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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Food for (muddled) thought from the flist: 
22nd-Jan-2009 11:08 pm
From liannesentar: A 22-year-old woman sells her virginity to pay for grad school. Yes, it's disgraceful. But ya know what? If somebody were willing to fork over $250,000 to me for a single night of humping (excuse the vulgarity), sign me up! Everyone has a price, and the more distressed and desperate you are, the lower it is. That's, by the way, why what she is doing is not feminist, nor is it an unproblematic choice. ADD: If your IP blocks the link above, I've put a full text of the article in the comments.

From kidfenris: Former video game news editor kills his wife, then kills himself. Okay, so the article suggests that he was beside himself over an impending divorce. Not to offend anyone who knew the guy or anything, but umm...the one I'm feeling mighty sorry for is the wife, who was nearly a decade younger than he. Also, this seems to feed into every stereotype on the books about socially-maladjusted male gamers whose games have conditioned them to behave violently. Good God. Not cool.

And on a lighter note, from overheardnyc: Yuppie Parenting Strikes Back!!! Edamame is green. And it comes in pods! Just like peas! Yes, I laughed.
23rd-Jan-2009 04:41 am (UTC)
Oh, thanks for the laugh regarding edamame.

I read the first story a few days ago and immediately thought of Memoir of a Geisha ...
23rd-Jan-2009 04:43 am (UTC)
I read the first story a few days ago and immediately thought of Memoir of a Geisha ...

Yeah, come to think of it, I think that book breezed through my mind as well. ^^;;
23rd-Jan-2009 05:49 am (UTC)
"his wife, who was nearly a decade younger than he"

Not that she isn't the true victim in this, but what does her age relative to his really have to do with it?

23rd-Jan-2009 06:05 am (UTC)
It's the difference of age between them and her youth. Generally speaking, the younger you are when you marry, the more likely your marriage is to end in divorce. Presumably something related to being young and stupid. Given how it ended for her, I think it's fair to say marrying him might not have been, on the balance, the best decision she ever made.

Also, the age difference does seem to suggest an even larger than usual power imbalance between them, and well, you may recall how I feel about domestic violence. She was younger than I am now when she was killed...and someone close to me once threatened me with exactly the same end (before ending up in a mental hospital for an extended stay).

So many things about that article made my gut churn. It's visceral reaction, not reasoned thought. That's why I put it under "muddled thought" in the subject line. So if you're taking offense, please don't.
23rd-Jan-2009 07:00 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm not offended. I'm just curious about your reasoning there.

And now I'm curious about another thing: do you think that an age difference in any married couple suggests a power imbalance, or is just for dysfunctional relationships?
23rd-Jan-2009 07:40 am (UTC)
What age difference means is case-by-case, of course, as far as I'm concerned. Ten year old vs. two year old? A big difference. 78 year old vs. 70 year old? Not so much.

In the case of the couple in question, well, they were both at very telling ages; even 43 and 35 would not have been so remarkable in the same tragic context. But I think 33 years old vs. 25 years old represents a lot of important difference in life experience, maturity, and conceivably options.

First of all, that difference could have been deadly. This sort of violence doesn't just happen out of the blue. It...blossoms over time. I lay odds she saw it coming in some form or another but either did not know enough to take things seriously or was afraid for too long to leave him because she didn't like what being alone would mean, possibly for the first time in her adult life. In either case, youth works against her.

Money could have been an issue as well on some level or another. Men make more than women on average, and people in their 30s make more than people in their 20s. I don't know their specific situation, obviously. If he was making more than she was, he could have used that as a hold on her; if he wasn't--especially if he lost his job in the recession or something--that also adds tremendous stress and volatility to the relationship if he was in any way hung up about "masculine" expectations.

Oh, and all the women in my life, young and old, agree that early 20s is too young to get married. They say it can lead to all sorts of problems later on. I defer to their wisdom in this.

So. Short conclusion to very long explanation: No, I do not think all age differences suggest a power imbalance in married couples. It all depends upon the context.
23rd-Jan-2009 06:32 pm (UTC) - Full Text of first article:
Some countries are apparently blocking the IP:

A Sacramento State grad is trying to make money the old fashioned way, by auctioning off her virginity to help pay for her graduate studies. And so far, bidding is up to $250,000.

The 22-year-old who is using the pseudonym Natalie Dylan for safety reasons is going through a legal brothel in Nevada to sell her virginity. "The main purpose of this is to finance a couple things in my life," Dylan told CBS13. "I think empowerment of women is picking yourself up and doing something on your own to better yourself."

Dylan says she's already taken a polygraph test to prove her virginal status, and is also willing to undergo a medical exam.

The auction will take place at the Bunny Ranch in Carson City, Nevada with bids coming in through their website. Owner Dennis Hof tells CBS13 that eBay rejected the auction, so he'll handle the entire process.

Hof says Dylan is a bright, beautiful young woman who's going to consider a number of factors in her decision because she wants her first time to be a positive experience. "Natalie is a very smart girl. All she wants to do is get her master's degree in family and marriage counseling and be a psychologist. She's selling her virginity to accomplish that," Hof told CBS13. "She's smart enough to sell it. This is empowering her."

So far, hundreds of offers have already come in including some from male virgins. Natalie says she won't give up her virginity to the highest bidder. She's also seeking other qualities from her first lover. "I'm looking for intelligence and an overall nice person," said Dylan.

Hof also says Natalie Dylan ended up in a financial bind, because her stepfather allegedly used her college status to fraudulently apply for student loans, and then ran off with the money.

Dylan earned her bachelor's degree in women's studies from Sacramento State and plans to get her master's at the school beginning in January.

Many Sac State students say they're shocked to hear about their former classmate's plan, while others applaud her.

"She's just giving it to some random person. And I just think she should be giving it to someone special she loves," said one student on campus.

While another felt that selling her virginity for grad school "is a noble reason to get money."

As for Natalie, after claiming to hold on to her virginity for 22 years (although the Bunny Ranch website claims she is 21-years-old), she says she has a commodity not many people have to sell.

"When I was younger, I wanted 100% romance, possibly even wait for marriage. But as I grew up, reality kinda hit. And I think its a capitalistic society and I want to capitalize on this," explained Dylan.
25th-Jan-2009 12:36 am (UTC)
When I read that she wanted to be a psychologist, I didn't know whether to (1) laugh, (2) feel offended, or (3) give her a high five.

Mixed feelings... but most of it is enveloped with disappointment/resignation.
25th-Jan-2009 12:39 am (UTC)
But did you notice how her picture accompanied the article? Now the entire world knows what she looks like. Might be a bit hard to have a career if you become recognized for this sort of thing. Or if someone outs you and then anybody can learn about it on Google.
25th-Jan-2009 10:59 pm (UTC)
It becomes a mess, too, when you think of the APA's ethical standards. What she did personally is up to her, but if such behavior should happen to leak into her professional life (e.g., a client in family therapy will say, "Hey, I know her, I saw her face! She sold her virginity!"), then it could damage the APA.

I have nothing to say about APA's prestige *cough cough* but her behavior could be construed in a very negative light in regards to her future work as a professional.

And yeah, I'd feel pretty awkward in school with her, since her face was posted for all and sundry. She might as well have used her real name instead of a 'fake name'. I found it to be a rather lame attempt at anonymity when she had herself posted mostly naked with some cloth over her, and her legs spread wide open...

Overall, I'm still just resigned to it all. Heh.
26th-Jan-2009 01:01 am (UTC)
Actually, interesting (curiosity) question: Could the APA somehow censure her for prostitution? Refuse her licensure or something?

As for the fakename, well, at least her past as a one-time prostitute won't be all over Google hits related to her real name...unless somebody outs her, that is, and then all bets are off. And it seems to me that the chance of being outed is tremendously high.
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