I'm impressed by the readers who have finished the Realdoll documentary movie, and I'm a bit embarrassed by not having finished it myself. This weekend was my birthday, and I have needed to avoid hangover/headache inducing activites, so the rest of the video will have to wait a bit longer before being finished.
And I forgot about the two-handed broadsword.
Some people have mentioned the question as to whether the people in the video are either less or more of a threat to women now that they spend their free time acting out sex crimes on an inanimate object. Do Realdolls keep them locked up voluntary in their house (de facto prison), or is it just practice for the real thing? Would it be ethical to give Ed Gein a Realdoll, or would the Realdoll just make him an even more energetic (and efficient) monster?
Luckily an economist from Clemson University wrote an interesting paper about this with porn. It has that weird air of autistic thought that economist get (the kind that defines porn as a non-rivalrous, non-excludable public good with potential positive externalities), that I love but can be very off-putting. He looked at reports of rape incidents and correlates them against % access to the internet by time in communities after controlling for all the usual suspects of variables. Here's the abstract:
The arrival of the internet caused a large decline in both the pecuniary and non-pecuniary costs of accessing pornography. Using state-level panel data from 1998-2003, I find that the arrival of the internet was associated with a reduction in rape incidence. However, growth in internet usage had no apparent effect on other crimes. … These results, which suggest that pornography and rape are substitutes, are in contrast with most previous literature.
I love natural experiments in economics, and this is a pretty good one. The study finds a 10 percent increase in Net access yields about a 7.3 percent decrease in reported rapes. The normal problems that you have with statistical studies of this sort are all accounted for – and the results are glaring in the data. It may also explain part of why teenage births have decreased since the mid-90s. (It doesn't handle long-vs-short term issues of watching porn, and if you see porn itself as analogous to rape, there is another critique to be had.)
For what it is worth, and the author himself positions himself against this view quickly, but what the hell (It's 1:30pm and I'm still hungover): whenever we have goods with these qualities we tend to think the government should be in the business of helping to provide them (markets underallocate them). And other substitute goods for criminal goods are applauded in society (afterschool programs as a substitute against gang recruitment, for instance). I suggested to someone (they were naturally horrified) that $5K of our tax dollars for a realdoll purchase voucher, in exchange for a voluntary registration as a sex offender (and maybe one of those lowjack monitor ankle things) is significantly better deal that what it "costs" if he acts otherwise. I don't think any politicians are going to run on that platform though (A Chicken in Every Pot! A Realdoll in Every Closet!), though it would be kind of neat.