Let's Talk About Sex Talk: How Gossip Helps Women Navigate the Risks of Hookup Culture




Hung, Felicity

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“Let’s Talk About Sex Talk” explores the role of gossip in helping women navigate hookup culture. Hookup culture, characterized by casual sexual encounters with low commitment, comes with physical and emotional risks for women such as gender-based violence and emotional damage. Gossip between women can provide them with valuable information about potential partners, as well as learn about social norms and expectations within hookup culture. Using literature review, interviews, and participant observation, this study examines the ways in which gossip, through both online and offline formats, is used by women to bond, establish protective social networks, and evaluate sexual partners. The findings suggest that gossip can be a valuable tool for women to understand and combat the complex and often negative aspects of hookup culture, and that the content and context of gossip can reveal important insights into the disciplines of gender, sexuality, and social hierarchies. This thesis contributes to our understanding of how the interpersonal behavior and discourse of women allow them to protect themselves and others from systematic societal dangers in the context of sexual expression.


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