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Dr. Helen

I have been thinking about this lately after a reader of my book pointed out to me that he felt prostitution should be made legal in order to give men more freedom from marriage and being tied down to a relationship in the hopes of getting sex. If prostitution were legal, men could get sex more readily and not be so dependent on getting involved with women. Given how dangerous it can be these days for men, between being called a rapist, a sexual harasser or a pervert, it makes sense that legal prostitution might be a good solution for some men that want to avoid the risks inherent in taking on a wife or long term (or short term) relationship with a woman. I looked at a couple of articles about why prostitution was illegal and found this article at Slate:

In 1999, Sweden made it legal to sell sex but illegal to buy it—only the johns and the traffickers can be prosecuted. This is the only approach to prostitution that’s based on “sex equality,” argues University of Michigan law professor Catherine MacKinnon.

It treats prostitution as a social evil but views the women who do it as the victims of sexual exploitation who “should not be victimized again by the state by being made into criminals,” as MacKinnon put it to me in an e-mail. It’s the men who use the women, she continued, who are “sexual predators” and should be punished as such.

….Sweden’s way of doing things is a big success. “In the capital city of Stockholm the number of women in street prostitution has been reduced by two thirds, and the number of johns has been reduced by 80%.” Trafficking is reportedly down to 200 to 400 girls and women a year, compared with 15,000 to 17,000 in nearby Finland. Max Waltman, a doctoral candidate in Stockholm who is studying the country’s prostitution laws, says that those stats hold up. He also said the police are actually going after the johns as ordered: In 2006, more than 150 were convicted and fined. (That might not sound like many, but then Sweden has a population of only 9 million.)

For feminists like MacKinnon (with whom Waltman works), this sure looks like the solution: Go after the men! Take down Eliot Spitzer and leave the call girls alone! On the other hand, the group SANS, for Sex Workers and Allies Network in Sweden, doesn’t like the 1999 law.

My question after reading this mind-numbing drivel? How can it be legal to sell sex but illegal to buy it? Who are you selling sex to if no men are allowed to buy it? Of course, any time one sees a feminist of the Catherine MacKinnon ilk, all logic goes out the window as long as men are rounded up and put in jail. This is sick, twisted logic and has no place in a free society. It was a group of women who apparently banned prostitution in the US according to this Wikipedia entry:

Originally, prostitution was widely legal in the United States. Prostitution was made illegal in almost all states between 1910 and 1915 largely due to the influence of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.

Perhaps women don’t want the competition from prostitutes for resources from men? Or they just feel disgusted that a man might be able to get sex so easily? I do wonder if men were able to go freely to prostitutes without fear of jail time if it would free them sexually from female and (and state) control? Or do you think there would be more problems caused by it?

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Social psychologist Milt Rosenberg of Ricochet.com and his own Website interviews me about Men on Strike:

Law firm’s edgy ads make the point that men often get the shaft in family court:

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A Virginia Beach attorney is using an over-the-top advertising campaign to highlight a serious problem – the bias some men experience in family court.
The Firm for Men’s new commercial shows a man cheering about his divorce and his new “hot girlfriend.” It’s one of many new advertisements the law firm just began using to get men’s attention. They also plan to post a billboard that reads: “Just because she gave birth doesn’t make her the better parent.”

“We feel it shows men in a positive light, and it shows that life isn’t over because of divorce,” said attorney Jason Swango. “The ads say ‘we’re here for you, but you can also have a good ending.’”

The Firm for Men only represents men in divorce, custody cases, or family court battles — battles Swango says men historically don’t win.

“Men absolutely have the deck set against them, absolutely,” Swango said. “That’s why we are trying to bring awareness.”

Swango believes women fare better in court, especially in cases involving children.

“To be honest, why should the woman get everything?” said Swango. “She shouldn’t. It wasn’t built that way when she got married. Why should it be built that way when they divorced?”

I was watching the Suze Orman show the other day and it seemed like every other call was a woman trying to get her husband’s pension, bank account or other cash with willing partner Suze trying to tell her how. This ad is not “over the top, ” it sounds pretty accurate to me.

I Loved the Ending of How I Met Your Mother

April 2nd, 2014 - 12:21 pm

I watched the season finale to How I Met Your Mother Monday night and I thought they did a superb job with the ending. Apparently, many people were disappointed with the ending and let their feelings be known. I was always just disappointed that Robin and Ted were no longer together in the later shows and that they ended up together was a great way to wrap things up. It took the show full circle and gave it a twist at the end. It was already suspected that the mom was dead at the end of the show but that Ted hooked back up with Robin was a surprise and I thought the writers handled it beautifully. I know that some of you have no interest in such silly sitcoms but for those who watched the show, what was your opinion of the ending?

Confessions of a Failed Slut

March 31st, 2014 - 6:17 am

Kathy Shaidle emails to let me know she has a new book out called Confessions of A Failed Slut. Sounds fascinating.

I thought about this as my husband tried to explain to me that tectonic plates in the earth cause earthquakes and that a mild quake did not mean that California would plunge into the ocean. I was in Santa Monica the week before last when the first earthquake woke me up around 6:30 a.m. and I felt like the earth would give way. It might have been that I have bad motion sickness but I felt woozy for hours afterwards. Today, I heard about the earthquake in Oklahoma and Kansas and again my husband explained the physics of the earth tremors and why my fear that the earth would “explode” was unwarranted.

I remember the smelling salts my high school physics teacher, Mr. Kroll, used to put under my nose to wake me up while I slept through his class in the late afternoon. Looking back, I am infuriated by my utter lack of interest in the knowledge he was trying to impart to the class and the importance of it. There are so many aspects of the physical world that I do not understand because I did not pay attention in high school physics. We need to know these things, even those of us that aren’t in the hard sciences; at least we should know the basics. Now, as an adult, I will have to try to understand the basics without Dr. Kroll to help me. I should have listened in physics class many years ago.

Any suggestions for a basic physics book? I found some that looked good but if you know of better ones, drop the title in the comments. Thanks!

Update: Thanks so much for all the suggestions and lessons so far, they are extremely helpful to me.

More: 

Confessions of a Failed Slut

In the Daily Mail, there is a story about an experiment where two little girls say they are lost and more than 600 people at a shopping mall walk by them:

Hidden cameras recorded Uma, seven, and Maya, five, who took it in turns to look lost.

Astonishingly, over the whole hour only one person, a grandmother, took a moment to find out if there was a problem. All of the 616 other passers-by completely ignored the girls.

Heartbreakingly for the mother of the sisters – who was watching from a hiding place nearby – passing couples even split apart to walk around either side of the ‘lost’ girls and people wheeling suitcases took evasive action to avoid Maya and Uma, not thinking to check if they needed help.

Who can blame them? The authorities have spent years making it clear that adults, in particular male adults, are suspect –and now they want those same adults to stand up and help kids with no regard for their own welfare:

Experts said the reluctance of the passers-by was partly explained by people being busy, and partly a fear – especially among men – of any help they offer a child being misinterpreted.

But the NSPCC said a child’s welfare was more important than worrying about being labelled a ‘stranger danger’.

A spokesman said: ‘We have got to get a message out to adults that they have a responsibility to protect children and that must supersede any concern you have for other people’s perception of why you are reaching out to help that child.’

Bullshit — responsibility is a two-way street. It’s not just a “perception by people” that men and even women are a danger to kids, it is a reality that men (and some women, but mostly men) are charged with abuse and face real jail time, job loss and separation from their families for sex abuse charges so readily that they have become immune to the cries of kids. Who can blame them? I can’t. Can you?

More from Dr. Helen: 

Men on Strike in L.A.?

Can You Teach Charisma?

March 24th, 2014 - 11:59 am

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A new book entitled The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism says “yes”:

The charisma myth is the idea that charisma is a fundamental, inborn quality—you either have it (Bill Clinton, Steve Jobs, Oprah) or you don’t. But that’s simply not true, as Olivia Fox Cabane reveals. Charismatic behaviors can be learned and perfected by anyone.

Drawing on techniques she originally developed for Harvard and MIT, Cabane breaks charisma down into its components. Becoming more charismatic doesn’t mean transforming your fundamental personality. It’s about adopting a series of specific practices that fit in with the personality you already have.

The author believes there is no magic to charisma, but rather it is a set of learned behaviors. She gives lists of pointers to achieve a charismatic personality — for example, in the beginning of the book, she simply gives three quick tips to achieving charisma in a conversation: lower the intonation of your voice at the end of your sentences, reduce how quickly and often you nod, and pause for two full seconds before you speak. The book seems like a worthwhile read if you desire more charisma in your life.

What do you think, can charisma be learned?

Men on Strike in L.A.?

March 20th, 2014 - 7:48 pm

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I was at an L.A. cafe rooftop deck where a couple of guys were sitting with two pretty twenty-something women. The men got up after chugging a few beers and laughing with the women. They left and the girls stayed drinking and smoking (!) for a bit. Finally, the waiter came over to one of the girls to bring the check. The pretty brunette in a knit hat looked up and asked, “Did the guys pay for their beers?” “Yes”, the waiter said. “But only their own beers?” asked the girls. “Yes, only for their own beers,” the waiter said.

The girls looked annoyed and reluctantly pulled out their wallets, realizing that the two guys they had been laughing with over drinks had paid for themselves and split. I watched the girls, amused at the idea that they figured two cute girls were entitled to free drinks wherever they went. Apparently, many twenty-something girls think that it’s up to the guy to pay for their drinks. But perhaps it never entered these L.A. guys’ minds to do that. It was refreshing. I sat back and ate my salad, thinking that in some way these guys were either onto the game or just on strike.

Also read: 

How Would the Male Pill Change Things?

How Would the Male Pill Change Things?

March 18th, 2014 - 8:58 am

Hans Solo over at JustFourGuys blog explores how the male pill will change the reproductive rights of men:

Let’s imagine what life would be like with a male “pill”:
Men will only become fathers if they choose to.
Gold digging whores will lapse into depression as they fuck rich men over and over to no avail–the child-support lottery will be closed.
Men will laugh in the face of women when they’re caught red-handed poking holes in the condom. Agree and amplify: ”Here, use these” as you hand her a pair of scissors.
Putting all young males on this would do away with most unwanted teen pregnancies.
Fewer unintended pregnancies…and fewer intended abortions.
Statutory female rapists would no longer get child support from their younger male victims because they wouldn’t have gotten pregnant in the first place.