Monday, June 25, 2007

Why porcine pitchmen are not kosher

Blogger Jill Stanek has harsh words for about the rejected men-as-pigs condom commercial.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation Web site's synopsis of the commercial (video of which is on Jill's site), it "features women at a bar surrounded by pigs. When one pig goes to the restroom and returns with a condom purchased at a vending machine, he is transformed into an attractive man. The end of the commercial carries the message: 'Evolve: Use a condom every time.'"

The refusal of Fox and CBS to run the commercial was seen by abortion advocates such as Kaiser as reflecting the networks' pro-family biases against contraception. Stanek disagrees (and so, I might add, might anyone who's seen the numerous pro-contraception shows on those networks).

"The ad is simply in poor taste," Stanek writes. "A man exploiting a woman in a bar to be his unpaid hooker is a pig with or without a condom in his pocket."

One could take her "unpaid hooker" line as Ann Coulter-style hyperbole. Certainly, it's meant to shock. But it raises a point that I've wondered about ever since I first heard the definition of prostitution.

What, exactly, distinguishes a man or woman who has casual sex with someone for recreation, from one who does so for money?

It's an important question because, taken from the ultra-liberal or libertarian side, it could be taken as an argument in favor of legalizing prostitution. After all, if casual sex is transactional in every aspect save for actual money changing hands, why penalize those who do it for money?

Personally, I have a hard time distinguishing between the concept of having sex with someone because he will give one the boost one wants, and having sex with someone because he will give one's wallet the boost one wants. Both involve exploitation by mutual consent.

I believe that sex can be nonexploitational only when it is not the foundation of the relationship. Otherwise, in the wisdom of my grandparents, pigs is pigs.