THE BOOK REPORT: Unhooked
Taking as her focus group young women between the ages of 14 and 22, Laura Sessions Stepp explores the relatively recent culture of “hooking up” in Unhooked. Using a case study model, augmented by her own theories and those of “experts” and “Science,” Stepp retells the sexual experiences of several mostly white, upper middle-class women at Northeast schools and extrapolates a whole lot of assumptions about how all American women learn about and pursue their own sexual desires.
While the landscape of gender, sex, and power is rapidly changing for women growing up in a post-feminist 21st century and certainly deserves scholarly attention, Stepp’s analysis is never nuanced or encompassing enough to offer a compelling argument. Ultimately, she suggests a reversion to traditionally defined gender roles as the only thing capable of restoring the balance of power between the sexes. More worthwhile would have been suggestions for the possibility of what gender, and the role sex plays in that construction, can be.