Hooking up: Professor Susan Stiritz sheds light on today’s sexual culture
Within the past week, chances are that you’ve heard someone say those three elusive words (no, not the ones you’re thinking), those three words that have come to mean virtually nothing to today’s 20-somethings: “We hooked up.”
We all wish that there were a universal understanding of what a “hookup” actually means, rather than perpetual mystery surrounding the subject.
For students in the class “Hooking Up: Healthy Exploration or Harmful Exploitation?” the term “hookup” is given a more tangible meaning. Taught by Professor Susan Stiritz, the course examines the contemporary cultural phenomenon of hooking up by looking at the historical and political implications of hooking up as well as personal consequences.
As students, we always hope that the material we are learning in the classroom can be applied to real-life settings and has significance beyond our transcripts.
“I believe that courses like [Stiritz’s] offered in the Sexuality Studies Department are essential since they afford individuals the experience of exploring their own sexuality and help them to become more comfortable with themselves,” junior Daryl Steiger, a student in Stiritz’s class, said.
The focus of the course is each student’s own experiences and how each can better understand his or her own values about hooking up. At its foundation, the class is structured around pre-determined readings; however, the students’ ideas and experiences are the greatest authority in the class. This is what has made their participation in the class so unique and meaningful.
Stiritz inspires her students to interact and engage with the material on a distinctively personal level, thus providing a more in-depth learning experience. She encourages this discussion by promoting collaboration among students and fostering a trusting environment. The unique bond that the students of the class have formed with one another, and with Stiritz, is palpable.
Students expressed genuine appreciation for the course and, most importantly, respect for one another.
“We get together to discuss personal experiences in a trusting environment, learn from one another and apply what we have learned to our day-to-day encounters,” senior Sheyna Ezrapour said.
It is evident that Stiritz has not only created a bond among her students, but also has empowered each individual voice to direct the class discussion. The openness of the class allows for in-depth discussion and real-life application of the material.
Each of us has our own rules and thoughts about what constitutes a hook up. Ranging from kissing to sex, a hookup is a vague description of what actually takes place and doesn’t account for any emotional responses to what can physically transpire between two people.
We have all partaken in that frequent conversation with friends, trying to make sense of recent hook ups and decipher what the other person feels—or if feelings are even involved. All too often, we wish for a universal glossary to make sense of it all.
Stiritz’s course breaks down this confusion and helps students define their romantic and sexual experiences in a way that is meaningful and logical to them. The course turns this frequent conversation with friends into a subject worthy of stimulating academic debate.
“We hooked up.” Yes, it’s ambiguous, but those three small words do cover some common ground—they have become a trademark phrase of college culture and of daily life. The students in Stiritz’s class are happy to finally open up this conversation because, let’s face it, we’re all having it.