Got your attention, did I? What better way to attract a reader to your words, or a customer to your product? Sex sells; in so many ways!
Titillation disclaimer: If you’re looking for cheap thrills, this isn’t for you. The only way this site is going to touch pornography is in the abstract, and even this essay only uses it as an example – we’re not talking about porn at all. What we’re going to tackle is the HOW we study behavior. Ready?
Quick, survey your thoughts, what image flooded your mind? Most people think of well-lit rooms, with a dedicated worker at a long bench. They are hunched over some item held in their gloved hands, attired in lab coat, safety goggles, and surrounded by monitors and equipment that goes ping. Finally, a tough but loveable Wise One hovers in the background, overseeing everything.
Now, let’s get back to pornography. No, I don’t want to know what image fills your mind, but we are going to discuss the approach we need to study both of these human occupations. Yes, the Scientist provides science. The Madame provides pornography. And here is where our subject gets interesting, because both of these professions are behaviors. And the tools we use to study each of them should be consistent. In other words, if I use tool A to understand what the Scientist does, I should also be able to use Tool A to understand the Madame.
At this point you may be wondering, Gentle Reader, why in the world I’ve chosen to compare and contrast a Scientist with a Madame. It’s really a bit ironic. In the course of researching post 130630, I came across an article that titillated and intrigued at the same time. It was about a young woman trying to “get back” at her high school by posing naked near their property. Fundamentally, the story is about a young woman who loves to exhibit herself, and is making money from this on the internet. But wait, there’s more. She is being helped by an equally young woman. Helped may not be the best word, perhaps managed is better. This second young woman, let’s call her Nebraska for short, has the same exhibitionist tendencies. Moreover, Nebraska manages other women who also don’t mind showing off their charms, both through the internet and more personal avenues.
In business terms, we call this a business model. Nebraska makes money by selling something her women do, including herself. Her customers come to her for many reasons, and are able to choose among the many options she provides. Once these things are sold, the women still have them. Additionally, the more popular their products become, the more money they make because the internet allows them to multiply their charms exponentially. That is, it’s as easy for one customer to visit them, as a million. Finally, Nebraska takes care of her women by managing their websites, probably paying lawyers, and possibly even negotiating health care and pension benefits on their behalf.
What is most interesting to me as a businessman is that this model has changed from the traditional Madame model. It used to be that you had a physical brothel where women would be housed, and men, one at a time, would come to visit. I’m sure that the Madame of yesterday had just as many management issues to worry about. But today’s Modern Madame does not have to keep her women in the same place, they can work from home. She does not have to entertain one man at a time, but with enough bandwidth she can entertain a million at once.
Now what does this mean to us, as students of behavior? We must now look at Nebraska, her employees, her business, and all of society in strictly objective terms. First off, do we ask the question, is Nebraska good or bad? We can’t be the ones to judge. After all, she has taken her available resources, her own body in this case, and provides it to others in such a way that at the end of the day, she still has it almost untouched. I say almost, because there may be aspects of her assets that are being consumed that are not easily perceived by the naked eye. For instance, the goodwill of her neighbors and immediate family may no longer be as great as it used to be.
At the same time there are social aspects. Do her actions strengthen or weaken society? Again, we must ignore the judgment of it being bad or good. What we can say with some confidence is that she competes with other, more organized porn sites. In this way she increases competition and so brings the price down so that more men can afford her services. We can also say that she is lowering the barriers to entry, so that it’s easier for women in general to enter this field. By increasing the opportunities for women who are interested in this career, it also becomes less likely that a woman in a dire situation falls prey to an organization or individual that would be more abusive.
There may be another aspect to increasing competition that touches society as a whole, however, in ways most people don’t think about. Since the internet allows one woman to be sold to many men, this implies that fewer women, supposedly the most beautiful and extreme, become the epitome of providers. In this way, they command a greater share of the attention, and revenue. In this way they push many of other competitors out of business so that very few women are left to serve as objects of desire for all mankind.
This puts pressure on all women. This even impacts the woman who only wishes to find a man with whom she can build a family, a future, and a ‘traditional’ life. The presence of easily available women effectively depreciates her worth. That is to say, a young man who is kept isolated from the charms of all women is much more likely to appreciate the charms of any single woman. That same man, if he is surrounded by extremely beautiful women whenever his needs require them, is less likely to be attracted to a normal woman – even though she be real – because he has already had a virtual relationship with another.
And therein lies our conundrum. Is any of this good or bad? The internet brings us free prostitution, and in it’s own way makes prostitution democratic in that everyone can create it, and everyone can consume it. This in turn may put traditional prostitution out of business. But it also puts increasing pressure on normal women. They can try and compete by becoming more like prostitutes – in dress and behavior – or they can suffer the consequences of knowing their men will find them less attractive and therefore less likely to want to marry them, less likely to want to stay with them.
We already see evidence of these trends in average age of marriage, marriage rates, first birth age, and overall birth rates. Again, is this bad? Women can wait longer to bear children, giving them more time to build a career. At the same time, the world is well populated, so having fewer children may not be bad – especially because we live longer.
So, enough about Nebraska. What about our Scientist. Did you think I forgot? To make things as equal as possible, our Scientist is a woman, and her lab is staffed by women. As businesses go, the research lab is a recent development, possibly the greatest achievement of Thomas Edison. He figured out how to organize and motivate a large number of smart people so that they all work together on the same problem. Let’s go through the same process for the Scientist as we did for the Madame. Here is a person managing many other women, helping with their lives and their careers. They are focusing on providing a service to some customer, with the main job of selling going to the lead Scientist. Her success in selling their services will influence their feelings of job success. And, if what they are creating is interesting enough, they don’t have to sell it to a single customer, but could have many hundreds of customers waiting for their product.
What is the impact upon the lead researcher? Does her ability to survive in a hostile world increase? What about her ability to reproduce? The same questions go for her employees. These are the fundamental questions of biology. But because we are also a bit more “evolved” from other life on this planet, let’s go beyond these simplistic markers. What of the impact on society? Is it possible that what they discover in this lab will benefit women and men throughout the world? Is it possible that they could find an answer that allows everyone to survive a bit more easily, and to reproduce more successfully?
The questions are too many to start them here, and we have not even begun the task of trying to answer them. The point here is that we must look upon all behavior with objective and consistent eyes. I am not trying to create trouble by comparing a Modern Madame to a Scientist, but as a scientist of behavior, it’s important to realize that all behavioral phenomena are to be studied, and that we must do so in a formal, objective frame of mind at all times. There can be no room for unacknowledged preconceptions or deep bias. These always exist, but if we acknowledge them we can try and correct for them.
Finally, you may ask what my own stance on the creation of the Modern Madame is within society. Is she good or bad? You may gather a hint of my own principles in this matter, simply in the way I’ve already approached it, but if you haven’t, here’s another clue. I won’t reference young Nebraska’s website directly, she has enough notoriety as it is. Notoriety equals advertising, and advertising equals increased sales, and that means she’s making more money. Also, if you’re looking for pointers to a risque website, you won’t find it here. Any search engine worth its salt finds more than enough, without even trying. However, in the spirit of being an objective and thorough researcher, I will reference the originating article, found quite by accident I must insist, through which you can also find the site of young Nebraska.