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February 19, 2014

"The Economics of Sex"

One of those neat "whiteboard" exhibits where they draw pictures and charts while delivering their verbal argument. The video argues that sex, like anything else, can be analyzed as an economic exchange, an exchange of one good for another. And that the "price" women "charge" for sex has dropped precipitously, resulting in men who in turn understand that the market is signaling the price for sex should not be high, and are therefore unwilling to "pay" much for it.

Via Instapundit, who links this New York Post article about the video, if you just want to read the quotes and basic thrust of the argument.

Key insight: "Men tend to behave as well, or as poorly, as the women in their lives permit."

There's a documentary called Sexy Baby, directed by a couple of women interested in exploring current sexual mores. (Trailer here: Content Warning.)

There are several storylines, two of which are particularly interesting. The one that's relevant here is 12-year-old Winnifred's story. She's very precocious, and "gets it" on an adult level. She notes, for example, that FaceBook and other social media pictures of girls must always at least include the suggestion of being open for sex -- of being "DTF," as she says. (Down to F***.)

She says (or implies) that she's rather trapped by the current market forces, in which boys just won't take an interest in girls who don't broadcast that sexual availability.

Remember, she's 12.

The pictures she posts online are not graphic or overtly sexual. They do, however, subtly signal that she might be DTF, which is actually her intent. I mean, it's her intent to signal that, in order to attract boys; based on her interviews, I don't think she actually is ready for a sexual relationship. (But then, her dad knows she's giving these interviews, so who knows what the truth is.)

Remember, again: She's 12.

Her dad argues with her about this, and tells her the sort of things dads tell their daughters, about respect and so forth. But she tells her interviewers, basically: This is the marketplace. If I want to have any boys show any interest me at all, I have to conform to what's being bought in the marketplace. This is just the way it is.

A lot of feminists criticize this sort of argument, claiming it's "slut shaming" girls. I don't buy that at all. I certainly don't buy that two women filmmakers, who seem to me to be feminists themselves, are "slut shaming" girls, and I don't think Winnifred is slut shaming herself or the other girls she's competing with.

And remember: She's 12.

Feminists take this argument to be only about girls' behavior, and seem to believe -- or at least claim -- that anyone who discusses these things "hates" girls or only wishes to "slut shame" them.

Untrue. You can't watch Sexy Baby and not feel sympathy for Winnifred. She is a 12 year old girl, stuck in an ADULT CONTENT WARNING world. Nor can you not feel, by extension, sympathy for the millions of other Winnifreds suffering under the current sexual regime.

You don't have to claim "This is all girls' fault" to recognize that there is a social problem here which is forcing (or, at least, urging) girls into sexual activity at increasingly young ages.

It doesn't matter whose "fault" it is -- huge segments of society are implicated; the "fault" is diffuse.

The important issue is that the issue exists, undeniably. And how can you change that -- how can you try to make things easier for Winnifred -- without discussing the problem at all?

I have a problem with feminists on this point. They are so eager to attack me, a convenient member of the hated "Patriarchy," that they're unwilling to listen at all to Winnifred, or lift a finger to help her.

Helping Winnifred would involve some positive social messaging from role models saying, "Hey, don't listen to boys about sex. Boys are programmed to lie, cheat, and steal (or worse) their way into sex." Hearing a hip-sounding role-model young feminist say that would probably count for more in Winnifred's mind than hearing her fuddy-duddy worryword daddy say it.

But instead of helpful messaging like that -- messaging that might help Winnifred set the "price of sex" in the marketplace a little higher (a higher price from which she gains) -- feminists are just determined to stay in their favorite, easy wheelhouse, their eternal wooby, attacking politically convenient targets, calling everyone who worries about Winnifred a member of the retrograde, evil Patriarchy, and so on.

It is politically easy to attack "The Patriarchy." It is a more difficult conversation to honestly discuss if our current sexual marketplace is behaving correctly, and if our current sexual marketplace is serving Winnifred -- or harming her.

And people love taking the easy way out. And they especially love taking the easy way out when they can then clap themselves on the back and call their cowardice "bravery."

Remember: Winnifred is 12.

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posted by Ace at 12:18 PM

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