How the TCU gender ratio affects campus hookup culture

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An imbalance in the gender ratio of higher rates of female students than male students at TCU has shaped some female students’ attitudes and behaviors towards hookups and relationships.

The TCU population consists of 4,324 males and 6,165 females according to the 2017 TCU Fact Book.

“There is a saying that as a girl on TCU’s campus, your 1 to 10 ranking on the hotness scale goes down 2 to 3 points, but as a guy, it goes up 2 to 3 points,” Alyssa Sweeney, a senior communication studies major said. “The ratio causes this huge imbalance where guys who are considered a 3 are dating girls who are 10’s.”

A study conducted by Jeremy E. Uecker and Mark D. Regnerus called, Bare Market: Campus Sex Ratios, Romantic Relationships, and Sexual Behavior, said, “women on campuses where they comprise a higher proportion of the student body give more negative appraisals of campus men and relationships, go on fewer dates, are less likely to have had a college boyfriend, and are more likely to be sexually active.”

Based on their research, unequal gender ratios affect relationships in two main ways: dyadic power and demographic opportunity.

The dyadic power idea occurs when there is a surplus of women and men are scarce, causing a decrease of commitment to relationships and a more sexual climate.

The demographic opportunity idea happens when a lower ratio of men causes women a lack of successfulness in finding potential partners, which limits them to establishing relationships.

“I have casually seen people, but I have not been in a boyfriend/girlfriend type relationship,” Sweeney said. “I also do not date a lot of people who go to TCU. I like to date outside of the bubble personally because a lot of guys are in their own world and not mature.”

Dr. Jeannine Gailey, an associate professor part of the sociology and anthropology department, said the disparity in gender ratios and its influence on hookup culture has created a more competitive culture among female students.

“If a girl doesn’t live up to [a male student’s] expectations, there are several other girls all competing for him,” senior Hayley Zablotsky said.

Zablotsky also said the competitiveness may cause harmful effects on female relationships – something Gailey is working to prevent.

“I’m always trying to say to students is women need to support each other and try to empower each other because we’re never going to get equal footing if we’re dividing ourselves and keeping each other down,” Gailey said.

Both female students stressed how the TCU hookup culture affects the self-esteem and confidence of females, in which they may feel the need to change their standards and appearances.

“This affects how women see themselves,” Sweeney said. “It also hurts as a woman when they are not able to find someone. They think they are less beautiful.”

Sweeney and Zablotsky also said a sexually permissive culture subject female students to slut-shaming based on double standards between males and females.

“No matter what a woman does, she can’t win,” Zablotsky said. “Have sex? Slut. Don’t have sex? Prude. It’s a no win system for women, so I think women should just do whatever the hell they want.”

Gailey said TCU as an institution and a culture needs to be more open to talking about sex.

“Communication is so fundamentally important with any relationship- especially with a relationship where sex is involved,” Gailey said. “There’s so many things that are often not discussed. What are you OK with? Have you been tested? What are we doing for contraception?”

In order to shape the culture, Dr. Gailey recommended implementing a program to educate students on healthy sexual relationships, and more recruitment of male students. Zablotsky suggested adding a gender studies course as part of the TCU core curriculum requirements to address topics related to sex.

Both students said if they gave advice to the TCU female population about engaging in the hookup culture, they would emphasize the importance of choice by deciding what they may or may not be comfortable participating in.

“Sex is too personal and too important,” Zablotsky said. “Don’t let anyone tell you that they know the right answers for your sexual decisions. You are the only one who knows the right answer for you.”

Where would you say most hookups occur?

Fraternity parties
Residence Halls
Off-campus housing

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