Monday, May 10, 2010

Logic, Evolution and Sexual Harassment

Occasionally we read different things from different areas of study and we wonder how all of it can be combined into an interesting whole? Or do we throw it out into some forgotten hole?

Basic Logic
Ok, so the basics of logic teach you that if every premise is true within an argument form and the argument form is a valid form, then the conclusion must be true. We get a fact like A is equal to B being premise 1. We get a fact like B is equal to C being premise 2. We conclude that A must be equal to C. If premise 1 is true and premise 2 is true, then the conclusion must be true. This very paragraph is an example of a valid argument form, and if you want to know what makes an argument form valid or invalid I would recommend taking a class in logic to get the very best info.

I can give you one example of an invalid argument. We get a fact that A is equal to B as being the first premise. We get a fact that B is equal to C as premise 2. We conclude that A is equal to D. This would be classified as an invalid argument form. Even if premise 1 and 2 are true, the conclusion can not be expected to be true because it is not a valid argument form. Many times we are presented with argument forms through rhetoric and the argument forms are not always valid but we are expected to accept them as valid and make decisions about them. The use of statistics can be abused in such a fashion. The point is to be astute in one's observation.

Evolutionary Psychology
Now I do not claim to be an expert in the field of evolutionary psychology so I am not necessarily familiar with the latest developments in that field and I know that in any theory, you will have those who agree and those who disagree and both sides will have their scientific evidence. Just look at how light was perceived by 19th century physicists. Some believed light was a bunch of rays and others believed that light was a bunch of particles and they both had their evidence. Turns out that they were both correct, light is supposedly rays AND particles. My point is that knowledge is constantly "evolving" pardon the pun.... and evolutionary psychology will have proposed theories which will be modified and refined as the years go by.

One of the premises that has come out recently in evolutionary psychology is that the human male is very dependent upon his visual organ to determine his sexual partner. What he looks for is irrelevant for my argument, the fact that the visual is the main tool is what is important to my premise. Apparently, some research has demonstrated that when the male visually sees what stimulates him, his brain produces pleasure responses similar to that of cocaine. Ok, again I have no idea how true this premise is..... This is something that can be debated amongst the evolutionary psychologists. For the purposes of my argument, we are assuming this is true.

So the human male needs to see something that stimulates him sexually and to propagate the species. This could explain why photographic pornographic material is so successful with a male customer base and the more literary material is more successful for the female customer. But I don't want to deviate my focus away from the male in this blog, suffice it to say the visual keeps the male "stimulated".

Sexual Harassment
Well we all know that sexual harassment is unwanted sexual advances from an unwanted partner. If the male requires visual stimulation to be attracted to his partner, what happens if he does not wish to receive visual stimulation from an unwanted partner? Advertising on television that shows the scantily clad individual to attract the vision of its male audience, huge posters on billboards that show a visually stimulating image for the male audience and the strategically placed inserts inside a magazine that one must turn to continue reading whatever article being read, all of these examples are probably unwanted visual stimulation which tease the male visual sexual drive with no possibility of release.

"Just don't look." becomes synonymous with "She should not have worn such a short skirt." If the woman is allowed to wear what she wants without being harassed sexually, then the man should be able to walk down a street without seeing such billboards in his face, or watch television without having to "fastforward" every circumstance, or even read his magazine without having to worry what comes on the next page.

Besides, before he can determine for himself whether or not he should look or not, he must realize what he is looking at in the first place. If he decides that he does not want to look, well its too late, the damage is done. Just like the woman who is approached by an undesirable advance, once the approach has happened, the damage is done. If she wants to be approached by strangers in such a way, she has the option to go to a singles bar. She does not want to be approached in the same way at her work or walking in the park with her friends.

We believe that a woman should not have to suffer sexual harassment just because she wore a skirt. If the man is stimulated visually, should he not be in control of what he looks at? The billboard, the television commercial and the magazine ad don't give him that choice, they ambush his visual response and create this stimulation which the male may not want to receive.

--So if "the male vision stimulates his sexual desires" is true.
--If "the male is ambushed by advertising campaigns to attract his attention with sexually stimulating images" is true.
--If "the male is not particularly interested in being sexually stimulated by that image at that moment in time" is true.
--If the premise of: [if the argument "women should not suffer sexual harassment based on their clothing choices" is acceptable then the argument "men should not suffer sexual harassment based on their inadvertent glance at some advertising aimed at them" should also be acceptable] is true.
--Then the conclusion "that the human male is victim of sexual harassment by visually stimulating advertisements" must be true.

Now is this morally or ethically wrong? Well logic never really determines morality or ethics so that would be a matter for a different blog. But this is an interesting area for further consideration. Naturally this topic is meant to stimulate a debate, not to impose a specific point of view..... Perhaps the human male enjoys ALL visual stimulation and would never dare avoid the advertising, after all, if the visual stimulation gives a high similar to a cocaine high (legally) what male would rationally want to take away one of his pleasures? Bring on more advertising? But then again, does this become the beginning of slavery through pleasure?

Lose your adult status for more chocolate, which a child enjoys even more than an adult, get even more chocolate if you now avoid your vegetables (which a child will now readily agree)..... and then the body breaks down because no more vitamins. Where is society in that metaphor? Are we the society that just traded in our vegetables for more chocolate? Yay to visual stimulation! I would rather enjoy my chocolate in moderation.... as an adult where I choose when to eat my chocolate, but maybe I am in the minority?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'd be curious to hear other males on that one... Unfortunately, no comments here other than mine...