You may have seen The Austin Institute For The Study Of Family And Culture’s recent video ‘The Economics Of Sex‘ as it’s been circulating the web and has caused quite a bit of controversy. I tried really, really hard to find even a vaguely positive and inspiring message within this video to share with you guys, however it’s extremely difficult.
The project revolves around placing the complexities of sexual interactions within an economic framework, which would have been an interesting and informative endeavour if they hadn’t been relying heavily on out-of-date stereotypes, data manipulation and the complete denial of anything other than heterosexual relationships to achieve it. Perhaps AI did not aim to create a piece that is at best inaccurate and at worst incredibly offensive, and I am not one for exploding everything that mentions gender roles into a giant debate about sexism, but it’s pretty clear they have an agenda right from the beginning: to raise awareness of falling marriage rates. So the video was always going to be based on biased opinion rather than balanced facts and human experience, although admittedly I didn’t expect a comparison between pesticides and the pill.
According to AI’s research – which I assume they gathered from watching rom-coms – men are motivated solely by sex because they are all one-dimensional Neanderthals. This apparently means that women – who are always more interested in commitment than in sex because we are delicate, insecure, emotional snowflakes – can use their vaginas to get stuff.
Sex is her resource. Sex in consensual relationships will happen when women want it to. So how do women decide to begin a sexual relationship? Pricing. Women have something of value that men want…badly, something men are actually willing to sacrifice for. So how much does sex cost for men? It might cost him nothing but a few drinks and compliments, or a month of dates and respectful attention, or all the way up to a lifetime promise to share all of his affections, wealth, and earnings with her exclusively.
However, as sex became easier to acquire from women because of that tricky little pill that allows women to have slight control over their reproductive system – and not because women are breaking away from oppressive social constructs – supply exceeded demand and so men no longer have to pay such a high price to get their pieces of lady meat. Consequently, men can now apparently get sex on tap and “only behave as well or as poorly as the women in their lives allow.” Having never experienced life as a man, I was unaware that you all only put as much effort in as is acceptable and do not see the need to go beyond those limits.
AI suggests that all of this is the reason marriage rates are dropping, which is the worst news I’ve ever heard in my life. We’re not being pressured by society into getting married to the first person who see’s beneath our waist coats or bonnets? The end is upon us! The remedy to this is encouraging women to police each other’s sexual relationships (read: slut-shame) so the supply decreases and men have to “pay” more to receive sex. Which is beneficial to absolutely nobody except those who still think marriage is the ultimate goal for all human beings.
Here’s the thing: In the past, it really wasn’t the patriarchy that policed women’s relational interests. It was women.
So, what message can we take from this video? Well, if you take the time to read through the comments you will see a rather large audience of individuals who believe that either: 1. Feminism is a harmful hive-mind of misandrists who will eventually destroy the world, or 2. All women are manipulative, greedy whores who use sex as a weapon to receive things from men. And for once in their lives the latter bunch of misogynists are actually being validated by someone other than their dads or “nice guy” friends because that is pretty much what the video is telling us. These awful opinions were a more significant message to me than the actual video was and this is certainly not the first time I’ve read comments such as these. So just please, don’t be those kinds of people.
Regarding the video, sex should simply not be viewed as a commodity. Sex, love and commitment are not finite and should not be used or viewed as ways to gain power, possessions or as a competition. This is an unhealthy, damaging and offensive perspective to have on something that is one of the best aspects of life. Engage in safe, consensual sex and be kind and respectful to your partners as yes, they may have different motivators to you. Lastly, do not believe that your worth is based upon how many sexual partners or experiences you have, or that you must conform to or have aspects of your personality formed by old-fashioned, generalised gender roles.
Featured photo credit: The Economics of Sex | The Austin Institute via youtube.com
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