University of Illinois at Chicago professor to discuss hookup culture

College-age students hooking up is not new, but the results of a recent study showed unexpected results regarding the perception of hooking up, according to Barbara Risman, University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Sociology chair.

Risman, who will speak tomorrow – Oct. 29 – about hookup culture for the Women’s Studies department, found that most students thought less of others who “hooked up too much,” regardless of gender. They took on egalitarian attitudes, according to Risman. The next largest group was the egalitarian libertarian, who never looks down on anyone.

“The vast majority of college students had egalitarian attitudes and that was really a surprise,” Risman said. “[We] saw much less double standards than we had expected, though we did find almost 20 percent of men still had traditional double standards.”

The study also found a “sexual double standard” among men in fraternities and varsity sports, in that they “tend to have more sexist attitudes [and] hold more traditional double standards.”

Risman said being on a college campus is the first time young people are “free from the constraints of their families of origin” and able to develop into “who they will be as individual human beings.”

She said she hopes students who attend the lecture come away from it with more understanding about the effects that living on a college campus has on their attitudes. Different attitudes occur in fraternities and varsity sports compared to other parts of campus, according to Risman and the results in her study.

It is also important to study and understand “the extent to which” men and women are considered equal and have equal rights to sexual pleasure, according to Risman.

“It’s a different way of thinking about equality, but equality comes in lots of dimensions,” Risman said.

Risman recently published a paper on this topic with Rachel Allison, a doctoral candidate University of Illinois at Chicago, which is the key component of tomorrow’s lecture. Risman will discuss attitudes toward hooking up and “what they tell us about whether or not we still have a sexual double standard.” On the whole, Risman’s study looks at gender equality and attitudes toward hooking up “as a measure to try to figure out [if] equality or inequality still exists about sexual behavior between men and women on a college campus.”

Though there are many important studies on gender equality relating to wages and promotions, Risman said it is an important part of life that women have the right to sexual pleasure without being judged differently for such behavior.

“It is important to study the private in life as well as the public,” Risman said.
Speaking about “hookup culture” on a college campus is significant because it is important to understand “how far we’ve come toward equality between men and women and how people judge sexuality and sexual practices is very important.”

The lecture will take place at 5:30 p.m. in the Oak-Redbud Room of the Morris University Center.

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