Kate Taylor’s New York Times article, “Sex On Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too” has been on my mind. I do not like the article. I have talked with many different women who also found the piece flawed and annoying. It has taken me about three weeks to gather my thoughts because initially I did not know how to articulate what I disliked.
Taylor briefly describes six different commentaries of sex on campus, an economic approach, a get married or die trying approach, a depressed single lady approach, a celibate approach, a romantic approach, and a small segment about consent on campus (about which there is too much to say). Despite the array of experiences, Taylor’s article is reductive.
At first I thought my problem was the opening anecdote about “A,” some Wharton-going, high-achieving, Wall Street exec-to-be, who used financial terms to explain her romantic life or lack thereof. I study English, not Econ, I thought, maybe I just don’t get it. Then I remembered my love for Jane Austen’s commentary on the economics of love in Pride and Prejudice. So the fiscal slant was not my main problem.
Then I realized that my distaste came from the fact that there are a handful of disparate narratives in the article and yet A’s story still dictates the overall tone of the piece. Taylor’s introduction implies that women only want casual hookups and high GPAs, even though her examples show that some women want different things. And even though there were different voices, I did not identify with any of them. I felt excluded from whatever sexual zeitgeist Taylor attempted to explain. I could not see myself—a cisgendered woman whose generation Taylor purported to describe—in any of these stories.