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    The Profit Motive Behind The Sexualization Of 'Tween Girls
    By News Staff | April 27th 2008 08:00 AM | 89 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    At Abercrombie & Fitch, little girls were sold thong underwear tagged with the phrases "eye candy" and "wink wink." In Britain, preschoolers could learn to strip with their very own Peekaboo Pole-Dancing Kits, complete with kiddie garter belts and play money. And 'tween readers of the magazine Seventeen discovered "405 ways to look hot" like Paris Hilton.

    This kind of sexualization of 'tween girls - defined as those between the ages of 8 and 12 - in pop culture and advertising is a growing problem fueled by marketers' efforts to create cradle-to-grave consumers, a University of Iowa journalism professor argues in her new book.

    "A lot of very sexual products are being marketed to very young kids," said Gigi Durham, author of The Lolita Effect. "I'm criticizing the unhealthy and damaging representations of girls' sexuality, and how the media present girls' sexuality in a way that's tied to their profit motives. The body ideals presented in the media are virtually impossible to attain, but girls don't always realize that, and they'll buy an awful lot of products to try to achieve those bodies. There's endless consumerism built around that."

    Durham advocates healthy and progressive concepts of girls' sexuality, but criticizes the media for its sexual representations. Studies by the Kaiser Family Foundation and other research organizations show that sexual content aimed at children has increased steadily since the 1990s, Durham said. Times were prosperous, Britney Spears emerged as the sexy schoolgirl on MTV, and 'tweens had plenty of disposable income -- a perfect alignment for marketers trying to expand into a new demographic. By 2007, 8- to 12 year-olds' consumer spending was $170 billion worldwide, according to the market research firm Euromonitor.

    The book, published this month by Overlook Press, is the culmination of 13 years of research by Durham, an associate professor in the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication, part of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

    Durham immersed herself in magazines, movies, TV shows, catalogs and Web sites aimed at young girls, from Cosmo Girl to "Hannah Montana." She went to junior high schools to talk with girls about how the messages affected them.

    In the book, Durham identifies five myths of sexuality and provides advice and resources for caring adults who want to discuss the issue with young girls.

    The myths are:

    -- If you've got it, flaunt it. Bare a "Barbie body" as often as you can. But don't celebrate or enjoy any other body type. "It's really excluding a lot of girls from enjoying and recognizing pleasure in their own bodies," Durham said.

    -- Anatomy of a sex goddess. "Media reinforce a ridiculous ideal of being both extremely thin and voluptuous -- a body not found in nature," Durham said. "You have to go through borderline starvation and plastic surgery to get it."

    -- Pretty babies. Representations of sexual girls are getting younger and younger. Many of the images presented as the most sexually desirable are images of girls as young as 11 or 12. "It's problematic in many ways: It encourages sexualization of girls too young to make good decisions about sex. It legitimizes the idea that young girls should be looked at as sexual partners. And, presenting pre-pubescent bodies as the sexual ideal pressures grown women to achieve the body of a child who hasn't even matured yet," Durham said.

    -- Sexual violence is hot. Media aimed at children -- like PG-13 "slasher" movies -- convey the message that violence is sexy or that sex should be violent.

    -- Girls don't choose boys; boys choose girls -- and only hot girls. Women and girls are supposed to focus on pleasing men. But little emphasis is placed on women taking pleasure in their own sexuality or bodies, or on guys striving to please gals, Durham said. "It's a very one-way construction of sex."

    "The book definitely isn't anti-sex," Durham said. "It starts with the recognition that girls are sexual -- everybody's sexual -- but that girls deserve good information that will help them make good decisions. We have the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the industrialized world, and a study by the Centers for Disease Control just reported that 1 in 4 teen girls in the U.S. has an STD. Clearly we're not giving them the kind of information they need to take care of themselves sexually and transition to adulthood in safe ways."

    Durham encourages parents, teachers and counselors to jump-start conversations about sexualization of young girls in the media. Ask girls to look through a teen magazine and discuss the messages. How seriously do they take them? Do they understand the profit motives, or how images can be doctored to perfection?

    Other tips include: complimenting girls on more than just their appearance to emphasize that they are multidimensional; encouraging activism for causes like ending sex trafficking; and assisting girls in creating their own media -- Web sites, blogs or 'zines -- that are less focused on sex and appearance.

    "There's this hesitance to talk about these issues, especially before kids reach adolescence," Durham said. "But often, when parents finally do bring it up, it's too late. Kids have already had their sexual understanding shaped by media. We need to be having a lot of open discussions about the sexualization of childhood and what constitutes healthy sexuality. I don't think we should neglect our responsibility as adults and leave them to navigate this terrain on their own."

    Comments

    Kimberly Crandell
    What I don't understand, is who is buying all of this stuff for girls between the ages of 8 and 12?  Girls of this age don't have jobs of their own, and aren't even old enough to be earning babysitting money.  Who is going to Abercrombie&Fitch and buying thongs for their 10-year-old?
    It isn't the girls' parents who are buying these things for the girls. Most parents give money to kids for lunches or to buy clothes at the mall(or the kids just forgo the whole "mommy could i pleaseee have some money for the mall?" spiel and steal it out of her purse).It is just a fact that whether the parents know it or not,those kids are buying these things with their money.In situations like these it is hard for a parent to keep track of every cent.
    I am an 18 year old girl and am rebellious to the whole movement.Somehow along the way I realized what was happening.I had the option of joining the popular group of Abercrombie wearing misfits,but chose one that was more logical for me.Ultimately,I don't know what we can do to stop this other than create a new trend to trample this one.
    A few years ago Abercrombie started parading hot male models around their stores wearing practically nothing to lure people into their stores.This still goes on today.You know there must be something wrong when retailers are showing models instead of their product for sales.

    Aitch
    I'm sorry, call me stupid....but didn't this start with the intense marketing of plastic toys like Barbie for girls and Guns for boys
    Sexuality is a fact, and if there wasn't such a stupid attitude with censors and what constitutes pornography, this wouldn't be happening
    As a society there is massive repressed confusion about sex and violence. This is just the latest wake-up call

    What this articles is complaining about is pornography - but to my mind that pornography began with plastic Barbie and plastic guns
    You need to look back to what you were all thinking about when that was happening, to figure out what to do with your children!

    As an older man, I resent not being able to smile whilst watching children having fun, even if they are family, in case I get accused of being a pervert

    There is a huge amount of awareness needed about the way things are, and how we got here
    - but the blame culture really is the wrong direction

    Don't youth always end up being blamed for something we all do?

    Mimicry is supposed to be the greatest form of flattery, unless they mirror back your worst aspects

    Aitch
    This article is flawed,yet girls shouldn't treated like objects nor
    should be pressured either.This society is flawed because both genders are
    treated like objects,which should not be.

    Both genders deserve respect and neither should have to try to impress
    the opposites.

    Both are equal.

    Hank
    How is the article flawed?  Does it advocate treating one gender like an object?
    EXACTLY!

    Who's buying the clothes for these little tramps in training? Why it's the 30-60 year old men that watch these tweens on their Webcam shows.

    Mommy loves that her little girl is bringing in the money and daddy is kept clueless.

    Speaking from experience, are you?

    To say the least, the comment about 30-60 year old men watching tweens on webcams is... well... creepy as heck. First off, there arent a whole lot of countries such things would go unpunished. Second of all, such a thing is highly illegal. Also, its easy to track IP addresses (and therefore your location) via websites. Next, the webcam sites will need to go through a strenuous age-verification system for both members and employees, otherwise face a slew of federal offenses.

    Despite what people think, its actually pretty hard to 'accidently' stumble upon internet content you dont want to view, aside from popups and spyware, that is. See, the average joe cant be surfing google, and just stumble upon kiddie porn. If they could, google would be sued for showing the site as a listing, as well as the site admin, and the people photographing the child. Again, I add that the post about the webcam, is downright disturbing.

    As for the article? Its terrific! Though, as others have said, who the hell is buying this stuff. I mean, its one thing to let your child express themselves with multi-colored hair, or something, but buying them slutty outfits? Gross!

    God you sound naive. YouTube has thousands of videos of tweens dancing to music, fully clothed. How are these illegal? It is not at all easy to find a person from an IP address as you describe, only a court order can do this. What good is my location, if it is simply "New York". You want to blame somebody, look in the mirror because you are the one spreading ignorance and fear.

    Not true at all. Men wouldn’t dare go into a department store, and buy or purchase such garbage for their own daughters, much less a niece or someone else. Where did you crawl out from? Do I sense blame game temperament here? Got a beef with males? Peeved at fathers? Men don’t buy these things; mothers who live through their daughters do, fool! You're mistaken. You damn feminist, and male haters have done all you can do to demonize males in western culture. You're lucky to be alive. In the modest and religiously respective Middle Eastern cultures, you'd be stoned to death for exploiting your own daughters to this immoral sensationalism and sexuality. Western Christianity has fallen to psychologically weak mind and easily manipulated controlled sick women and wannabee sexy cougar nymphs who play cutie with their young daughters, exploiting them with sexuality, while feeding off the attention of both young males, and older men. Ever gone to the mall, and watched a tween, or young teenaged girl and her scantly clad mommy flaunting and suggestively dressing like her daughter? Gee, Wally, I wonder why mommy would do that? Do us all a favor, take the poison and drink. You’re a hindrance and nuisance to the traditional family, which was, ages ago, a respected institution.

    I'm glad you've drawn attention to the paedophilic aspect of fashion and media. Marketing is really angling towards the projection of youth for adult women - flat chested, with fragile limbs and narrow hips. Is this indicative of a move towards a legitimate vehicle for child pornography I wonder?

    Also, in answer to the question of where these girls get the capital to buy this stuff - the obvious answer in the increasing amounts of 'pocket money' or 'allowance' given by parents to their children - not intentionally to buy thongs, of course. As for my younger sister (age 11), who gets no allowance, she occasionally pickpockets our parent's wallets and denies it afterwards, throwing a tantrum.

    And this is why my girls have to have special barbie-like dolls ordered from overseas. Expensive, but soo worth it. This is totally in the parents' court. Mom is the first example for girls this age to follow. And due to the fact that most girls' first male contact is with dad, they should see respect for modesty from him. All of this, and other moms wonder why my girls aren't allowed to play with Bratz....

    Great article. One issue I have is.. once we recognize the problem how do we remedy it? Once you forbid a child from doing something demanded by the mainstream conformist group, the likeliness that that child will do these things against your wishes increases. I'd say it's best to raise a child to be as much of an intelligent critical thinker as you can. Then, once they've developed a the capacity for that, don't hold anything back from them. Raise them to be intelligent enough to recognize the lies around them.

    logicman
    " ... it's best to raise a child to be as much of an intelligent critical thinker as you can. Then, once they've developed a the capacity for that, don't hold anything back from them. Raise them to be intelligent enough to recognize the lies around them."
    [my emphasis.]
    Agreed.  Need I add more, Graeme?
    Gerhard Adam
    One telling comment in the article was:

    "By 2007, 8- to 12 year-olds' consumer spending was $170 billion worldwide, according to the market research firm Euromonitor."

    Where do 8-12 year olds get that kind of money to spend and why are we allowing corporations to market products to individuals that, by definition, are not legal to work?   We don't allow marketing of cigarettes and alcohol to under-age persons, so why allow this?  It is clearly a marketing "end around" the parents to try and garner sales by pressure generated from children to parents.

    ... and please ... no "free market" nonsense, since under that premise we'd allow cigarettes and alcohol advertising.

    BTW, for the record, there is no "free market" except as an operation of what we declare to be a legitimate market in the first place (which is why we bar drug cartels from operating).  Therefore whether the market operates "freely" or not, is not the same thing as "free advertising".  In other words, the markets do NOT have a right to propagandize consumers and simply make up facts, nor do they have the right to impose their marketing efforts on individuals.  That is not and never has been a function of "free market" economics.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Well said! Finally, a wise respectful female mother who knows the real truth!!!!!!! Women, stand up for truth, and what's right!!!!!! Men aren't the problem here, it's mommies who can't deal with their identity, and live promiscuously through the sexuality of their own offspring!!!!!!!!! Who’s attracting who? Is it any surprise that child perverts are attracted to single mothers with daughters? Hmmmm? Do you sociological and criminality statistical data compiling people!!!!!! Find out why these social dynamics occur!!!!!!!! Women who are sexually ignorant, often, unintentionally predispose their own daughters to unnecessary sexual exploitation and put their own girls at risk to deviant behaviour by unsuspecting males who prey on vulnerable naïve foolish females! Where’s dad? Great comment lady! We need women with honorable family morals like you!

    I'm 13 and I can assure you, we are generally as disturbed by this as you. I've seen clothes that I wouldn't wear at 18, let alone at 8. But you can't blame the fashion companies: if someone is BUYING the merchandise, isn't that more of a worry?

    Parents should be blame for promoting this scenario, children at the age of 8-12 might not be able to sense the consequences of the behaviour, but as a parents we can stop this from spreading.

    Support the Females as Property Movement.Save yourself, save society and save the girlies from the tremendous burden they have been required to bear since being allowed to enter general adult society.Some historians believe the burden commenced in 1920 when females were granted the general country-wide privilege of voting.Sadly, as females gained various rights and privileges their inability to accept the accompanying responsibilities has harmed those females, males and society as a whole.The emotion-laden generally irrational female of the human species has fallen short of adult expectations.We must remove the enormous burden from female shoulders for the good of all.Admittedly, there IS a very small percentage of females who ARE capable of bearing the burden of adulthood in our modern society so exceptions will be made for those few.However, easing females out of the requirements of being full-fledged adults and re-assuming their roles of yore will be a blessing in many ways and will assuredly improve the female's general happiness.Society must also shelter all females from their materialistic whims. Protect females from the lure of marketers, advertising and corporate greed. It is obvious too many females are unable to control their urges.

    we are all different, different orientations different likes. so some people really like that stuff. It's not like you can switch it of that just because it's illegal or very close to.

    Hank
    Sure but you can't allow a moral free-for-all in the name of diversity and tolerance for other people.  That's the curse of moral relativism and it means we should be okay with Columbine shootings and genocide - none of which is likely to ever be the case either.
    Gerhard Adam
    Hank, the problem is we're never OK with these things AFTER they occur, but we invariably are BEFORE they do.

    In comes down, like it always has, to the parents being responsible.  If they aren't then we will always be left to pick up the pieces from whatever hair-brained notion or idea is the current fad.  Not to pick on Paris Hilton, but the only reason she's famous is because too many people are buying into that hype.  In my world she ranks well below changing the oil in my car and cleaning stalls (in terms of things that are important and need to be taken care of).  Yet, why do I know the name of her dog? 

    In truth, we are so overwhelmingly marketed to on a regular basis, I don't think we even know how to turn it off anymore and increasingly everything is hyped well beyond one's ability to escape it.

    It really is little wonder that so many people willingly accept it and shape their lives to accommodate it (hence the 15 minutes of fame becomes the overriding element many people seek).
    Mundus vult decipi
    The Females as Property Movement proclaims the vast majority of females are inherently "crazy" or at least certifiable mentally ill to some degree.Curb your female, please.Choose your own definition of "curb."

    jtwitten
    There is also the desire of young people to want to imitate and act "adult".  Perhaps we adults need to look to the image we portray, instead of declaring certain behaviors appropriate for "adults," but not for children, and expecting young people to accept that decision.
    ...times change...people change. With that, acceptable levels of debauchery are brought to the public eye in the name of entertainment. If there were a single entity that could be identified as loath to this generation it would be "MTV". While in it's infancy it was a purely musical lineup with ghastly video attempts but mostly harmless. Now the "Real World" along with too many others repleat with the base grade attitude now influence all the way down to the pre-teen. Parents are mostly the blame Gerhard I agree...the images need to be filtered and exposed for what they are, degrading and devoid of a moral compass. I have two grown daughters and while they move through the World they are none the less still affected by what is often called the MTV generation. While there indeed are those men between the 30-60 age group that are of less than stellar character, the majority of men within this grouping are fathers/brothers/grandpa's who fight for what's right. So lets not get too broad with that brush you are painting with Anonymous. There are predators that prey from both side of the gender list...

    Gerhard Adam
    I'll go one step farther and suggest that all this "reality" TV is driven by this insatiable desire of people to be "famous" even if they look like total fools doing it. 

    To me this translates into an "anything for fame" mindset that no longer retains any semblance of integrity or personal worth.  Is it any wonder that kids pick up on this and think that the only thing that counts is how they would be viewed within a media context?
    Mundus vult decipi
    If your kid get bullied at school because she hasn't got the outfit that's cool, telling that its better not to give into trends and be yourself will only get you so far. (I dont have kids so NOT speaking from personal exp) The problem in my opinion, is that corporations have perfected their methods of selling young impressionable people. They use images and concepts that are very desirable but little understood by these "tweens" most of which just ewant to act like grown ups. So we are left with a situation where kids easily become excluded for not dressing right or listening to the right music. ie: dressing in a provocative manner, etc.
    (remember this isnt high school with different social groups. at this age kids havent broadened their understanding enough to veer away from main stream ideology and have a separate standpoint)

    So here is my drawn out point-

    If you have a 8-12 year old who gets excluded from playtime and kids call her bad names because she doesnt wear a thong that says "Eat Me!" (or whatever) how should a parent* act?

    Would you (or more importantly your child) be happy being a social pariah rather than dress the way described above. Maybe the myriad of potential mental health problems and low self esteem outweighs your child dressing like that, as long as you still talk about healthy sexual behaviour and tell her not to flaunt her jailbait fanny on youtube.

    I am not picking a side. It just seems everyone is quick to denounce these people they know nothing about.

    * Bear in mind the term parent refers to your bog standard working class parent with little valuable education, little spare time/money to spend with kids. Not the ideal image of a supporting parent that has taught their child the right things since they were 3.

    Gerhard Adam
    Denounce?  That isn't nearly a strong enough term for what I feel for parents that keep insisting on having children that they can't or won't raise.

    There simply is no excuse for failing to do your job as a parent.  While I realize that there are numerous elements in an adult life that can make it difficult and there may even be severe limitations on the contact/influence one can have (like in the case of divorce).  There is still no excuse for failing to convey the right message when the opportunity presents.

    Regardless of what corporations have done regarding advertising, in the end it comes back to parents that encourage this type of behavior, and support the idea of bullying or social exclusion that occurs in school.  There are simply too many parents that want to be "friends" with their child rather than be the parent.  Many are over-protective whether it be from guilt or simply because they can't be bothered to see what their children do.

    If even parents are too cowardly to confront peer pressure, or teach their children about these issues, then we might just as well turn our children over to the corporations since we (as parents) have simply become a useless appendage to their upbringing.  
    Mundus vult decipi
    Oh, the poor girls. They never do anything, things are always done to them. They are always victims, never acting out of own free will.
    You would not believe the kind of games I played with my Barbie dolls as a kid. And I grew up to be a healthy (well, not sicko anyway) woman with no body issues or whatever one should get from be exposed to Barbie.

    Hank
    But that was you being creative.   There is a difference between that and the Barbie company telling you to buy her a thong that says P*rn Star on it.    Or, worse, your parents buying you one.
    The thing is that kids ARE creative. Adults often think that kids are automatons that just take in what is presented to them. It was the same discussion with Barbie. Girls would be brainwashed to think they had to look like Barbie, they would get body issues and what have you not. I remember thinking I would look like Barbie when I grew up because she looked like a woman to me. Nothing more, nothing less. I wouldn't by a thong to a young girl, but that is because I find it tacky. The mainstreaming of p*rno is disturbing and tasteless to us grownups, but what are the kids thinking? Our parents were worried about barbie body issues and video games and video violence. Our grandparents were worried about rock n'roll, Beatles and unkempt hair. It's the same story over and over.

    Same story over and over...except it's getting worse every time. When will society finally get the balls to stop it?

    What this debate lacks is a fully cross-cultural perspective on the whole concept of sexual maturity.

    Western culture has pushed the nominal/legal age of sexual maturity several years beyond the physical age of sexual maturity. One way to characterize the way different cultures approach this question is to equate the period of childhood to the duration of education. In a diverse/complex economy, most people don't finish their basic education until they are about 18. In simpler, pre-industrial cultures, girls will have learned just about everything they need to know by the time they are 13. This pattern may well go back to our very early human hunter-gatherer pre-history, back before rates of cultural evolution far outstripped physical evolution.

    Our species has evolved to have females reach sexual maturity in their early teens (depending on nutrition levels - lately the secular trend has pushed menarche earlier sand earlier, but still 13 is a good approximation.)

    Obviously youth is a primary attribute for female beauty. Virtually every beauty product on the market has the effect of making women look younger. It seems that humans have an instinctive attraction toward females who are at the earlier stages of sexual maturity. From an evolutionary standpoint, this makes perfect sense. A male who can gain sexual access to a young virgin female can maximize his own reproductive potential by hooking up with her. In Darwinian/selfish gene terms, males who evolved an attraction to females who had recently reached menarche (and were not already pregnant!) would tend to out-reproduce other males who were not so discriminating. Guys who were attracted to old women, especially post-menopasal ones, did not do so well and their genes became less common.

    Some will think this too deterministic, that men are socialized to see a particular female body type attractive. This hypothesis can be easily refuted, however. The female body shows very clear evidence that this particular co-evolutionary exchange between male and female has been going on for a long time. The breasts are probably the clearest example. Breast shape is an extremely sensitive and honest indicator of sexual maturity. The particular perky jut of a nubile virgin breast is unmistakable. Throughout most of human history that breast would be standing up (or sagging down) for all to see; yet another example of the artificial constraints of modern culture, where women are legally prevented from demonstrating their breast tone.

    The waist is another example. Not every subspecies of human has a waist. It appears to be a fairly recent innovation, since many isolated culture groups do not have it as part of their physiological adaptation. Nubile females have a big round waist. This has a very different evolutionary consequence: you can't tell if the girl is pregnant as easily. It's a different female reproductive strategy, relying on deception instead of honest advertising.

    The jury seems to be out: honest advertising is better. (This on the basis of the fact that the cultures lacking the waist lie off of the mainstream of physical evolution. The waist is an upgrade.)

    So maybe these young girls want to look sexy because that sex appeal has very high value. They're playing the hand they've been dealt. Some of them will even strike it rich. It's nice work if you can get it.

    Now Gerold, what you are arguing is both not correct, and frankly quite disturbing. Most men are NOT attracted to adolescent girls. Some are and that is fine, as long as they do not act upon it! The "cross cultural" theories about hedonistic adolescent girls (and boys) seems to be largely owed to Margaret Mead's studies of the Trobriands, which have later been heavily critizied. Girls reach puberty earlier today than 100 years ago due to better nutrition and general health. This does not mean that sexual maturity follows body development. The legal age of consent is different in different countries, I believe there is a span from 13 (Portugal) and 18 (USA). In Norway the age of consent is 16. Most Norwegian teenagers think that this is appropriate, and most do not want to it to be lowered even if some young people start having sex earlier. They actually feel that this a protection against experiences they are not ready for. We actually have good evolutionary proof of what happenes when men approaches young girls sexually and impregnate them. There are countries who condone this practice. The girl is mutilated, often for life and might even die. Her tiny body is not ready for pregnancy. Every person who has ever been a girl knows that beauty products are means to make you look OLDER, not younger (the younger-looking part matters when you are about 40). Girls want to play grown up, just like with the little stove and tiny ironing board. This does not mean that they are ready for sex. Indeed they would be horrified if some old man tried to approach them in that way. In modern societies girls don't have to depend on their looks because they can get education and make their own money. That doesn't mean they don't want to look good too. Evolution has nothing to do with it though, thank god.

    Now Mina, this may be difficult to swallow for people who don't understand human sociobiology, but the evolutionary benefits are very clear, and it has everything to do with evolution.
    The evolution of our society has altered the rules of the mating game to push back the social age of sexual maturity, but that is a consequence of an increased social complexity that requires a longer adolescence to acquire all the knowledge necessary to succeed. That is why girls who are sexually mature from a physical standpoint are not sexually mature from a social standpoint.
    Consider the case of female beauty products; every one is designed to make a woman look younger. (They aren't necessary for girls under 16, of course, who might actually benefit from larger breasts.) However, for any woman over the age of 18 or so, it's all about looking younger.
    Bras: lifts the breast
    Skin cream: smooths out wrinkles and weathering
    Lipstick: brighter colors are an adolescent trait
    Eye make-up: adds both color and apparent size, again adolescent traits
    High heels: increases apparent leg length relative to upper body, characteristic of female growth spurt after puberty
    Blond hair: juvenile characteristic

    If it makes you feel any better, the sexualization of younger girls is firmly rooted in human instinct, and is not an unnatural consequence of civilization.

    Well, Gerold, I rather think that you're stretching your analogies to the extreme. Lipstick colors have varied from almost white to almost black the last 40 years. During the 80's all girls looked like they were 40 years old. It's fashion, not evolution. I have yet to see a sociobiological theory that can withstand scientific scrutiny, which doesn't seem to reduce its popularity among people outside the scientific community though. Biology, psychology and sociology are by far superior when it comes to explaining human behaviour. Humans have lived in societies (small or larger groups) for ten thousands of years (at least!). We do not know anything about our early ancestors' way of life. Possibly the size of human testicles indicates that females had a lot of partners, and that men had to compete a lot. But we really don't know. The fact is that very few men are attracted to young girls! Many men are of course attracted to girls in their late teens, but then it is because they look like women. I can see that you really want to excuse an attraction to adolescent girls by referring to pseudoscientific hypotheses, but I must disappoint you there. There is no excuse. But as long as you do not act on it, it's fine.

    Mina, I could criticize what you said in numerous ways but perhaps the funniest to me is that you used good spelling, punctuation and grammar throughout your prose, but in your punchline you when you dismissed evolution on an implied religious basis you did not capitalize God's name. Way to go!

    For the record, I believe in God and evolution makes perfect sense to me.

    Gerhard Adam
    Once again, I think the case regarding attraction and sex is being overstated.  From a biological perspective, the process must not only culiminate in offspring, but successful rearing to adulthood as well.  That's the only means by which any genetic traits will be passed on, so to discuss attraction from an "evolutionary" perspective doesn't even begin to tell the story.

    I would argue that personal views of attractiveness are largely subjective, although there is a reasonable probability that one of the criteria would be to find a generally healthy individual attractive.  There is little doubt that someone young might convey that point more readily, but if they are too young then it would represent a different sort of risk. 

    Even having said that, I would also argue that the physical attraction is only the "attention getter" and ultimately has little to do with who one pairs up with (in a reproductive sense).  While many of these elements have been turned upside down with the development of contraceptives, in general the biological imperative is in seeking a reproductive mate and not simply focusing on something as simplistic as initial physical attractiveness.

    Human pairing requires something much more substantive than simple initial attractiveness, so I have to assume that all the speculation about what someone finds appealing is largely irrelevant. 

    However, I will say that often men find young (or younger) females attractive because they are primarily motivated by the desire to control the relationship.  While I can't claim this in any scientific manner, my sense is that the younger the partner, the greater the influence that can be exerted and thereby render the entire relationship more under control of the older partner.  In short, it's an insecurity thing. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    I don't think it's right to sexualize young girls; but why the hell would you 'celebrate' any other body type? Of course girls with the 'Barbie' type bodies celebrate being fit, healthy, and attractive; a lot of them work hard as hell to retain that kind of a figure they deserve to celebrate every chance they get.

    But why in the hell would anyone 'celebrate' being overweight or obese? That's like celebrating getting a failing grade on a report card. It doesn't make any sense. No one gets a D- and says, "Eh..good enough" and goes out to celebrate it. Instead of working harder to better one's self, you just celebrate your mediocrity and failure?! Awesome yeah, let's promote a culture of lazy, obese bovines who 'celebrate' the constant neglect of their physical health. If it's truly between that or oversexualizing our youth, it is truly a sad state of affairs for America.

    *btw, the captcha image is pointless if it's not even legible to human beings. Jesus fuck this is pointless and frustrating... let's give this another try.

    You need to get out more and observe real people if you think the only two extant body types are "Barbie" and "overweight or obese". And likening obesity to getting a "failing grade on a report card" plainly doesn't make sense; I suggest you read more on the topic.....and read more in general. Why not combine getting out more and reading and head to your local public library?

    What I find most disturbing though is this notion that one should strive for health to be "fit, [healthy], and attractive". The only one I agree with is "healthy". You seem to be implying that one's motivators for working towards healthy habits should be superficial....I quite disagree. While I agree with you that there certainly is a culture of neglect for one's physical health (and mental health for that matter, might I add), I fervently disagree with the approach you seem to be taking.

    Uh, I do get out asshole, and I fervently disagree with the assumption you seem to be making that my opinion is somehow rooted in antisocial behavior and a shortage of reading material. Your entire first paragraph was an ad hominem rant, and the one you followed up with can be summed up as "I therefore strongly disagree". You can no more accurately make those assumptions than I could assert that because you seem to be defensive when people appear to be insulting obese people, you therefore must be obese and also short because you have the word 'pygmy' in your name.

    As a matter of fact, I'd be MORE justified in stating that you are most likely short and obese. You lead that argument with a bold and obvious ad hominem attack, which is a very strong indicator that something I said struck you personally. It's almost like you read my post and took it as if I were speaking directly to YOU!

    This article is making the argument that we should somehow find a way to celebrate 'alternative' body types; like there's people out there with a 'different' physiological composition than the rest of the Homo Sapien population on planet Earth. Human beings are built a certain way, and the only things that change the appearance of the inherent structure of our bodies, aside from physical deformities, are muscle mass and fat retention. That's it.

    People who build a lot of muscle mass do so by WORKING hard and DEVELOPING that muscle over time. They also have every reason to celebrate. They work hard to make big gains and accomplish personal goals. That is outstanding. It is a tribute to the inherent beauty in the musculature of the human body.

    People who retain fat do so by not doing ANYTHING. Name one other aspect in any other area of life where complacency should be 'celebrated'. Why should this be any different? This is part of that 'everyones-a-winner' mentality that takes the competition out of sports and makes life the same dull shade of gray. There's no need to be THAT politically correct. It IS possible to stop advertisers from over-sexualizing our kids without at the same time teaching them 'it's okay to do nothing'. No one wants to celebrate your muffin-top protruding over the top your high-rise jeans because that doesn't make any sense at all. There are websites dedicated to the glorification of 'other' body types; there they are referred to as 'BBWs' and 'plumpers'.

    America promotes a culture of over-indulgence and convenience, which in the long run equals laziness. There is a damn good reason why people say we have an obesity 'epidemic' and it's no coincidence that we have the highest density of fast food restaurants per square mile and per-capita than any other nation on the PLANET! It is disgusting to me that some would actually have us CELEBRATE complacency and mediocrity, by leading us to falsely believe that there are somehow 'alternative' body types that exist. There is only one 'human' body type, the other mammalian body types are known as dears and squirrels and rabbits and cats.

    You went through that whole diatribe without once naming a SINGLE 'alternative' body type. The short answer is that it is because you CAN'T! The basic structure of our musculoskeletal system is what makes us human, there's no 'other' body type. There are people who retain fat and people who don't. The only other thing besides fat retention that changes the way we look is muscle mass, I cannot stress that enough.

    I do not wish to argue with you. I'm sure we both have better ways to use our time. And frankly, this is really veering off topic. Please, let's just stick to the specific topic of the article? I only disagreed with some of what you typed; I certainly did not mean to offend you in any way. I realize my comment was too harsh a personal attack. For this I'm definitely sorry. I should not have even used the word "you". I've learned my lesson. Can you please accept my apology?

    Gerhard Adam
    "People who build a lot of muscle mass do so by WORKING hard and DEVELOPING that muscle over time. They also have every reason to celebrate. They work hard to make big gains and accomplish personal goals. That is outstanding. It is a tribute to the inherent beauty in the musculature of the human body."

    In this one paragraph, the only point is that in modern society (especially western) this is the fashion.  It has nothing to do with biology.  In fact, there's a strong argument that muscle mass is detrimental to biological well-being since it is largely something that can only be maintained by an individual living in relative luxury. 

    The original point dealing with appearance is largely irrelevant since there is no successful human relationship (and ultimately rearing of offspring) that can be based on something that superficial.  It's all well and good if people work hard, or are proud of themselves, or are considered attractive, but this is biologically irrelevant if they don't successfully mate and rear offspring.

    It's also clear that in evaluating this situation we have to consider the effect of modern society and the "safety net" for raising children which will affect choices and the nature of relationships as they exist.  In fact, I would argue that if one looks back over human history, there have always been more significant criteria in a wife than her appearance.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Maybe what Durham meant by "other body types" was other body shapes, perhaps? For example, Barbie has a tiny waist and relatively big breasts and is cone or pizza shaped (note: I didn't invent these terms, so...uh...please don't make fun of me!). However, some people just aren't proportioned that way. If you've ever heard about being "pear-shaped" or "apple-shaped" or having the ever-lucky "hourglass figure," then you probably realize that there are differences in weight distribution from individual to individual. Unfortunately, I had to learn this the hard way--I spent all those years trying to get a round, juicy butt like my sister but after all these butt exercises, my butt remains as flat as a pancake.

    ...and what is with all these blogs leaving the oldest comments on the top and burying the most recent ones at the bottom? Is it just lazy people not bothering to write the extra script to make it make sense? That is about as nonsensical as a captcha image that takes 15 tries to get correct. Except at least with the captcha you eventually get it right.

    I did a report in college with a similar message to this article and I swear everyone in the room was just staring at me like I was some sort of crazy feminazi. I was talking about the way that the media and retailers profit from enforcing particular types of women's body images. I think that it's really disturbing that the trend of objectifying women has extended itself to an even younger target market. It's like you're never too young to learn that as a womena, you're supposed to grow up to be an object. I think it's always been a bit like this though, from fairy tales to barbie dolls, we women learn from a very young age that we are supposed to be pleasing to the opposite sex. It sounds like it's worse now, but the basic message is still the same.

    It is a basic human instinct to be desirable to the opposite sex. Every animal on the planet has it, and humans are no different.

    Gerhard Adam
    " It's like you're never too young to learn that as a womena, you're supposed to grow up to be an object"

    I would agree that the media and retailers profit from that perspective, but the worst offenders are women themselves.  All one has to do is look at women's magazines to see where that perspective is created and reinforced.  While the argument has often been made that men's magazines objectify women, it is important to note that women are not the target audience there, so regardless of how they're portrayed, that wouldn't be a source of "learning" for women.
    Mundus vult decipi
    It's true that women can truly be their own worst enemies. I think once you realize that advertisers are merely trying to prey upon your insecurities, you can develop a sort of immunity to all the BS (sorry I cannot come up with a more eloquent word for it!). When you realize what is being done, you tend not to fall for it anymore. It's very liberating to rise above it. Unfortunately, young girls are especially prone to low self-esteem and insecurity...advertisers know that very well and take full advantage. But women can help by reminding these girls of what's going on, and helping them to see that it's all just smoke and mirrors.

    Steve Davis
    Let's face up to the fact that this type of marketing was given legitimacy when we allowed governments and their economic advisers to tell us that the free operation of market forces is good for society.
    Steve....that is a fair observation that I certainly agree with...(believe it or not ;-)..)

    Indeed..... What an astute observation.

    What Steve said was utterly ridiculous, just like everything the Pygmy Rabbit has said before. But I must give the Pygmy Rabbit credit for not trying to spread the word of Communism.

    Thanks for the credit Mr. Copeland. But the only reason I can imagine for someone finding the comments you reference so "utterly ridiculous" is that they happen to be the head honcho of a company that specializes in making thongs for 'tweens - people who disagree would clearly be a threat to the bottom line.

    But that's fine Mr. Copeland, none of us here are offended that you think what we say is ridiculous. Everybody's entitled to their own opinion.

    And absolutely enough of my own ire against this.....it's time for me to focus on something I support, rather than be so negative! So this will be my last and final comment; I will un-check the "email me about all replies to this article" and I will not be coming back here. Arguing with Mr. Copeland has left me exhausted...Why waste my time? He has his very strong opinion, and I have mine. Mr. Copeland, you will never change how I feel about this and I do not care to change your opinion.

    PATRIA O MUERTE!!!!!!!!....I'm sorry, I couldn't resist, forgive me Mr. Copeland ;-)

    Steve Davis
    Well John, I guess not everybody can face that fact. But I do like your reasoning. On that basis about 90% of the Western world are communists after their recent experience with the wisdom of the market.
    Steve Davis
    Perry, you just ruined my day!
    Wow...I killed two birds with one stone!! funny stuff Steve.. ;-)

    Let's face up to the fact that this type of marketing was given legitimacy when we allowed governments and their economic advisers to tell us that the free operation of market forces is good for society.

    Free people will do foolish things, but consider the alternative. That would be some kind of theocracy or socialist police state. Screw that.

    Gerhard Adam
    "Free people will do foolish things, but consider the alternative. That would be some kind of theocracy or socialist police state"

    I'm assuming you also oppose the laws that regulate drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, driving, etc?
    Mundus vult decipi
    Why toss driving into that package deal? Anarchy is no good either, especially on the road. But the US experiment in alcohol Prohibition actually provoked anarchic gang-warfare, just like the current drug war is doing. And cigarettes are not evil.

    Gerhard Adam

    My point of including driving, is that it should ultimately be based on the judgement of the driver.  Why have laws against speeding when (if you were concerned about safety), then driving recklessly would cover the lot.  Whereas speeding acts as a sort "catch-all" so even if you aren't being unsafe, you may still be illegal.

    Alcohol prohibition certainly promoted the gang-warfare (just as drugs are now, as you've pointed out).  However, the point remains ... we either let people behave as foolishly as they like (consider drinking and driving), or we legislate.  If the latter, then you would need to define where the line exists, that suddenly creates the "theocracy or socialist police state". 

    We can't have it both ways.  Either legislation does good and promotes social order (in which case you'd need to explain why controlling the market results in bad things), or it does no good and there's no point in legislating the other types of behavior. 

    Even though people are fond of arguing that the absence of laws would result in anarchy, I have yet to see a single law that actually has promoted order.   Since the purpose of a law is only to describe the retribution that the state (or others) may exact from an individual when they violate it.  The only incentive to obey laws is fear of retribution. 

    So the question remains ... do individuals in a society have the right to determine what behaviors are appropriate to be a member of that society or don't they?  If they do, then markets are not exempt.

    Mundus vult decipi
    Individuals in a society don't have the right to determine other people's rights. Socially determined rights are not rights at all, they are permissions. The reach of law must be bounded by rights, but that still leaves much room to make valid and useful law. Law that controls the market is law that controls the behavior of particular individuals, so it also must be limited by rights.

    Also, laws promote order in at least two ways. First is the fear of retribution. Second is comprehending the reasoning behind the law. I obey the speed limits because traffic that moves at a uniform speed will have less accidents, and also to avoid being ticketed.

    Gerhard Adam
    "Individuals in a society don't have the right to determine other people's rights"

    Of course they do, where do you think the Bill of Rights originated from in the first place if it wasn't from individuals in a society?  The whole basis of the law is to determine what is a "right" versus what is controllable by society, therefore society must establish the boundaries across which it agrees it has no jurisdiction. 

    We can argue that there are certain "inalienable rights" but that is simply stating that we (as humans) recognize that there are some elements of our existence that are so fundamental we don't think it reasonable to impose our will on them.  Yet, we do it all the time, because living in a society requires that we no longer have absolutely freedom, so the only question that remains is the degree to which we are willing to compromise it.
    Mundus vult decipi
    You ask me where the Bill of Rights originated from in the first place if it wasn't from individuals in a society? I ask you, where do you think they got it from?

    Rights have been derived from God and the nature of man. But any attempt to derive rights from society is self-refuting relativism. If anything or nothing can be defined as a right if society wills it so, the idea of a right has no meaning. Rights are not permissions to act, they are freedoms to act.

    The Bill of Rights originated in a specific political theory derived from the political writings of John Locke and the common law tradition

    Gerhard Adam
    "Rights have been derived from God and the nature of man. But any attempt to derive rights from society is self-refuting relativism."

    Where are these rights defined?  Show me any indication that any group other than a society has ever even addressed the topic.  Even Jefferson admitted that they are merely assumed as axiomatic, but there was certainly no independent proof of such a thing. 

    Your problem in this regard is that any suggestion that humans have rights must invariably lead to anarchy since there can never be any situation in which someone else should have more say over one's life than the individual affected.  Yet, this is the basic nature of the social contract.
    Mundus vult decipi
    I don't want to try to settle the great debate over how rights are properly derived in this little space. But the social origins of rights can be refuted.

    The social contract assumes that the individual has rights, some of which he surrenders in whole or in part in exchange for the benefits of civil society. Even under social contract theory rights are not created by the society, but are delegated in a contract.

    And rights do not lead to anarchy, since in anarchy people may have rights but no one respects them. People join together precisely to better protect their rights. Rights lead to law and civil society.

    Gerhard Adam
    "Rights lead to law and civil society"

    ... and yet to raise such a point would be shocking to members of tribal societies who would never envision themselves without rights or without the companionship of a society. 

    Once again, this is a claim that doesn't have any real historical backing.  There have been many "successful" city-states over the centuries and you would be hard-pressed to demonstrate that their success hinged on any oncept of individual "rights".  You may not care for them, nor care to live in them (based on your own accident of when you were born), but that is simply a historical bias since we were not born during those times. 

    Even during the rise of the Nazi party, it would be foolish to suggest that a significant number of Germans weren't quite content with the state of affairs.  That isn't to say that many felt it was the wrong path, or that things would turn out badly, but rather that no group can retain power without the implicit support of the governed.
    Mundus vult decipi
    In a tribal society, every relationship to every person one meets or is likely to meet is predefined. Since there are no strangers, abstract standards of conduct toward strangers is an unnecessary idea. Law dates to the first cities. Hammurabi's Code would be an example here.

    Although it took centuries to develop the theory of individual rights, the primary issue it deals with was always present. People band together to prevent being robbed by others. In big enough crowd, they need laws so they don't rob from each other. This is a property rights issue which lurks implicity in every group of people even when it is not explicilty acknowledged as such. Property rights are individual human rights to control, use and dispose of material things, their own things.

    And then you ended the thread (Godwin's Law) by referring to the Nazis! Yes the germans voted away their property and lives but that just makes them stupid and immoral and is in no manner a refutation of rights, which is after all a normative doctrine.

    Gerhard Adam

    To your last point .... the germans were not "stupid and immoral", they simply did what the majority of people would do faced with a similar situation.  They allowed their sense of patriotism and national identity get them into a corner where they felt justified by their actions.  This is the nature of "following" any political leadership where majority rule is the standard by which decisions get made.

    Unfortunately you view the Nazi experience as an anamoly whereas I'm saying that it is entirely predictable and has happened before and will happen again because it is both in the nature of governments and the people that follow them.  As I said before, the primary objective is for people to identify with the groups they associate with; church, sports teams, schools, country, etc.  Depending on the importance assigned to each, will determine how they respond.  In the case of the Nazi's it was their nationality and country that was being exploited to justify the course of action the leadership would pursue.  It's exactly the same rationale that went into the Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay decisions (whether you agree with them or disagree, the mechanism of choice is the same). 

    I also find it curious that you would separate the tribal societies from the city-states in the way that you have.  While there is certainly more anonymity in the city-state  and consequently "risks", the rise of law was a direct function of centralizing the decision making powers from previous human relationships.  No one requires a central authority to control theft, but it is required when the "right of retribution" has been usurped and centralized.



    BTW, this isn't a matter of opinion, since it is clearly visible in virtually every species on the planet.  The concept of "property rights" isn't even an adaptation from the concept of "territories". 



    The development of the human city-state was a major revamping of the lines of power, whereas in a tribal society the individual retained their rights beyond those of voluntary cooperation, in the city-state their "rights" were parceled out by the central authority.  Therefore the concept of "rights" had to be invented for this new form of government, since it was presumed to exist in all prior forms of society. 



    Also, let me note that leadership is not the same thing as governing.  A leader can lead but not have coercive authority or power, while a government unequivocally requires both.

    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    "I obey the speed limits because traffic that moves at a uniform speed will have less accidents, and also to avoid being ticketed."

    Your first point has no basis in fact, since you're implying a relationship between a uniform speed and safety.  There is none.  In fact, a clear argument that could be made is that uniform speed would result in impossible traffic jams if actually implemented.

    In regards to your the first part of your post, my question remains .... what "rights" does the market have?  Secondly, why should a legal fiction, such as a corporation, be entitled to "rights"?   In addition, where are the rights of individuals to buy illegal drugs if they so choose?  Isn't that also a free market?
    Mundus vult decipi
    Only individuals have rights. The market has no rights apart from the individuals who comprise it. A corporation only has rights by delegation from the individuals who own, control, or are employed by them.

    Where is the right of the government to make certain drugs illegal? It took a whole constitutional amendment to outlaw alcohol, why not for heroin and crack?

    logicman
    Paul:  our economic and legal sytems have decreed that a body corporate is a legal person.  That makes a nice loophole wherein a real person sets up a corporation, draws in money, closes up, sets up the same corporation under a different name and continues milking Joe Public dry.

    The craziness in a system that gives such people more rights than the duties imposed is in a realm far beyond mere insanity.
    Gerhard Adam

    Sure .... and from that study comes:

    "Hauer claimed "the indiscriminate public crusade against speeding should be replaced by a balanced approach emphasizing the dangers of both fast and slow driving."

    You are confusing the issue of variance with uniform driving speed which is NEVER asserted in the paper.  Instead it indicates that large variations from the median speed will result in faster drivers coming into more frequent contact with slow drivers and thereby increasing the likelihood of an encounter that results in an accident. 

    Not exactly the same thing.

    Mundus vult decipi
    I rarely drive exactly at the speed limit. I try to keep close to it, and on the low side if there are cops around. I have been in traffic flows that were significantly above the posted limit, and I went with the flow. I do these things to aviod accidents. The cited paper gives statistical and theoretical evidence in agreement with my experience.

    Having made this point as well as it can be made, I will not pursue it any further.

    Gerhard Adam
    Once again, anecdotal evidence is not scientific.
    Mundus vult decipi
    logicman
    The Bill of Rights originated in a specific political theory derived from the political writings of John Locke and the common law tradition
    Which one are you referring to Paul, the US one or the UK one?

    Why do people talk of rights as if they exist independently of duties?

    I demand freedom of speech as a right.
    Why?  Because I consider it my duty to speak out when any individual or group seeks to cause harm to one or more people.
    In the absence of the right, I cannot perform my duty.  A society that wishes me to refrain from performance of my duty will strive to take away my right.

    They can take away my duty-right to freedom of speech when they cut out my cold, dead tongue.
    The US one, which derived from the UK one with modifications.

    And duties don't exist without a personal motivation act. I don't like the word duty, it leads to all kinds of dark places like obediance and conscription.

    Gerhard Adam
    I find it curious that you think "obedience" falls into one of those "dark places" and yet you ascribe to the rule of law. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    You caught me there, so I should explain further if I want to be understood.

    I don't obey the law out of a sense of duty, but because the law is sensible or I may be penalized.

    The thing about duty is, you can't ask it "why?" If you did and got an answer, it would be something reasonable and then it wouldn't be a duty, it would be a reason.

    Gerhard Adam
    While I understand what you're saying, it sounds alot like just parsing words based on your own belief system.  While a law may be "sensible" to you, there is no argument you can advance that caims it is objectively "sensible", so the problem remains.

    Simply because we're in agreement with a particular principle doesn't make it globally applicable, so if the law is to make sense it must make sense objectively and not simply because we as individuals may find it "sensible" for our particular viewpoint.

    Obedience to the law is something that we intrinsically honor, or the law has no meaning.  Obeying a law simply because it is our natural tendency to do that already doesn't make the law effective.  It is no great feat for someone that doesn't abuse drugs to live by the laws that make such drugs illegal.  So the question is, by what rationale does society (or the government) make the determination that an individual should not be allowed to act foolishly.

    My original point was that whatever justification you come up with can just as readily be applied to any other aspect of our society that we choose to regulate.  The only way out of it is to suggest that there are NO legitimate laws in which case the only solution is anarchy (not chaos or disorder, but simply the lack of a governing authority).  There are no fundamental rights beyond those we (as humans) choose to define.  Therefore we can invent whatever form of government we think serves our purposes the best. 

    This also means that there may be people that think a theocracy or socialist police state are exactly what they desire, so why should that be wrong?  It is the ultimate foolishness to believe that a democracy or a representative government are the only ways that a centralized authority can operate for its people.

    The truth is that people hate "freedom", because it scares them.  People want order above all else, which is precisely why so many are willing to give up their notions of "freedom" if they are assured of protection or safety.  It's a fool's bet, but the majority would take it in a minute.

    People like the illusion of freedom, much like the quaint notion of the "rugged individual" despite the fact that it is pure mythology.  Human beings are cooperative, societal animals that value the identify of the group to which they belong above all else.
    Mundus vult decipi
    logicman
    Paul: you seem to have missed my point.  My duty-right of freedom of speech is a right I demand from others because by imposing it on myself as a duty I protect them from harm.

    In modern society people keep demanding rights, not recognising that for every right they seize for themselves there is at least one back that must carry the burden.  Anyone who claims a right without a burden of responsibility, or duty, is parasitic on society.  It is precisely to curb the parasitic behaviour of an English king that William of Orange was invited to take the English crown - after signing a document accepting his duties as king.  Note carefully that he agreed to shoulder the burden of protecting his subject's liberties - it was only on that basis that he, at that time a foreigner, was granted his rights in English law.
    Whereas the late King James the Second by the Assistance of diverse
    evill Councellors Judges and Ministers imployed by him did endeavour to
    subvert and extirpate the Protestant Religion and the Lawes and
    Liberties of this Kingdome.
    ...
    to be sent to Parlyament to meete and sitt at Westminster upon the two
    and twentyeth day of January in this Yeare one thousand six hundred
    eighty and eight in order to such an Establishment as that their
    Religion Lawes and Liberties might not againe be in danger of being
    Subverted, Upon which Letters Elections haveing beene accordingly made.
    ...
    To which Demand of their Rights they are particularly encouraged by the
    Declaration of this Highnesse the Prince of Orange as being the onely
    meanes for obtaining a full Redresse and Remedy therein. Haveing
    therefore an intire Confidence That his said Highnesse the Prince of
    Orange will perfect the Deliverance soe farr advanced by him and will
    still preserve them from the Violation of their Rights which they have
    here asserted and from all other Attempts upon their Religion Rights
    and Liberties. The said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons
    assembled at Westminster doe Resolve That William and Mary Prince and
    Princesse of Orange be and be declared King and Queene of England
    France and Ireland and the Dominions thereunto belonging
    Full text here.
    @ arguments about waist evolution and what not
    body type attractiveness has changed drastically every couple of decades or so
    just look at the various evolution of corsets- flat and tiny to voluptuous with a tiny waist and pale
    then the 1920's flapper- slim small chested and tan
    then the athlete - muscular fit and trim
    then the heroin chic- anorexic
    etc etc

    Hmm ... suppose adult women showed enough maturity to resist the allure of butt floss, refused to buy magazines that portrayed them as sex-hungry man toys, and refused to have sex with men who bought into that BS. Suppose we ALL turn "Sex in the City" and "Desperate Housewives" off long enough to help our kids with their schoolwork or music lessons?

    In other words suppose that, instead of gasping at little-girl panties (what's next, a battery-operated "My Little Pony"?), we adults acted like adults and told Madison Avenue to shove it?

    I don't expect 8-12's to show much maturity ... I expect it to be imposed on them from adults who have some to spare.

    To the person who suggested that the morals of some other location be applied here, I offer this retort: that morality displayed elsewhere is the business of that place / time. We are not considering that place and time, we are considering America at the dawning of the 21st century ... so your arguments are entirely flushable.

    I knew there'd be trouble after we let them vote.

    I think that I would not care to live on the same street as you. I think that your closing argument is entirely speculative: specifically, while you claim that there is 'very good research' that our actions are primarily unconscious, you keep that research a secret.

    What are you smoking?

    "Moral explanations" are not the result of 'after the fact rationalizations', they are the result of pre-thought ... that is, determining ahead of time (not after the fact) what is and is not acceptable behavior. For your argument to hold water, each and every murder trial would have to begin with a determination of the morality / immorality of murder before proceeding to the questions of guilt and punishment. Because, except for the question of morality, there is nothing wrong with murder ... the Darwinists might even argue that it is evidence of "natural selection" in process. And no one would want to argue with a Darwinist, would they?

    No, morality is the result of previously established boundaries and not only Abercrombie & Fitch, but tons of other commercial interests have clearly stepped outside of those boundaries.

    Given that nearly every article of American clothing is made elsewhere, A & F have no real advantage over other retailers. And that means that I can make my purchase decision on some other basis than quality. A & F are counting on selling sex to 'tweens' and their fairly stupid parents. I hope that they aren't planning on selling anything at all to me.

    ...you obviously do not have any kids...especially a daughter. So low-brow and low expectation is the order of the day in your World? There is always unintended consequence as a result of shallow thinking and short term decisions. I am a firm believer that your cavalier comments will become a nice plate of crow for you one day...what is that "eubonic text"?? I bet you voted for Obama din ya...

    In modern society people keep demanding rights, not recognising that for every right they seize for themselves there is at least one back that must carry the burden. Anyone who claims a right without a burden of responsibility, or duty, is parasitic on society. It is precisely to curb the parasitic behaviour of an English king that William of Orange was invited to take the English crown - after signing a document accepting his duties as king. Note carefully that he agreed to shoulder the burden of protecting his subject's liberties - it was only on that basis that he, at that time a foreigner, was granted his rights in English law.

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