USC’s Hook-Up Culture is Violent and a Danger To All Students

Daniella Lollie

For a glimpse at how normalized rape culture is at this University, one only has to go to the “USC Hook-Ups” Facebook page, a site in which people can anonymously send in accounts of their latest “hook-up” for the reading pleasure of the public.

The problem with this Facebook page is not that it encourages casual sex or that it celebrates having many sexual partners—things I consider to be morally neutral. The problem is that “hook-up” culture, as of now, does not advocate for respect of the individual. Rape, sexual assault and coercion are norms within it, and worse, within this culture it seems that people cannot even recognize sexual violence, even when it is literally in their faces on their computer screens.

racist screenshot

I started reading the page because I knew that I would find homophobia, and examples of degradation, most commonly in the form of the word “bitch” and the chastising of women for bleeding on bed sheets. What truly angered me, though, were the posts that were explicit examples of rape culture being played out. One post goes so far as to describe an instance of rape.

The rape post stated, “#85 My date just woke me up by asking what happened last night. She doesn’t remember anything and asked if she cheated on her boyfriend. I said definitely. She cried and walked home.”

In a rage, I started to comment on the posts that I deemed to be the most extreme in terms of sexual violence. The first I commented on is a post whose punch line is the idea of pain experienced by a female. The post read, “#42. To the girl I made bleed from going so hard. Sorry about that. I’ll send you painkillers for a delivery soon.” When even worse posts started to surface, like one which managed to simultaneously “slut-shame,” mock physical pain and chastise a woman for choosing not to continue sex, started to arise, I began to comment more frequently and was met with racist and sexist opposition. One male student told me to “shut. up.,” the periods at the end of each word indicating that he was used to barking orders at women. I kindly replied, “yes master.”

Eventually, I was barred from commenting on the site and all my comments were deleted by the administrator of the Facebook page. That’s right. This page that is filled top to bottom with violence, rape culture, degradation, hate speech, homophobia, posted videos without the consent of those within them, peeping toms and the mock of consent chose to only delete the comments which called people out for perpetuating sexual violence.

The most disturbing thing about this page is that it displays fully the fact that a large proportion of our student body cannot recognize violence when they see it. When I called out a post that read, “#83 To the girl from last semester that only let me fuck her for 3 minutes because she was ‘Too sore from getting fucked by someone else the night before’, thanks for the blue balls. #throwback”, another student replied that I needed to reevaluate what I saw as violence and go to “Tijuana” or “the ghetto” to see what was actually up.  Actually, sir, it is you that needs to reevaluate what you see as violence.  You and every other student who liked any of the posts on this page.

It was proven on “USC Hookups” that USC students are in a perpetual state of risk. We are at risk because so many people cannot tell when they are “hooking up” with someone or raping them. They can’t tell when they are simply making a joke or propagating rape culture by chastising someone for not continuing sex. I’m aware that most of these posts are probably fabricated, but that does not change the implications of the responses to them. If it were all fun and games and one big joke, I would not know so many victims of sexual assault and harassment on this campus. I would not be an eye witness to it so often and I would not be a victim of it so many times myself.

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14 responses to “USC’s Hook-Up Culture is Violent and a Danger To All Students

  1. Hi Daniella! I’m working on an article about hookup culture on college campuses for class (I’m a USC student) and I was wondering if you’re available for a quick interview sometime this week. My email is elizabcj@usc.edu.

  2. Pingback: Unhooked: Reflections on “USC Hook-Ups” and the Counter-Culture of Commitment | The Interloper @ USC·

  3. I agree with Bane. As a woman myself, I think that this article is a little far fetched. In order to be written about on this hook-up page in the first place, obviously a girl is putting herself in a position where she may end up hooking up with a guy (whether or not they would have sober). I am in no way blaming whatever “rape culture” or “sexual violence” that exists solely on the girl for being irresponsible, but I think that it is extremely one-sided to use this hook-up page as a reason to rant about rape culture.

    • “In order to be written about on this hook-up page in the first place, obviously a girl is putting herself in a position where she may end up hooking up with a guy ”
      ally, correct me if I’m wrong but are you insinuating that in order for a hook-up to happen in the first place, the sex is inherently non-coercive? just because a woman has “put herself in a position” where she may have sex does not mean she got there on her own terms. many of my friends and i have found ourselves in positions where we felt we had no voice, especially in our freshman year of college. far too often women feel trapped by the expectations of the other party, to the point where they resign themselves to sex because they felt they “had to”. perhaps that doesn’t fit the legal definition of rape, but it’s no coincidence that this sentiment is so prevalent among women in college (and beyond).
      it’s not one-sided to critique a page that is in itself one-sided. i think we have to admit that the overwhelming majority of the content on the page is driven by male, self-congratulatory fantasy, even the posts supposedly written by females. how many of the “female” posts are a gross exaggeration of negative stereotypes (the “slut” who fucks every man in sight, the girl who brags about bleeding all over sheets, etc. etc.)? these posts that supposedly embody a female perspective are likely written by men, for men to satisfy their own projections of women. that’s not true equality.
      “rape culture” encompasses not just the act of rape but the overall attitudes and representations that encourage an environment conducive to rape. whether or not you believe the page should be removed, you have to admit that usc hookups only perpetuates a culture of disregard for female bodily agency.

      • L, I am insinuating nothing. “Resigning themselves to sex” is caused by lack of self-empowerment, and it is naive to think that complaining about the “environment” will have a greater impact on negative stereotypes than women respecting theirselves. Male expectations are based off of experience, and by going along with that, we as women lose our voice. Except for in extreme cases, it is completely sexist to blame college hook-ups on men and their stereotypes of women. To repeat myself, I am in no way blaming whatever “rape culture” or “sexual violence” that exists solely on the girl for being irresponsible, but I think that this article is one-sided.

  4. Jimmy – if you think this is funny, then I feel sorry for you. You’ll never find or understand what real love with a woman is. What a sad, lonely existence.

  5. Really? This is what you choose to be outraged about? Nevermind your gross and frankly offensive misuse of the term “rape culture.” Nevermind the fact that, no matter how you spin it, you got so worked up and aggressively belligerent towards what amounts to a college version of Penthouse Forum (which, let’s be honest, is probably less than 25% full of stories that actually happened) that you were blocked from commenting on it. You do realize that, while you’re picking this silly little fight, women on Colorado college campuses are right now fighting for their right to defend themselves against rape and sexual assault? The Colorado legislature is trying to ban concealed carry on campus, and one senator even dismissed a rape victim begging for her right to carry a gun to defend herself by saying “the stats aren’t in your favor.” Does any of this concern you? If you were truly and deeply concerned about the safety of college women, you’d stop wasting your time getting upset over a non-issue like a college hook-ups page and focus your energy on real issues that are having real, lasting, and far-reaching consequences.

    • Bane Kiffin, you could not be more off and it is baffling that you can’t see how intertwined these issues are. Maybe you don’t know what a rape culture is, but this IS one. And I don’t know how a college woman who doesn’t care about the safety of women in college would be able to write this article.

      • Please enlighten me, because yes, I fail to see any reasonable connection between college students posting about their sexual exploits and an entire state denying its college women the right to defend themselves with a firearm on campus. And honestly, I would like to believe that the author is genuinely and purely concerned about women’s safety, despite the fact that her argument and verbiage suggest a militant attitude more concerned with throwing around “isms” and “phobias” than looking for real positive solutions. But if that’s the case and she is truly sincere, she really needs some perspective.

    • Bane,
      I’m not sure if you’re aware, that while though Colorado is fighting to KEEP their conceal carry permits (I sure hope they do). It is ILLEGAL for a majority of Californians, unless you’re job is in law enforcement (they can get conceal carry for their personal weapons), to carry concealed guns. Maybe it’s posts like this that will start to bring attention to the issue on college campuses, as well as every other place in this country, that women (and men too) have a right to protect themselves, since law enforcement isn’t technically required to.

    • Maybe the author of the article (and most people who live in the real world) feel that the way that people on this page describe what they are doing or what they think is funny is inherently misogynistic and seems to stem from a world view where the wants and insecurities of the individual are more important than the rights of whoever happens to be near them that night (or afternoon).

      When you speak about someone like an object it becomes easier to think of them as an object. When you do it in large groups and perpetuate that mindset everyday it becomes a part of you. I’m not saying that anyone that posts on this website for laughs is a rapist, but my advice is to think about this subject carefully and ask yourself if you believe that anyone or any group of people deserves to be spoken about with such disrespect. You will realize that maybe we as men need to take a little more responsibility for the things we stupidly blurt out because those things create a cascade effect that leads to rape and thinking it’s okay to get someone hammered to try and get laid. I hope that you will realize that everything we do has far reaching consequences and we can’t high-five each other for hurting someone.

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