Thursday, March 23, 2006

Raunch is Good

I find this column hilarious --and make some economics senses, too. Let me tell you why --by quoting what the author wrote in it.

#1."What if a woman spends hours in the gym to create a body she is proud of? Is that a waste of time, time she should have spent in a university library? No."

In economics term, if, for this chick, marginal utility of the former --to become, err, sexy-- exceeds the latter --to end up being, well, nerd; so what? Go for the former, stupid

#2."Look at lads' mags from a different perspective and you see that what's being exploited are men's sexual responses, to give money to women"

Yes, market clearing, efficiency, Pareto optimality, and, everybody's happy.

#"Why is labouring to look like Pamela Anderson empowering?". Reply: "For younger women, raunch is not about feminism, it's just about fashion."

You're too serious. Nothing's politics --or morality-- here. Look at #1, and you know, it's merely about making choice --individual choice.

I know, by now, some of you may want to kick my arse already, but make no mistake, I am not saying that I, using economics tools, set a value judgement that raunch is good --well, a title should be eye-catching, no?--. In fact, I can make otherwise case based on the very same tools --by including social norms into my utility function, for instance .

What I am trying to say is that economics can help to tell how one makes rational choice --to be raunchy or to be conservative. But not whether it is bad or good.


  1. Hmm.. we need to explore the externality caused by women's choice to exercise (and to be sexy).

    Some men (including me) feel better off if surrounded with lean, healthy and well shape women (with intellectually, compassion, passion for life etc :->)

    Then men's willingness to pay (from magazine to dinner, according to budget & courage constraints), is just a reveal preference for consumption of intangible (become tangible if lead to marriage) goods.

    Since ranking girls (there's always Miss Universe) is a favourite pastime activities of some men, then the preference set relation is transitive and complete (for them).

    So it is a two stage game with women chooses whether to exercise in the first and men decision to act (according to budget & courage) in the second.

    If women know men's preference (aren't we obvious), they could conduct a backward induction analysis and reap higher payoff.

  2. berly, two notes, first: externality. What sort of (negative)externalities do you have in mind? Second, backward induction analysis. Man, life --and youthness-- is too short for that :-)

  3. oh you economists! it was a fun,daring article written by a young (?) feminist who wants to criticize her seniors for 'taking it too hard.' if she only knew that her article has sparked off discussions on utility and externality!

    oh and Berly what kind of a dirty word is that 'backward induction analysis'? can you please explain this to this rather blind and perplexed economist?

  4. hey, wil anyone of you write on beckam or clooney after some woman masturbate seeing them in full suit and looking good?


  5. dear female anonymous, you're surely a great woman; that is, you must be a ... man! wait a sec, you're a bad man.. because you write "will" "wil" and "beckham" "beckam"...

  6. anonymous 1, well, can't agree more with anonymous 2 :-) I don't mean to be sexist --I am not--. But I just can't represent, or pretend to understand, woman's view on Beckham or Clooney --be it barely naked or in full suit (both has its own utility, by the way, for woman). And anything she does with it (to maximize her utility), including the one that you mentioned, is surely her full-right :-)

  7. oh Puspa... will you ever get it? it's another of rizal's covered champaign... obviously, there's a raunch girl he needs to woo... Secara rizal gitu (sorry guys, can't help the bahasa)

    as for female anonymous, pleaseeeee... we do not need the economic of beckham or clooney... will be the same thing applied to raunch guy... you either a bad man as aco claimed or a very old woman (beckham and clooney are soooo last year!!!)

  8. dhani, no, no. I am innocent. It's not an attempt to woo a raunchy girl. It's for a sophisticated sexy lady :-). Halah!(read: gotcha!)

  9. bwahahahaha....rizal, rizal *geleng2*...
    btw, who was the one who pointed out that rizal is in a state of excess supply of gombal? was it you, Dhani?

    Speaking of gombalism and flattery, I would also add to the Kate Turner article : it's totally OK for girls to be flattered, even if guys on the streets are commenting on your body parts (im saying this cos one of my good friends, a feminist nonetheless, used to get very upset about this)

    "my, my....girls like you should be in Hollywood! or you could be with me! or we could do both??"

    now, who couldn't help but smile in reacting to those kinds of statements?

  10. Puspa, it's the other way around. I'm in the state of excess DEMAND for 'gombal' (read: sugarcoated words) :-). Yet, it's a small wonder because, in fact, I am also a lousy suppliers for that sugarcoated words too :-)

  11. puspa, i'm not the one who stated that rizal is in excess supply of flatteries... however, i find myself not disagreeing with that statement (hey aco, thanks for the "don't disagree" term. like the idea) rizal is indeed full of sugarcoated words...

    and rizal, how can you say you lack of flatteries coming to you? come on... haven't you got enough?

    man, i've hangin' around too much at the cafe... can't help it... good services, nice "coffee" and ehm... handsome hosts...

  12. dHani, according to puspa, over YM, she said it is my way to reveal my market (sugarcoated words) value :-)

    And you said 'handsome hosts' in plural term. That's new :-).