In the post below, one of the links embedded with in the text takes you to a piece by Leah Libresco, wherein she lets loose a bluebird’s yawp about Hanna Rosin’s celebration of the hook-up culture as “an engine of female progress”.
[writes Rosin:] Single young women in their sexual prime—that is, their 20s and early 30s, the same age as the women at the business-school party—are for the first time in history more successful, on average, than the single young men around them. They are more likely to have a college degree and, in aggregate, they make more money. What makes this remarkable development possible is not just the pill or legal abortion but the whole new landscape of sexual freedom—the ability to delay marriage and have temporary relationships that don’t derail education or career. To put it crudely, feminist progress right now largely depends on the existence of the hookup culture. And to a surprising degree, it is women—not men—who are perpetuating the culture, especially in school, cannily manipulating it to make space for their success, always keeping their own ends in mind.
Plenty of room in the comment thread to talk about sex more specifically, but the thing that’s really creeping me out about this piece is that it’s essentially an attack on intimacy. An “overly serious suitor” may indeed interfere with your career, but I’ll bet a too-close friendship will, too. (Though that’s not mentioned, because we don’t take friendship seriously enough already.) After all, whether or not your relationship in sexual, commitment and mutual dependence will constrain and limit your freedom from.
The trouble is, if that’s what you’re paring off, the freedom to that you’re preserving is pretty much just your freedom to work and advance. Letting your job be your life makes more sense if your career is also your vocation, if it’s making it easier for you to be the person you ought to be and grow in goodness. That’s not generally how I hear people describe the kind of high powered finance or legal jobs that Rosin’s profiles seem to hold. And even if you’ve got a stressful job that does good (let’s say you work in the public defender’s office), the results of your work may be service, but the way you work may not be good for you.