story describes a boy who physically coerced her into performing oral sex.

Hookup culture” is an umbrella term—a vague collection of behaviors associated with today’s young people and how they choose to approach sex, romance, relationships, and social life.

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The obligation to obtain consent has nothing to do with the social context of the interaction.

By the time Taylor mentions sexual assault, she has devoted considerable space to Susan Patton, aka “Princeton Mom,” who laments “vitriolic messages from extreme feminists” that supposedly discourage women from wanting marriage and families.

Disrespect for female sexuality did not originate with hooking up—in fact, it is a cultural, deeply powerful disrespect for female sexuality that leads to such anxiety about hookup culture.

It is quite possible to interrogate how drinking complicates men’s and women’s communication of consent without blaming women for rape or negative consensual sexual experiences. Focusing on schoolwork or career goals rather than relationships does not lead to rape.

The primary concerns of the piece in the first three sections (“An Economic Calculation,” “Independent Women,” and “Adapt, Have Fun”) revolve around ambitious students who aren’t interested in serious relationships, who prioritize their studies and their futures, and who have adjusted their romantic expectations since arriving at college.

Given these narratives, hedged by Patton’s moralistic judgement, the prominence of sexual assault on college campuses is presented as an aspect of hookup culture—inextricably linked to women’s sexual liberation and independence.

Taylor describes a student at the University of Pennsylvania who attended a party with a boy: “She had too much to drink, and she remembered telling him that she wanted to go home.” The boy took her to his room and raped her—he had intercourse with her despite her drifting in and out of consciousness.

Taylor writes that the girl described it as a “funny story” to her friends, but “only later …

It is as if rape and sexual assault were not a problem for women before they were free to prioritize their own lives over relationships—as if women’s satisfaction with non-committal sexual relationships has lead directly to men’s predatory behavior.

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