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Lisa Wade gives Brockport the low-down on hooking up

by Tegan Mazur - Copy Editor
Tue, Apr 11th 2017 10:00 pm
Photos taken by Emma Misiaszek/PHOTO EDITOR

Lisa Wade (above) visited Brockport Thursday, April 6, to talk to students about the ins and outs of hookup culture on colleges campuses, discussing everything from masculinity to the orgasm gap between men and women. Students were given free copies of her book, and many stayed after the lecture to ask Wade questions.
Photos taken by Emma Misiaszek/PHOTO EDITOR Lisa Wade (above) visited Brockport Thursday, April 6, to talk to students about the ins and outs of hookup culture on colleges campuses, discussing everything from masculinity to the orgasm gap between men and women. Students were given free copies of her book, and many stayed after the lecture to ask Wade questions.

Whether you can't stop thinking about hooking up or never give it a second thought in your day-to-day life, Lisa Wade, Ph.D., gave a talk in the McCue Auditorium to provide students with a place to learn all about it. Wade is an associate professor at Occidental College in California. Her degrees include sociology, philosophy and human sexuality. 

Wade's talk kicked off The College at Brockport's series of events planned for April, which is recognized as sexual assault awareness month.

The event began prior to the discussion, as the first 100 students had the chance to grab a copy of her new book, "American Hookup: the New Culture of Sex on Campus" free of charge. Students gathered like polite moths to a flame and lined up outside the auditorium to nab themselves a copy of the book.

Once the students got their books they headed inside the auditorium and the professors in charge of the event kicked their organizational skills into high gear as the plentiful seats dwindled by the crowd packed into the venue. A few students sat in the aisles between the sections of seats. Needless to say, everyone was enthused to hear from Wade.

Students first received a brief introduction by Tristan Bridges, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology, serving to highlight Wade's qualifications and achievements as a sociologist and a speaker, getting the already anticipatory crowd primed and ready to receive Wade's message. 

Wade herself was a masterful speaker, giving off the fluid, calm demeanor of someone familiar with speaking in front of a crowd. The talk itself was masterful and covered a range of topics relating to hookup culture. 

The discussion began with an anecdotal story featured in her new book about a student she knows named Owen. His story was meant to be a segway into talking about hookups. Owen's story of going to college and participating eagerly in hooking up, but ultimately finding it unsatisfying, was a perfect way to begin a discussion laced with sensitive and, at times, awkward subject matter. She began the subject of hookup culture itself by explaining to students the complex nature of it. 

"Hooking up is a word that we call strategically ambiguous," Wade said. "It tends to describe anything from making out to having advanced sexual activities."

She discussed the origins of hookup culture, tracing it all the way back to the starting of college fraternities and their rebellious attitude toward the traditional notions about college. 

Wade's talk also dissected the way that men and women interact differently with hookup culture, discussing how women will often compromise their sexual happiness in order to remain in an attractive posture during sex in order to constantly feel attractive, due to the overwhelming pressures on them to do so inside hookup culture. She dove into the way that men's masculinity plays a huge role in their participation in hookup culture. 

She even cited that hookup culture is the primary way in college to express masculinity.

"Being able to perform masculinity in a way that other men approve of is actually a really important skill in America," Wade said. "Hookup culture is one place that men are practicing the skill and honing this skill."

Even after the talk itself was finished, there was still a majority of the crowd that stayed behind to listen and ask Wade direct questions. Wade said she was pleased at the end of the question-and-answer portion, feeling that all the questions were intelligent and served to make the talk even more productive. 

During the discussion Wade was not afraid to be honest about everything she could, even the limits of her research. After a question by one student she admitted that the research she and others have does not delve deeply into the way transgender and genderqueer individuals interact with hookup culture, if at all.

Wade's speech, including the question-and-answer portion, was about an hour and a half long, but the amount of information crammed into that time felt like much more. She seemed to squeeze the basic premises of her book into one single talk, with the goal of giving them the tools to change the culture around them. 

Bridges was glad to see the amount of students that showed up, and is optimistic about the effects of her talk.

"I hope that students walked away from this feeling empowered and that they have some control over what the sexual culture on their campus looks like," Bridges said.

Wade's book talks about many of the subjects she discussed in her speech, no doubt giving students more to ponder. 

Whether it's in her book or in her lectures, Wade's ideas are something that everyone can hopefully use to make a change for the better on campus.


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