Anecdotally, it is older women that have been the least sympathetic regarding the suffering of the sexual assault survivors that have been featured in the news. For example, asking “What were they doing in his hotel room?” or “Why did they go to a married man’s hotel room?” in response to a story about Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein, and “Why was she falling-down drunk at a fraternity party?” in response to a story about on-campus mishaps.
Of course, the younger women (and men) that are worthwhile targets for advertising think very differently about this, thus sustaining the media interest in these stories.
The book iGen sheds some light on this inter-generational disagreement:
There’s another reason iGen’ers are uncertain about relationships: you might get hurt, and you might find yourself dependent on someone else—reasons that intertwine with iGen’s individualism and focus on safety. “I think it’s good for people to be on their own for a while, too. People who are so heavily reliant on relationships for their whole source of emotional security don’t know how to cope when that’s taken away from them,” says Haley, 18, whom we met earlier. “A relationship is impermanent, everything in life is impermanent, so if that’s taken away and then you can’t find another girlfriend or another boyfriend, then what are you going to do? You haven’t learned the skills to cope on your own, be happy on your own, so what are you going to do, are you just going to suffer through it until you can find someone else who will take you?” Haley’s view is the famous couplet “Better to have loved and lost/Than never to have loved at all” turned on its head: to her, it’s better not to have loved, because what if you lose it?
This fear of intimacy, of really showing yourself, is one reason why hookups nearly always occur when both parties are drunk. Two recent books on college hookup culture both concluded that alcohol is considered nearly mandatory before having sex with someone for the first time. The college women Peggy Orenstein interviewed for Girls & Sex said that hooking up sober would be “awkward.” “Being sober makes it seem like you want to be in a relationship,” one college freshman told her. “It’s really uncomfortable.” One study found that the average college hookup involves the woman having had four drinks and the men six.
As Lisa Wade found when she interviewed iGen college students, “The worst thing you can get called on a college campus these days isn’t what it used to be, ‘slut,’ and it isn’t even the more hookup-culture-consistent ‘prude.’ It’s ‘desperate.’ Being clingy—acting as if you need someone—is considered pathetic.”
So it seems that the generations are talking past each other.
More: read iGen.