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Vernon-Jackson
Long Island City
USA

Mike makes stuff. Mostly involving words, notes, thoughts, and images. Also a podcast. Enjoy. 

Faceboxing

Sometimes I like to argue with people on facebook. And sometimes I like to share. 

Dating in the Digital age

Mike Blejer

There's a video that's currently going viral that makes a number of claims about the economics of men and women dating today. I assumed it was going to place the blame on  internet culture and sites like OKCupid, but it turned out to have a much bigger fish in it's sites: The Pill. Just wild. Anyway, here's the link and below is my assesment. I'd be very interested to know what you (particularly the ladies) think. 

http://policymic.com/articles/82899/this-animated-video-shows-the-wild-economics-of-sex

Compelling presentation, but several issues here. 

1) It presumes that women's desires regarding relationships as identified by the article are a good to work towards rather than the result of a historical chain of events. It says "blame it on testosterone" or whatever the cause, but I am very skeptical of arguments which assume that something is "natural" without considering historical factors, moreover regardless of whether it is natural or not that doesn't necessarily mean that it's good. Several studies show that women in marriages are less happy than women not in marriages whereas men in marriages tend to be happier. Much like women in orthodox religious cultures wearing burkas or wigs and not taking leadership roles in the community, it may be couched in the language of women's choice and nature, but it's naive to take that at face value. I've heard before that "Men fantasize about sex directly and intimacy indirectly. Women fantasize about intimacy directly and sex indirectly." That does ring true with me as far as generalizations go, but it doesn't obviously follow that one is better or more "right" than the other. 

2) The statement about women having biological clocks and men not is factually inaccurate. the children of older men have been shown to be more likely to have autism, aspegers and a whole slew of birth defects. 

3) In passing this waves away the idea that women's lives and value were largely determined and controled by men through most of history ("It wasn't the patriarchy, it was women" the video says). This is a fairly remarkable and revisionist claim about history and the piece offers no defense or evidence of it's claim, which I find to be suspicious. 

4) At the end the video talks about "Fewer premarital partners, shorter cohabitations, and more marriages," and again assumes that as a good. In many countries people cohabitate for years without ever getting married and their relationships aren't considered "less than." Why is fewer premarital partners better (assuming one is engaging in safe sex practices)? Would you say a student is better educated if they take classes from fewer teachers in fewer departments before choosing a major or career area to focus on?

5) The video seems to want to unionize women into one voting bloc as though all women have the same ultimate desires, to settle down and get married to a nice man. But that's just clearly not true. Women aren't just competing with each other because they have different means to achieving the same ends. Fundamentally not all women want the same thing, and it's presumptuous to assume that the women who want to get married are somehow having their men "stolen" by the women who aren't looking for marriage. 

Finally, I don't want to reduce my distaste for this piece to ad hominem, but I was a bit suspicious about the organization so I did a short search and found out that "This new organization is run, in part, by Mark Regnerus, most famous for publishing a thoroughly debunked study arguing that gay parents are bad for kids. "   - http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/02/20/mark_regnerus_austin_institute_for_the_study_of_family_and_culture_wants.html

So there's that. 

For what I would consider to be a fairly balanced and data-informed take on this issue I would suggest checking out the recent freakonomics episodes on this subject: http://freakonomics.com/2014/02/13/why-marry-part-1-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/ AND http://freakonomics.com/2014/02/20/why-marry-part-2-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/

And yes, obviously I'm just saying all this to get laid. Thank's for noticing, and thanks for stopping by.

For a full argument from which the statement I made is excerpted, check out the facebook gallery below. I enter the conversation on page 5.