Should we have the right to sell sex?

Answered Dec 10, 2017

People’s answers will tend to be influenced on their personal definition of, “selling sex”.

A person who only visualises desperate street prostitution (maybe right in front of your house) by addicted, exploited women and girls will likely be very opposed.

A person who visualises prostitutes as “other” in terms of socioeconomic status, race, sexual orientation, etc., will likely have very little empathy for them.

But what is “selling sex”?

A nice, respectable, white woman presents herself as being sexually appealing, while making “financially successful” one of her basic criteria for a prospective husband or boyfriend?

A woman who uses a man’s hope that she mighthave sex (when she has zero intention of doing so), in order to keep his attention, and receive non-cash resources, like restaurant meals or rides in his car?

An attractive young gay man, living in a nice house owned by his wealthy, much older and less attractive boyfriend?

A gay woman acting like a deadbeat, refusing to work, and living off of her responsible, hard-working girlfriend?

That seemingly respectable, fading-looks middle-aged woman in the suburbs, having sex with her husband, when she doesn’t want to, long after the emotional spark has gone out? Because she wants to keep the marriage intact, solely to keep the middle-class economic status to which she is accustomed?

Deep down, the real question is, “Which types of selling sex, in what manner, by whom, are viewed as acceptable, by whom?”

Do you think “adult” pop stars like Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Miley Cyrus are ruining women? Why or why not?

Updated Dec 15, 2017

“Ruining”? No.

Negatively influencing some females (especially, say, 12-year-old girls)? Yes.

Ten years ago, the original target audience for Miley Cyrus actually was 12-year-old (or younger) girls, when she starred in Disney’s “Hannah Montana”.

Pop music in general has always had a major target audience of teenagers. Insecure people who are still formulating their ways of socialising and presenting themselves, along with their sexuality. People who lack life experience enough to really question media messages.

Popular music has always been largely about the visual appearance of the performers, and the constant message, “This is cool. This is what people admire. This is the way to feel powerful and grown-up”.

It has always had a large focus on pushing boundaries sexually (both libido and androgyny), and annoying your conservative parents.

It often isn’t exactly dignified. Remember KISS, or some of Elton John’s outfits, from the 1970s?

But, like society in general, it escalates. Sixty years ago, Elvis Presley merely swinging his hips a little was decried as unacceptably lewd and vulgar.

If anyone ever invents a real-life time machine, I want for them to teleport 1980s-era Twisted Sister back to 1950s-era Ed Sullivan Show. That would be cool.

The 2004 Janet Jackson Superbowl Wardrobe Malfunction ended up being viewed as a joke, and internet click-bait, but would probably have caused 1950s television sets to explode. Including for the racial implications.

The bar gets progressively raised for what is perceived as scandalous (and therefore attention-getting and profit-generating). Unfortunately, the bar has now been raised by the mass growth of pornography. Within pornography itself, the bar has been rising, in terms of aggression, up to open violence.

And perhaps, mass-market female pop stars have started to function as a sort of conduit between adult-level pornography, and the music videos being watched by impressionable young girls.

“This is cool. This is what people admire. This is the way to feel powerful and grown-up”.

There was a time, long before I was born, when bobbysoxers and teenyboppers were cool.

When I was 12 years old, my idea of an admirable, gorgeous pop star was early-80s Stevie Nicks (actually, I still think that). A long way from the images and role-models that 12-year-old girls are being fed now.

It has escalated to the point where I view it as very harmful to individuals, and to society. Unfortunately, progress is often harmful, and I don’t see any viable way to put this toxic genie back into the bottle.

What does it take to expel a student from a university for cheating, does having the exact answers of a second test version count?

Answered Dec 10, 2017

It depends on the particular institution, and the particular circumstances. For example:

How the student came into possession of the test answers.

How the student got caught (e.g. during the actual test).

Whether the student already has a history of cheating (or other bad behaviour).

If the student brought the exact, official second-version answers into the test room, that is still major misconduct of attempted cheating, even if the actual test being conducted was a different version of the same test.

Depending on all of this, there may be a range of consequences, all of which will be negative.

At the very least, you will have damaged your personal reputation in the eyes of lecturers, professors, and other staff.

Clear guilt may lead to automatic failure of the test, and the course.

At most, if a temporary suspension or permanent expulsion are being considered, my guess is that the head of the relevant department will get involved first. Then they may refer the matter to a disciplinary committee.

The student may have some sort of due process, and an opportunity to submit their side of the story. In some kind of borderline case, the student’s attitude may have an impact (positively or negatively).

Being expelled would go onto the student’s file, and probably their transcript. Other universities, employers, and educational funding bodies will all take a very negative view of this.

Personally, I have sat many tests and exams, and, no matter how nervous or unprepared I was, I have never even attempted any misconduct. I also accept personal responsibility for my for my grades, and want for them to always be legitimate, whether I like them or not.

Why is phage (viruses) therapy not used in the western world and it’s just been used in Russia and Poland, even if Bacteria has shown less resistance than antibiotics?

Answered Dec 10, 2017

A few possibilities come to mind.

There was poor communication and poor cooperation between western countries and communist countries.

Western governments and pharmaceutical companies did not yet foresee how serious the antibiotic resistance issue would eventually become.

There may be issues of cost for government funded research.

Pharmaceutical companies (which spend vast sums of money on drug development) may be concerned about whether they could obtain a legal patent based on phages. Patents are used so that a particular company can be the sole supplier of a drug, enabling them to set the price very high (thus recouping development costs plus turning a profit).

There may be issues about delivering the phage during treatment, which are more difficult than just swallowing an antibiotic pill.

There may be a, “that’s too weird” type of feeling in people making decisions, including suspicion towards deliberately putting a virus into a patient (even though phages really can only infect bacterial cells).

What were you doing when you were 18?

Updated Apr 1

My parents had been separated for a couple of years (till divorce do us part). My mother was making a bad decision to move to an economically unviable town (cyclic rural poverty).

Being a legal adult, I told (not asked) her that I would not be joining her in the ill-fated move.

I packed all my stuff into my car, and moved to my father’s place, about a thousand kilometers away, in a suburb of an industrial city.

I slept on my father’s living room floor for six months, and got a job in a factory for minimum wage.

Then, my father was moving for a career change, so I said that it was time to be a full adult, and got my own place.

Soon after, I packed all my stuff into the car, went near a motorway entrance, and got out a map of the country.

I chose a large city, where I had never lived, and didn’t know anyone, thousands of kilometers away. That was in the top five best moments of my life, and was an excellent decision.

That was a long time ago. However, I still keep my life set up so that I can always reserve the right and the ability to have that moment again (and have moved on to another 3 cities from that time, and expect more in the future).

The other day, a student was offended when a teacher in class touched her on the shoulder when she was wandering off task. Should teachers never touch students?

Answered Dec 8, 2017

Although I’m not a teacher, I have spent considerable time as a university student.

My default is to never touch anyone unnecessarily, aside from a handshake. I also strongly prefer for other people to have exactly that same attitude in their approach to me (with exactly one exception, who is a close, long-standing friend).

I am perfectly capable of touching people, if necessary. I once had job with plenty of up-close-and-personal touching, because it involved caring for elderly and disabled people. The key word is “necessary”.

For teaching children:

If the child just tripped on their shoelaces and face-planted, go ahead and approach to check for injuries. However, get more cautious as the age increases.

If there is a student-vs-student fight, break it up before someone is injured. If I saw a child being punched in the face, I would be inclined to restrain the assailant, and then face an investigation. An exception would be if the assailant was a teenager who was larger and stronger than me, in which case I would call security.

When in a room alone with a student, either have another person present, or at least leave the door open.

For teaching adults:

Basically, the same as for children.

An important factor (especially with children) is the gender of the teacher. Men are highly vulnerable to suspicion and accusations of “inappropriate” touching, and their career can be instantly over simply due to this bias, without actually doing anything wrong. This is unfortunate, because I would prefer to see more men in traditionally pink-collar occupations.

Women should also be cautious, and should examine the socialised sense of entitlement to be seen as safe and innocent, when the reality is that many women are predators, and some students have experience with that fact.

Transsexual people (in either direction) should never even consider working with children, due to the pervasive paranoia and discrimination, regardless of the individual’s actual integrity or innocence.

For both men and women, I strongly agree with another commentator’s willingness to have a video camera present in the room. In my personal life, I have had a few times when it would have been to my great advantage to have a video recording of an event, to prove my story, and have even considered buying and wearing a “body-cam” just in case of such a situation. It can be anything from a crime committed against you, to a false criminal accusation against you, to civilly actionable behaviour, like harassment or discrimination.

Another important factor (with anyone in any situation) is that, you don’t know the other person’s experiences. You don’t necessarily know if they have experienced child abuse, other violence, or sexual assault. They could be living in a high-crime neighbourhood, where they need to be highly vigilant about anyone suddenly reaching out to grab them. They could have experienced an armed robbery in a workplace. They aren’t obligated to tell you about it, and they aren’t obligated to simply “get over it” and allow random people to reach out and grab them without consent.

I have also heard the “touchy-culture” excuse. However, I grew up on a relatively NON-touchy culture, so “cultural sensitivity” really means respecting my space, and keeping your hands off.

As an adult student, I had a very negative experience with an educational institution (a low-rent polytechnic) where this issue was part of their incessant, totally unprofessional pattern of disrespect and boundary-violations. I switched my money and academic performance to a much better institution, with much more professional staff. “Professional” including respecting boundaries like this.

You may decide your own actions and intentions, but you don’t get to decide other people’s reactions.