Laura Sessions Stepp's Unhooked is an intriguing and informative glimpse into the realm of hookup culture as it is currently playing out among contemporary high school and college students. Stepp tracks three groups of adolescent and post-adolescent women as they navigate the stormy waters of sex and love in the modern world, seeking insight into their perceptions of physical and emotional intimacy, and asking hard questions about how they handle - and choose not handle - romance and relationships.
Ellen Archer is a lively performer who brings a strong, sharp energy to this audiobook, and her clear articulation guides listeners with ease through Stepp's thought-provoking expedition into the brave new world of modern love.
We're living in an increasingly sexualized world, and it's the young, particularly young women, who must deal with the consequences. Kids are having more sexual contact than ever, and at an earlier age. They call it "hooking up". But what is "hooking up"? According to Laura Sessions Stepp, a reporter at the Washington Post, hooking up eludes a neat definition. It can be anything from an innocent kiss to sexual intercourse.
In Unhooked, Stepp follows three groups of young women (one in high school, one each at Duke and George Washington Universities). She sat with them in class, socialized with them, listened to them talk, and comes away with some disturbing insights, including her finding that hooking up carries with it no obligation on either side. Relationships and romance are seen as messy and time-consuming, and love is postponed or, worse, seen as impossible. Some young women can handle this, but many can't, and they're being battered physically and emotionally by the new dating landscape. The result is a generation of young people stymied by relationships and unsure where to turn for help.
"The need to be connected intimately to others is as central to our well-being as food and shelter," Stepp writes in Unhooked. "In my view, if we don't get it right, we're probably not going to get anything else in life right."
©2007 Laura Sessions Stepp; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
"This insightful study is vivid and engaging, and includes a practical conversation guide for mothers and daughters, making it a valuable text for parents that goes beyond the latest the-kids-are-not-alright headlines." (Publishers Weekly)
BA English MA Political Science Political Independent Intellectually curious Critical reader
I have read other reviews that really fail to get the importance of what Seesions is trying to say. As a society the US needs to stop and take a collective look in the mirror. It's not about taking a far right or left stand, it's about looking at attitudes and behavior patterns that are healthy and productive. In the current psychological state of individuality and freedom of self expression many people have neglected their obligations not only to others, but also to themselves. This book is a really good book for girls and women, but it is important for men, and essential for parents of boys or girls. Worth the listen.
To understand my review, it may be best to describe myself. I grew up in the culture just barely before that of these girls studied in this book. I'm still of the 'old school' who opens doors and expects a woman to be worthy of a date, though I date women from this generation - I've done the "hook up" for many years and have grown past it. This book describes, in honest "in-your-face" detail, the way most younger adults now think. The real lesson is that this is a review on an entire culture, not just women and sexuality.
Probably the best audience for this book is for young women themselves, but immediately thereafter for parents of young women. And by young women, I mean 12-14 year old women. Yes, specifically that young, because whether you like it or not, or you think it or not...your daughters are who this is book is nodding towards. And if you think "not my daughter", then it's even MORE likely your daughter could be reviewed in the next revision.
I think ths book would help you to read/understand your children. Read their problems and pressures, their emotions and their fears. Stop acting like "they're too young." You don't get to decide that any more. You gave up that right when you expected them to act like adults at 14. If you want to take any semblance of that back, then you need to learn to communicate with them and talk openly about the things you DON'T like to think are happening. And to do that, you need to actually know the truth. Not just what you want to hear.
I hate to think that this is the way the next generation is going to be growing up, but we have to face the reality of things.I feel mostly for the young girls who grow up with a lowered sense of self-esteem and tarnished reputations (let alone a high probability STD's, pregnancies and abortions), but we can't forget the young boys who will shortly be grown into young men and the regard that I have for women and relationships.
I highly recommend this book, and for every parent to make it time to sit down and go over it with their preteens and teenage children. I know that most young people feel that they have all the answers, but this is where we as adults can really step up and help them along the way.
I think this book has some very sound advice about pulling back from the hookup culture -- but the author completely blows it in the last chapter. The advice she gives at the end is ridiculous. Bake cookies to make men fall in old-fashioned love with us? That didn't work back in my day either. I wish someone modern, without as much of a political ax to grind, would write a book on how to pull back from the hookup culture and do it in a modern way. The author is right on how hookup culture hurts people (in my opinion.) Her advice on how far to pull back takes us not back to the 50's but to the 1910's. I doubt baking cookies made men fall in love with women in 1910 either. I can't remember everything else in that last chapter full of advice how to change our behavior but it deserved every bit of ridicule it got from the feminist blogs. The last chapter almost negated the rest of the book because it was so retro.
This book was extremely eye opening, I had some ideas/theories of the sexual cultures of teens/college students. But this book had me riveted and thinking about it for days. I've recommended it to all my friends.
The audio book is also narrated really well. I really really recommend this book!!!
Love scary stories and thrillers.
Having two daughters myself, I found this book very informative. I was definitely worth it!
This is an interesting essay, and describe a social problem intelligently and analytically. However, the subject sampled and case studies seems like the sophisticated version of OC, not everyone were born with a silverspoon, nor does everybody goes to Duke Uni or GWU, and I am sure those rich, smart and ambitious girls do not make more than 30% (if lucky) what about the rest of us? Do we even count?
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