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Morality of visiting Strip Clubs

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Maybe oogling refers to a very specific type of looking at a person

It does; (look it up). I am operating under the definition of: looking with intent to indulge (satisfy, encourage, etc) in sexual lust.

So, then I guess it reduces to...

Exactly what AequalsA said. If by "okay," you mean neither moral nor immoral.

If my man went back home with this "lustful energies" he would have no home to return to very quickly. I would not stand someone who, not only has a cheap sexuality, but also wishes to announce that my value is the same as a piece of meat by using me to "get off" from getting all excited about strippers. I mean, this is just so damn disgusting!

Thank you. It's about time someone said it.

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IAm Metaphysical already wrote about this, but I wish to repeat: While there is such thing as "purely physical beauty", for a man who realizes the significance of morality, who is in love with the heroic, with good traits, it would be impossible to seperate a beautiful body from a heroic soul: For example: I really admire the female body, but suppose I knew that some woman who has a pretty body is investing all her time into having it, and she feels like this is her only source of worth, and she becomes insecure without getting that attention to her body, then all of a sudden she would become so ugly to me, that I would actually try to look aside whenever I see her passing by, to prevent myself from puking. And usually I realy love looking at women with a beautiful body: The reason is that it immediately connects in my subconscious to a heroine.
Well, there's no such thing as physical beauty divorced from the values of the evaluator, but I think there is one aspect of physical beauty divorced from the values held by the beautiful person. This is the aspect as related to harmony, texture, etc., and taken alone, it's usually insufficient for a person to be attractive.

There is a second aspect of beauty that goes beyond that: e.g. a certain look in the eye, a certain lift of the head. This second type reflects the values held by the beautiful person. I have two observations on this second type: firstly, they reflect what one might call "sense of life" values rather than deeper philosophical values. Secondly, some of them can be faked. So, when I look at a model and see a look of self-confidence or a look of a fun-loving person or whatever, then my reaction is based on that evaluation (i.e. the physical look is being translated into "self-confident" or "fun loving" etc.).

This type evaluation is very narrow; it does not tell me anything more about the person. As you say, in your example, if I knew more about the person, I might change my opinion. However, that's true of many other evaluations of people. For instance, I might an admire a businessman for some aspect -- his drive and energy, his rational approach to his business -- and then I discover that there are aspects to his personality and behavior that are reprehensible. Of course the new information changes my evaluation of him as a person, However, the fact remains that if I did not know the bad stuff, I would admire the aspects I know of.

Since this thread is about strip clubs, we know that we have little more information than just saying "a woman". AequalsA mentioned not being attracted to someone who's obviously being paid to pretend to flirt with him. I suppose one could make an argument as follows: the fact that she is a stripper already tells you enough negative about her unspoken values, so that one would not find her attractive. It is not an argument I'd make in the general case, but it's one I can understand.

However, how can one extend that, as Inspector does, to a beautiful stranger on the street? If I see a beautiful stranger, my evaluation is based on the "harmony" and "sense of life" evaluations I spoke of, and nothing more. Within this context, the sight of a beautiful woman is a value to me. This is not a hedonistic value, but a genuine, objective value to a heterosexual male. Of course one does not gape (oogle?) because this is a real person, not a painting or a statue.

As for Inspector's terms, "prurient" and "lustful", I don't understand the referents. Does it mean that it's okay to evaluate a woman's beauty like I would evaluate a child's look, a man's handsomeness or a building's lines, with the detachment that a photographer might feel, which has nothing to do with the fact that she is a woman and I'm a man?

Again, since this thread is about strippers, I can understand many of the objections raised in that context. However, I don't see how one can extrapolate this to a model, a painting, a statue, or a woman on the street, (i.e., where one knows nothing negative about the person).

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Does it mean that it's okay to evaluate a woman's beauty like I would evaluate a child's look, a man's handsomeness or a building's lines, with the detachment that a photographer might feel, which has nothing to do with the fact that she is a woman and I'm a man?

Yes, I think you have a handle on what I mean there. The dynamic changes because you're no longer interested in what she has to offer, qua woman.

Here is a quote I've found to be very insightful:

Because as you start to find the first one that really attracted you, you would get completely involved with them and until and unless there was trouble with them, your relationship to everybody else would be like a closed book: you could nod at them, and find them attractive, but you’d never get to the point where you’re in love with them.

This it a good description of what level of reaction/acknowledgement we're talking about here. He could say, "Yes, that woman is attractive." But it's academic for him at that point; he's just not interested.

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This it a good description of what level of reaction/acknowledgement we're talking about here. He could say, "Yes, that woman is attractive." But it's academic for him at that point; he's just not interested.

I don't think it is academic any more than looking at, say, a good piece of art is academic. I think seeing beauty in any shape or form will bring up an emotional response in a normal person because beauty is a value to them, and I think it can reinforce one's sense of life positively in a similar way other works of art can.

I think I'm going off-topic, though, because this is probably not very relevant for strip clubs. Perhaps there's a better place to discuss this more general issue?

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The problem I'm having at the moment is that I don't think the two are distinctly different things, really. Perhaps it would be a good idea to move this to the debate forum and discuss it at length there? Normally these topics that have to do with sex get out of hand so quickly that it's almost impossible to have a productive discussion about it, and I think it will help to do it in a more regulated environment where there's just a few people posting?

I don't as of yet have a crystallized position on this issue, but I really want to get a more detailed understanding of what exactly the Objectivist position is on this topic, and whether or not my own differs from that. If anyone is interested in discussing the topic again in a way that I think will be much more productive, let me know and I'll start a topic on it in the debate forum.

And if we discuss every aspect of it in one place we could even refer people to that topic later on, that is a lot more efficient than having, say, 25 topics that all cover like one aspect of the issue and overlap with other topics about it, because I don't think anyone can make sense out of that.

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Maarten, I agree that a separate thread might make sense. However, rather than discussing "every aspect of it in one place", I think we should do just the opposite: focus the discussion on as a narrow context as makes sense.

For instance, this thread is about strip-clubs and about relationships. It would be simpler to tackle the question: is it wrong for a guy who is not in a relationship to occasionally visit strip clubs? I think that the simpler the example the better. If one concludes, "No, he should not", then one does not even have to consider the whole issue of relationships, monogamy, etc. On the other hand, if one concludes that he may, then one can start to consider how and why a relationship changes the situation.

Note, also, in my formulation, I used the word "occasionally". One can always make a case that someone who is obsessed with visiting strip clubs to the extent that he does not spend the time and energy on trying to find a relationship is being irrational. So, one must narrow the example down further.

As I noted in my previous post, the strip-club example is one where a guy could be making judgements about the women for their choice of career. So, a simpler example would take that out of the equation.

So, if you start a new thread, I suggest to limit it to an example that you can clearly and strongly defend. Then, start introducing other variables.

I do think the idea of a place to which we can point future posters is a good one, on this and a few other topics. However, I think the best way to do that is a thread which briefly summarizes the examples, the arguments and the counter-arguments, from simple to more complex, and provides links to other, more detailed, threads.

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Finally, some interesting stuff to respond to.

Well, there's no such thing as physical beauty divorced from the values of the evaluator, but I think there is one aspect of physical beauty divorced from the values held by the beautiful person. This is the aspect as related to harmony, texture, etc., and taken alone, it's usually insufficient for a person to be attractive.

I did not say that this sort of physical beauty does not exist: I just said that I believe that subconsciously, that beauty is attached to one's concept of the ideal: not just physically but mentally as well.

When I see a beautiful woman it also causes me to think that she is proud, confident, happy, etc'.

Think of statues of a beautiful body: They never just represent a good looking body: they always represent some spiritual perfection or heroism.

I claim that the same exists with a beautiful stranger which one has no knowledge of: even though you do not know this person you project your concept of the ideal on them.

So to summarize: I did not say that physical beauty (a sense of harmony, combination of shape and color and similar things) does not exist: it exists for human beings just like some things in nature are beautiful (like a sunset, rainbow...). But I said that when one* looks at a human being it is impossible to get pleasure from physical beauty alone: The pleasure comes from projecting one's ideal on a beautiful body: This is also why, once you get to know that person, and dislike their character, you can no longer derive pleasure from their beautiful body.

*"One" in this case has to be someone who views human beings as more than just animals with physical characteristics. If one views human beings as animals, then there would be no problem deriving pleasure from a beautiful body regardless of the mind.

There is a second aspect of beauty that goes beyond that: e.g. a certain look in the eye, a certain lift of the head. This second type reflects the values held by the beautiful person. I have two observations on this second type: firstly, they reflect what one might call "sense of life" values rather than deeper philosophical values.

...

This type evaluation is very narrow; it does not tell me anything more about the person

Wow.. hold it just a minute... Why do you say that one's "sense of life" is not a reflection of their deep philosophical values?

Maybe it would be good if you explained what you mean by "sense of life", because to me it does seem like a reflection of "deep values".

As you say, in your example, if I knew more about the person, I might change my opinion. However, that's true of many other evaluations of people. For instance, I might an admire a businessman for some aspect -- his drive and energy, his rational approach to his business -- and then I discover that there are aspects to his personality and behavior that are reprehensible. Of course the new information changes my evaluation of him as a person, However, the fact remains that if I did not know the bad stuff, I would admire the aspects I know of.

And I also think that subconsciously, in the aspects that you do not have knowledge of, you would fill that knowledge with your ideal image, which is connected conceptually to those aspects that you admire in him. Consciously, there would be a question mark in those areas of him which you do not know, but I think that subconsciously, you would have an image of the ideal productive man.

What do you think?

I suppose one could make an argument as follows: the fact that she is a stripper already tells you enough negative about her unspoken values, so that one would not find her attractive. It is not an argument I'd make in the general case, but it's one I can understand.

I wouldn't make it a principle as well. I think it is possible to be a stripper and be moral (if her job is primarily about dancing and not about causing arousal, or in other extreme circumstances like needing a lot of money really bad).

Again, since this thread is about strippers, I can understand many of the objections raised in that context. However, I don't see how one can extrapolate this to a model, a painting, a statue, or a woman on the street, (i.e., where one knows nothing negative about the person).

I'm not following you here.

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I don't think there is anything at all wrong with being a stripper. I find it hard to imagine a job that pays good looking women with little or no education better. I don't see anything wrong with getting payed to entertain or arouse customers with your physical beuaty. I also strongly suspect that the best paid strippers are paid so well because of their personality and charm in addition to their physical assets.

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Maarten, I agree that a separate thread might make sense. However, rather than discussing "every aspect of it in one place", I think we should do just the opposite: focus the discussion on as a narrow context as makes sense.

Well, it's just that I have found that disagreements on these topics are likely to be disagreements on a very fundamental level, and I think that is the reason why so few of these topics are resolved. If everyone agreed on the same principles then I doubt these topics would go on for such a long time. That's why I think it could be very useful to discuss the nature of sexual attraction, because I think ultimately that is where most of the disagreements stem from. Discussing a particular case isn't very helpful in determining where the real issue lies, I think.

I think I will make a topic later today, and I'll see if anyone is interested in a more general discussion of the subject, and whether that can be productive (I don't think there's been very man tries of that). If it doesn't seem to work out we can always go back to another specific topic.

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I don't think there is anything at all wrong with being a stripper. I find it hard to imagine a job that pays good looking women with little or no education better. I don't see anything wrong with getting payed to entertain or arouse customers with your physical beuaty. I also strongly suspect that the best paid strippers are paid so well because of their personality and charm in addition to their physical assets.

Do you find anything wrong with being a prostitute? If so, what is the difference?

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Finally, some interesting stuff to respond to.
Hey! I aim to please :)
I did not say that this sort of physical beauty does not exist: I just said that I believe that subconsciously, that beauty is attached to one's concept of the ideal: not just physically but mentally as well.
Fair enough, we agree then. The evaluation of beauty is always 100% mental, and much of that evaluation is a set of conclusions about the mental make-up of the person being evaluated.

So, yes, in a sense I agree that "...it is impossible to get pleasure from physical beauty alone: The pleasure comes from projecting one's ideal on a beautiful body". However, what most people mean is that: they get pleasure when the person's physical beauty is the only external observation they are making, without knowing any more about the person. So, it is possible to get pleasure from the observation of another person's physical beauty alone (where "alone" refers the the fact that one is observing nothing else, even though one is doing a lot of sub-conscious processing on that observation).

I'm not following you here.
I said that in response to Inspector's suggestion that there's something wrong with looking, with "lust", at a complete stranger, as opposed to the stripper (where one knows her occupation). What I mean is this: I can understand if the knowledge of her profession undercuts one's evaluation of her; however, one cannot use that reasoning if the person is a complete stranger.

Wow.. hold it just a minute... Why do you say that one's "sense of life" is not a reflection of their deep philosophical values?
Okay, "deep" is very vague, so let me try to rephrase it. What one sees is a projection of the person's real (or put-on) psychology, not a projection of their philosophy. The two are not unrelated, but they're different.

I'm no expert, but I would assume a stripper can project positive psychological values. So, if one considers the case of a person who is not in a romantic relationship, why would the observation of such a projection not be equivalent to, say, seeing a heroine in a movie, reading about her in a book, and so on?

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I said that in response to Inspector's suggestion that there's something wrong with looking, with "lust", at a complete stranger, as opposed to the stripper (where one knows her occupation). What I mean is this: I can understand if the knowledge of her profession undercuts one's evaluation of her; however, one cannot use that reasoning if the person is a complete stranger.

If you're a single guy, then that would just be a harmless fantasy. Assuming that you kept it in the realm of fantasy.

Do you find anything wrong with being a prostitute? If so, what is the difference?

Yes, exactly. Strippers are just prostitutes who don't go all the way. (Although some of them do)

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Do you find anything wrong with being a prostitute? If so, what is the difference?

I don't think there is anything intrinsically wrong with being a prostitute. Thanks to prohibition, it is often associated with crime, but that is a fault of law, not with practice itself.

I think it could be done in a healthy and enjoyable way for all parties. That doesn't mean I think everyone, or even many people would enjoy it, but that doesn't mean there aren't any people who could.

The Penn and Teller episode about prostitution changed how I thought about the issue for the better. It showed a woman who seemed happy and energetic helping her long term stable customers much like a therapist.

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The Penn and Teller episode about prostitution changed how I thought about the issue for the better. It showed a woman who seemed happy and energetic helping her long term stable customers much like a therapist.

(bold mine)

I have seen people who go to evangelical church 5 times a week and it seems to make them happy. This is not the same as something being in a person's actual best interests. There are circumstances I can imagine where prostitution would be in an individual's best interest, but those circumstances are fairly extreme, verging on lifeboat scenarios.

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Note: I don't buy the, beautiful talented bodies as pieces of art, idea. If that was truly the case, the ballet or cirque du suleil are far, far superior and usually less expensive.

Oh, heavens, yes, ballet is far superior than strip clubs - I made no comment to contradict that at all. I guess I don't think that people who go to strip clubs as a novelty, as something different and interesting are necessarily immoral by any means. Then again, I'm speaking just for myself - I know that I have gone as an interest of curiousity (I've actually only gone twice) and not as a means to shore up my self-esteem by paying someone to like me in order to feel good about myself.

I am just not threatened or bothered by someone going to a strip club as a rule. Then again, I know my fiancee's reasons inside and out and I trust him and know what kind of person he is so it doesn't make me think less of him. Just a personal thing, I guess.

On a light note, as far as the ballet being less expensive, not in my town - the ballet tickets are upwards of $45 and that doesn't include dinner, which one usually has beforehand, or new shoes and dress (being a girl I love to have a reason to purchase new, gorgeous clothes). The strip club is $10 to get in, $2 for a coke and a few bucks for the dancing chicks. ;)

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(bold mine)

I have seen people who go to evangelical church 5 times a week and it seems to make them happy. This is not the same as something being in a person's actual best interests. There are circumstances I can imagine where prostitution would be in an individual's best interest, but those circumstances are fairly extreme, verging on lifeboat scenarios.

Certainly no one can tell if someone is genuinely happy from just seeing a short TV show. Furthermore, the current illegality of the profession is a strong point against it.

However, if it was legalized, and if it still payed as much as it curtrently can; I think it would be a choice worth considering for many perfectly normal people. For example, would you prefer to enlist in the army, and be paid $20,000 a year (Just making the figure up, though I know it isn't much.) Or would you rather be a prostitute, and work hours of your choosing and be paid 3-5 times that amount? It seems like that would have an appeal for a lot of people to me.

As for myself, if you are asking, I certainly don't have the looks, charm, or personality to make it a viable consideration.

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On a light note, as far as the ballet being less expensive, not in my town - the ballet tickets are upwards of $45 and that doesn't include dinner, which one usually has beforehand, or new shoes and dress (being a girl I love to have a reason to purchase new, gorgeous clothes). The strip club is $10 to get in, $2 for a coke and a few bucks for the dancing chicks. ;)

LOL...I realize you can get by on the cheap at a strip club, but I've known guys that go in there and spend hundreds before the night is through.

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Certainly no one can tell if someone is genuinely happy from just seeing a short TV show. Furthermore, the current illegality of the profession is a strong point against it.

However, if it was legalized, and if it still payed as much as it curtrently can; I think it would be a choice worth considering for many perfectly normal people. For example, would you prefer to enlist in the army, and be paid $20,000 a year (Just making the figure up, though I know it isn't much.) Or would you rather be a prostitute, and work hours of your choosing and be paid 3-5 times that amount? It seems like that would have an appeal for a lot of people to me.

As for myself, if you are asking, I certainly don't have the looks, charm, or personality to make it a viable consideration.

In all probability, your career choices in life are more then prostitution or being shot at. But this is why I said, I can imagine a circumstance where it would be a good decision (fantine from les mis' comes to mind) But general, I do not think it to be of benefit to a person's life.

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In all probability, your career choices in life are more then prostitution or being shot at. But this is why I said, I can imagine a circumstance where it would be a good decision (fantine from les mis' comes to mind) But general, I do not think it to be of benefit to a person's life.

Anyone who thinks that sex is the least bit sacred would be utterly disgusted by the idea of working as a prostitute.

Scott, have you read anything about what Objectivism has to say on the subject of sex? I'd at least have a look at that before posting up your personal views on it, which are not exactly compatable. At least have a look around the forum...

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Anyone who thinks that sex is the least bit sacred would be utterly disgusted by the idea of working as a prostitute.

I agree, inspector. I only meant that there are circumstances where it might be the right thing in that it preserves a higher value. If Kira had to sleep with a doctor to get treatment for leo, maybe. Such circumstances are rare but could exist, especially under a government more corrupt then are own.

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I agree, inspector. I only meant that there are circumstances where it might be the right thing in that it preserves a higher value. If Kira had to sleep with a doctor to get treatment for leo, maybe. Such circumstances are rare but could exist, especially under a government more corrupt then are own.

Oh, sorry. I didn't mean to imply I was disagreeing with you. I don't; I was just adding to what you had said.

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