College girls gone wild (and proud of it)

A recent grad argues that the real problem with some young women's sex lives is their lack of shame.

Published May 10, 2007 9:35PM (EDT)

The cautionary tales of college girls gone wild got what might be their first historiographical treatment from Nerve's Annsley Chapman, who critiques what she refers to as the "Concerned Writers of America" who have been wringing their hands over the loose hips and looser lips of America's young, sexually liberated women. A recent graduate herself and one who sees all the worry about college students attending ho parties to give dudes blow jobs in the bathroom as so much fluff about nothing, she argues that a) women aren't having more sex than previous generations but, rather, just aren't embarrassed to talk about it, and b) many women who may seem to fit the stereotype of brainless party girls are forgoing romance and serious relationships to focus on their careers (just as many young men have always done).

Chapman guesses that it's women's lack of shame that is the real source of consternation about young co-eds from writers as diverse as Dr. Anonymous (author of "Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student"), former New Yorker writer/full-time stay-at-home mom Caitlin Flanagan and veteran sermonizer Tom Wolfe. Chapman points out that an old college friend recently told her about hooking up with a fullback at a theme party called "Golf Pros and Tennis Hos" in which the "girls wore super-short tennis skirts and heels" and everyone "got incredibly wasted."

As a mother of two little girls, I can't help finding all the stories about public, drunken sexual antics downright depressing. Not because they involve sex but because it seems so mindless that in the name of fun some young women dress up like "hos" according to a frat house rule book. And this behavior bears little relationship to any real young women I know -- who range from radical commies to devout reborn Christians and everything in between. (If anything, they're a hell of a lot more chaste than I ever was.) But Chapman makes a great point: that any literature devoted to worrying about grown women's sexual habits is by nature belittling, though maybe not quite as belittling as the concept of a "Tennis Hos" theme party.

By Carol Lloyd

Carol Lloyd is currently at work on a book about the gentrification wars in San Francisco's Mission District.

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