Sex sells. It’s practically axiomatic now — if you want to sell anything, sex it up. How do you do that? Well, obviously, in the advertisement world, by adding half-naked women, right? You know, since men — and heterosexual men only — are the only consumers worth targeting.
Except, NO, they’re not — heterosexual males make up at absolute best about 45% of the world’s population, which isn’t even a majority. So why the tacit approval, even (and especially) by certain feminists, of the current social norm wherein any “sexiness” brought into a conversation must de facto imply women slutting it up as sex objects? Why is it never about men bringing the sexy to the table? Why the gigantic backlash against the Skepchicks owning their sexuality and being sex-positive, as though they’re the only skeptics that have ever displayed any modicum of sex-positivity? Why the gigantic backlash against Boobquake, despite the surprisingly good data it yielded in disproving the Muslim cleric’s hypothesis that immodesty causes earthquakes?
The answer’s obvious — it’s because historically, with men in power and controlling all dialog about sex and sexuality, women owning their sexualilty and taking the role of gatekeeper of what’s acceptable and what’s not in displaying their own assets represents a major (some would say seismic!) shift in the balance of power. As long as men were controlling what’s morally acceptable, women are properly subjugated. It’s why the burka was invented, for FSM’s sake — just another tool of oppression, pushing blame for men’s lust onto women. That way, when you need to sell something, men who have historically had all the control over purchasing power are much more likely to buy something involving certain primal “I want that” triggers when you show them something else they want but whose supply is otherwise controlled, e.g. sexy women.
The whole issue revolves around controlling the stock of sexy women — that is to say, women who accept their sexuality and play it up because they want to, not because they feel they have to. To make it perfectly clear, sexy is entirely attitude. Just about any person on the planet can be sexy; if they have the right attitude, someone will find it attractive. (I promise that this is the case, no matter how hopeless you might think your particular case is.)
So why is it that the conversation about sexuality and skepticism is ENTIRELY about whether it’s appropriate for WOMEN to be sex-positive? It’s well possible to sex something up for the benefit of heterosexual women , too! (And gay men as an incidental, as opposed to primary, target, since society’s apparently unwilling at present to target gays yet.) Just look at the ur-skeptic Harry Houdini, as Stephanie Zvan did. (heh.) Or check out the Skepdudes calendar put out by those same debauched females that accidentally kicked off this present cycle of shitstorm by playing up their ability to throw a good party.
Sure, there are other ways of “selling” skepticism. Sex is just a small part of the arsenal — a way of getting people’s eyes on the subject to begin with. The fact that the skepticism we want to sell, actually provides a set of tools that teaches people how to cut through bullshit and winnow out the truth behind any claims, seems to me to be a dangerous fact to certain factions. A fact that’s hidden in general discussion, where “skeptic” is is often used derisively. But to throw sex out of the equation is ludicrous on its face; and in fact, wholly impossible in my estimation. The fact is, sex and skepticism go hand in hand because skepticism has a specific prerequisite that is tied heavily with sex. Skepticism, as a movement, requires human beings to be skeptical. Without human beings, there’s no need for skepticism. And human beings — deny this if you want — are so hung up about sex that it’s not even funny. Even the positive ones are hung up about it, because of the cultural norms that are drilled into all our heads. In being sex-positive, they are explicitly being counter-culture. Frankly, I’m tired of this situation.
If certain elements with vested interest in oppressing sexuality (I’m looking at you, religion! And you too, conservative politics!) would just fucking well let human beings be human beings once in a fucking while, we wouldn’t have near as much sexism, oppression, misinformation, or manipulation of the public collective consciousness by cynical advertisers. This world would be a much happier place if people would just let people be sexy when they want to be. And I’d have less to rant about. I’m sure that last one’s a goal you have high on your priorities, so let’s make it happen.