Not So Shy Anymore

Society today has a habit of scrutinizing sex and attempting to operationalize an act that to many, has different determining factors. This week’s in-class discussion regarding hook-ups and bootycalls simply serves as one example of the varying ways to interpret sexual acts while taking into account the context in which these acts take place. Kathleen A. Bogle in “Hooking Up: Men, Women, and the Sexual Double Standard” conducted interviews with college students on multiple subjects including the difference between certain sexual actions like, for example, a bootycall and a hook up. According to her findings “a bootycall is a late night phone call placed, often via cell phone, to an earlier hookup partner, inviting him or her over for another hookup encounter.” With terms like this circulating throughout the societal word bank, I cannot help but wonder what it was like back in the day. Were the Emory students of the 1950s and 1960s, or even the 1990s, going to parties in search of a hookup and potential bootycall, according to Bogle’s definition? If so, were they calling it this? The prevalence of sex in society of these time periods is something I have wondered about before.

What better place to seek clues regarding how sexual society was than the health services section of the yearbook? This section outlining the different services that the Emory clinic offers often implies something. For example, many health services excerpts one would encounter today would likely include something about contraceptives and ways to avoid a plethora of sexually transmitted diseases and infections. In addition, I would not be surprised to read about forms of birth control that are available or even simply something about how condoms can prevent unwanted pregnancy. Yet, even in 1999, the Health Services section of the yearbook simply mentioned HIV testing. Not to say that I would expect the Health Services portion today to seem like a brochure from Planned Parenthood, but rather that in current times, certain sources of health services would likely mention more about health issues related to sex. My hypothesis is that this is because we are more comfortable talking about sex (or hookups or bootycalls or whatever you may what to call it) today that people were in the past.

This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. On the one hand, the fact that we are accepting sex can positively contribute to a “Sex-Positive Society,” as Elroi J. Windsor and Elizabeth O. Burgess would put it. Yet on the other hand, this acceptance has lead to a highly sexualized society in which sex is seen as more than just an action, but a tool; a way of persuasion and manipulation. In the media, sex sells. It is the carpool lane on a freeway packed with vehicles of politics, the economy, and religion. It is, perhaps, a universal language. But the fact of the matter still remains, sex, today, seems to be more widely discussed than in past times. This is reflected in ways ranging from pop culture to the way in which healthcare is pitched.


Note Oct 11, 2012 (13)

Note Oct 11, 2012 (12)

1 thought on “Not So Shy Anymore

  1. JSmit: great use of pictures of the “artifacts” you found in the Emory yearbook and good incorporation of some of the readings from class. Remember when you quote from something you not only need to provide the author, but also include the page number. Example: “the dog is brown” (Bogle 3). Or: As Bogle explains, “the dog is brown” (3).

    Now onto your content: at first read, I wasn’t sure I was on board with your analysis. I thought “why would they put all that information about birth control, STIs, etc in the yearbook.” but then I thought this is 1999, the U.S. had been dealing with the sordid details of the Clinton/Lewinsky affair so it wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary to mention contraception, etc. in the yearbook piece. The question that remains for me is this: why such a sanitized version of what student health does? And does contemporary coverage of student health (on their website for example) paint a different picture?

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