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These women said they saw building their résumés, not finding boyfriends (never mind husbands), as their main job at Penn.
They envisioned their 20s as a period of unencumbered striving, when they might work at a bank in Hong Kong one year, then go to business school, then move to a corporate job in New York.
Some women described a dangerous edge to the hookup culture, of sexual assaults and degrading encounters enabled by drinking and distinguished by a lack of emotional connection.
Because they believed that talking publicly about sex could come back to haunt them — by damaging their reputations at Penn, their families’ opinions of them or their professional future — the women spoke on the condition that their full names would not be revealed.
But others, like Susan Patton, the Princeton alumna and mother who in March wrote a letter to The Daily Princetonian urging female undergraduates not to squander the chance to hunt for a husband on campus, say that de-emphasizing relationships in college works against women.
“For most of you, the cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry, and you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you,” advised Ms.
But there is an increasing realization that young women are propelling it, too.
Hanna Rosin, in her recent book, “The End of Men,” argues that hooking up is a functional strategy for today’s hard-charging and ambitious young women, allowing them to have enjoyable sex lives while focusing most of their energy on academic and professional goals.
Others preferred holing up in the library or hanging out with the theater crowd.