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be discouraged? party? or just study?

Posted on Thursday, May 30, 2013 in Gender Blogs

A female college student is sitting on her bed studying for a big test she has the next day. She has been struggling in this class due to her professor’s lack of help in the course. She needs to make a good grade on this test to help keep her grade in the class. However,  in her suitemate’s room she can hear her friends laughing and waiting for the guys to come over to go out. Her roommate comes over to get her wallet and tells her that she should come out with them; that she can study when she gets back later that night. So she gives in, gets

the feeling of not passing a test

dressed, and heads out to the bar with her friends. At the bar, her friends push her to relax, have a few drinks, and go hang out with the guy that has been flirting with her all night. Next thing she knows her alarm is going off. She jumps out of bed, hurries to get ready and heads out to take the big test that she didn’t get a chance to study for.

Why does this happen?

According to Julia T. Wood, author of Gendered Lives, this is called Culture of Romance. Many women go to college with the expectation of making good grades and getting prepared for the job they have dreamed of for years. However, one factor that can push women into a culture of romance is the lack of interest at some colleges and universities in women’s study and progress can cause women to become discouraged. A study I read on the PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) websitesaid that because “faculty exhibit a bias against female students that could contribute to the gender disparity in academic” majors could also be connected to the smaller amount of support that women received.

Another factor of the culture of romance is the pressure to fit in and have friends can cause many to get swept up into the party scene by friends and peers. The pressure from friends make women feel that it’s more important to attract guys and “hook up” with them then to focus on studying and grades. An article from U.S.News talks about how “alcohol/energy drink mixes may play a role in the “hook-up culture” that exists on many college campuses”.  The push from friends to drink while studying at college may be one of the main causes in the importance in attracting males and casually hooking up with them.

In the example above, the female college student  is feeling discouraged because she is having a hard time in her class due to the professor’s lack of interest. It doesn’t help that her friends are pushing for her to go out with them and drink and meet guys. She is being tugged from both sides, the lack of interest from her teacher and the pressure from her friends to go out and drink, that she is becoming more disheartened with the idea of spending her time studying and focusing on making good grades.

Should we care?

friends that let you be yourself

I absolutely think we should care about this. As a female, I cannot imagine how hard it must be to go through that intense pressure. I am lucky that I have professors that care about my wellbeing in class and are willing to help me through any problems I may have. I also have a good group of friends that understand that studying and grades are important to me. Not all women have these positive reinforcements in their lives and I think we should care and want to change this because according to an article in the New York Times, having good friendships “has a bigger impact on our psychological well-being than family relationships”. So having friends is important but it’s the inability some have in choosing good friends that can be their downfall.

I hope that after this blog if you’re ever in this situation from one side or the other. That you either put yourself first and say no to going out to stay in and study for that big test or don’t pressure one of your friends to go out if you know they have something to prepare for the next day. I believe that if we were to become more aware of the factors of the culture of romance that we could help to counteract them. I know that I will focus more on how I influence my friends and try not to push them to hang out if they have to study or prepare for a class

Bring on the comments

  1. Victoria Greene says:

    This blog speaks to a lot of college students, not just females. There are also men out there that are pressuring their friends to stop studying and go out and party instead. As young adults, we try to find a balance between work and play but usually, the scale leans more toward play. Dr. Julia T. Wood (http://www. explains in our textbook Gendered Lives ( that men and women are pressured into gender socializations of peer culture. Men are encouraged to conform to social views of masculinity by their peers and females are pressured to conform to socialized views of femininity. Men are often pressured into drinking and sexual activity to show their masculinity while females are pressured to fit the image of effortless perfection: beautiful, popular, fun and smart. Females are expected to not only go out and have fun but to also make time to study without ever breaking a sweat. I have encountered this a great deal in my life and let me tell you it’s no walk in the park. I believe that everyone should be able to make their own decisions, whether to go out or to stay in and study, without peer pressure telling them to go one way or the other.

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