What’s moral? What’s immoral? What is right and what is wrong? I have come across several situations in which I have had to question what morality really is and what’s right and wrong. Here are some of those scenarios.

‘To Catch a Predator’ is a show hosted by Chris Hansen where his team catches ‘possible child sexual abusers’. The method they use to catch these ‘pedophiles’ is that they enter online public chat rooms posing to be thirteen year old girls. They start a sexually explicit conversation with some random guy, usually in his 30’s or 40’s. By the end of the conversation the ‘girl’ invites the guy to her place with promises of sleeping with him. When the guy gets to the girl’s house, Chris Hansen starts talking with him and presents him on national television as pervert and eventually gets him arrested.

Here’s the way I look at this whole thing. A man was looking for sex, someone offered it to him and he accepted. That happens in our society all the time. Is the thirteen year old really a victim? Its not like the man took advantage of her, she is the one who offered the man sex; so why is the old guy being represented as a pervert? Would this have been a problem if two thirteen year olds had sex? It’s relatively common in European countries for girls to loose their virginity at age thirteen. No one has a problem with the fact that they are having sex outside marriage; their ages seem to be the problem. Had the girl been three years older, it would have been considered legal. What standard are we using to determine what age is it at which it is moral for one to have sex. One would argue that at thirteen the girl is not capable of understanding the consequences of sex. Even if that is true, I still don’t think the guy should be humiliated on national television and represented as a pedophile. It’s just like arresting a guy on the charges of ‘potential rapist’ because he hooked up with a girl he met at the bar.

I was reading an anthropologists account of child prostitution in Thailand. After interviewing several child prostitutes he made an interesting discovery. The perception we have of child prostitutes is different than what they have of themselves. For us child prostitution is something immoral, it is the exploitation of young girls and is degrading to them. However, these girls don’t view themselves the way everyone else does. They consider themselves as girls who work hard in order to support their family. They don’t consider their job demeaning, wrong or immoral. Who’s to say prostitution is wrong? I was watching an interview of porn star Jenna Jameson and I heard a similar account from her. She doesn’t consider her self to be a prostitute, even though she sells her body in order to make money. She considers herself to be a business woman. So who is to say what she is doing is immoral? When a guy takes unfair advantage of a girl at club or something, he is the one who gets labeled as a jerk and what not. What about the girl who was throwing herself out there to begin with? If a girl goes to some party, is grinding with some guy and is getting drunk; then the guy will obviously take advantage of the opportunity and will try to take it a step further. Is the girl not at fault too? I am not saying what the guy does is right, but I am saying that he shouldn’t be the one getting all the bad press.

I guess what I am asking by giving all these examples is, what standard are we using to determine morality? A big chunk of what goes on in today’s society would be considered immoral a hundred years ago. So how is it that we determine our rights and wrongs? My philosophy professor suggested a method. He said that anything that is bad for a human or anything which causes a human to suffer should be wrong. If we use that criterion then we would loose many of our moral values. Rape, murder, theft and a few more would be the only things that would be wrong if were to use my Prof’s suggestion. In that case there would be nothing wrong with things such as prostitution, adultery, fornication, pornography, gambling etc; as long as they’re done in moderation that is. I don’t know, I think religion is the solution. It should be used as the standard for determining morality. One would say, well there are so many religions…which one should you go with and which one’s right? I guess that is personal decision one has to make.

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