“Diana, Bianca, Christine …” Hearing my professors complete roll call makes me feel like I’m back in my all-girls high school. Minus the nuns. I study in the School of Communication, where there are more girls than in, say, the College of Engineering. But the female-majority trend has spread across American college campuses.
Since 2000, women have represented almost 57 percent of enrollment in the nation’s universities, and they earn 60 percent of bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The University of Miami’s ratio is pretty even at 51/49, but schools like American University are tipping at 60/40.
Theories for the estrogen takeover include different brain chemistry, curriculums that don’t cater to boys’ interests, and the tendency of girls to have higher grades and lower drop-out rates.
Statistics like these make me want to rip off my bra and yell “Girl Power,” but the gender imbalance has social consequences. Sociologist Kathleen Bogle told The New York Times that, “On college campuses where there are far more women than men, men have all the power to control the intensity of sexual and romantic relationships.”
Feeling entitled, men set a standard for dating that some girls have no choice but to follow. If it were the other way around, girls’ rules would include mandatory viewings of “The Notebook” and less fantasy football.
But there’s another view: Hookup culture has furthered feminine progress. Temporary relationships or delayed marriages don’t distract from school and jobs. Women are purposely participating in casual affairs, which keeps them focused on grades and priorities. A serious relationship is seen by many as something to avoid because it can distract and derail goals. But not all girls are career-minded; some attend college in hopes of finding a future husband.
The choice is solely yours. We shouldn’t feel pressured by guys to “put out” because we think they’ll move onto the next girl. Nor should we be pressured by our fellow females to hookup casually, or by marriage-minded girls to settle down early. What matters is to be aware and in control of your love life, your sex life and your future.
Melanie Martinez is a sophomore majoring in journalism.