Friday, December 11, 2015

URSP Student Maria Del Carmen Elias Researches Hooking Up and Gender Equality

The rules of dating have changed in the world we live today. The hook up culture and casual sex are everyday occurrences in a college student’s life, and its progressively becoming more intertwined with our dating habits. Knowing what is best for one’s own development when engaging in these actions and keeping the consequences in mind are extremely important. It is crucial for students and scholars to know either the negative consequences or benefits the hook up culture can yield to young women. It is also imperative for women to know what this means in terms of future relationships and how their own past experiences can shape their current relationship’s success.

I initially became interested in this topic when I realized that my own personal experience in regards to dating was extremely different from that of my friends. I knew that even though this was somewhat of a new phenomena there was a lot of interest on the topic from scholars. It is somewhat of a controversial topic to research because it does not align with traditional dating ideas. Casual sexual activity has a lot of negative stigma associated with it. In the media women are sexualized but then chastised if they behave sexually, on campuses women are called sluts if they have intercourse outside of a relationship but yet single men are always looking to “get it in” and praised when they do. I wondered what the real consequences of the hook up culture were and set out to find out.

Much of the recent scholarship has focused on undergraduate student’s experiences, however my research expands on this by focusing on graduate students past and present history. I am currently conducting interviews with graduate women and coding a survey that was sent out to different universities.This process has taken hours and hours of work, but it has already yielded some very promising results. After my last week of interviews I will be transcribing them and starting analyzing the qualitative data. A normal week up to this point has involved a lot of reading (past research on the topic), conducting interviews, and emailing my survey out.

I plan on presenting my research at NCUR and the Southern Sociological Society. My long-term goal with this research is to write some articles and get them published in sociological journals so that as many people as possible can have access to my results.