We tend to worry about the effect of the hook-up culture on girls.

But maybe we should be worrying just as much about the effects of our vulgar culture on young men.

Susan Goldberg has a good piece on the topless women who walk around Times Square, asking if you want to pose for a picture with them for a fee (no!).  What do you say to your son about this phenomenon?

First off, there are people who are very much in favor of topless women parading around Times Square, even seeing this as a "social movement" rather than exploitation of of women. It's a horrible scene, but for Ms. Goldberg it offers a way to talk some sense to her son:

These women and their supporters are not only turning women into objects, they’ve made themselves an object lesson for my son. Along with teaching him that you don’t pay a woman to look at her breasts, he’ll be learning that women should value their breasts (and their bodies in general) at a higher price than a spare dollar bill. Men, too, for that matter.

My son will be learning about concepts like false accusations and how wrongful convictions impact your chances when it comes to both higher education and employment opportunities. These women will teach him how a casual attitude toward sex can lead to having to go door to door telling your new neighbors you’re a sex offender thanks to this thing called a “permanent record.”

Speaking of permanent, these women and their pimps will be used to warn my son of the bodily damage that can be inflicted via a beating delivered in a back alley by a pimp with a bad attitude. In short, these women will exemplify to my son how being in the wrong place at the wrong time can ruin your life.

I've met a few prostitutes in my time. One I interviewed for a picture spread on a part of Washington where the oldest profession flourished. She had a young son who was often in the next room when she transacted business. Sad scene.

There was also the time I was catching a cab to Union Station for the 6:15 am to New York. The taxi picked up a young girl, early twenties, in black tights. She asked me to guess her profession. I guessed easily. She seemed innocent more than anything else, aware of the risks she took most nights, but somehow still innocent to care what her parents might say if they knew. The topless ladies of Times Square may not (yet) be engaged in outright prostitution, but let's call it an allied line of work.

This phenomenon is not about strong women thumbing their noses at bourgeois values and doing what they damned well please, no matter what some feminists will argue, but about women who are being cheated and society doesn't even bother to care that it is unfair.