Attention Men: It's OK to Think Dirty Thoughts About Women

What Women Really Think
May 31 2013 11:41 AM

How to Be Sexual Without Being a Creep

sidewalk
Don't look don't look don't look don't look don't look don't look don't look don't ah crap.

Photo by Phase4Photography/Shutterstock

Feminist writers and thinkers, including right here at Slate, have spent thousands of hours and untold numbers of words trying to debunk the myth that respecting women means hating sex—that our objections to sexual objectification and sexual harassment are about the objectification/harassment part and not the sex part. We love sex, we tirelessly explain, pointing to our support for reproductive rights and our excitement over the proliferation of feminist sex stores and erotica. Lust is great, we repeatedly exclaim, as long as women are not reduced to sex/breeding objects, that women's subjective experiences matter, and that consent is respected for sexual interactions, from flirting to intercourse (and beyond). 

Amanda Marcotte Amanda Marcotte

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.

And then Andy Hinds comes along, claiming to be a feminist, and says, Nah, feminism is really about policing men's thoughts and scrubbing them clean of anything resembling sexual desire. 

Advertisement

Hinds' piece, written for Slate, takes it as a given that male lust is inherently disrespectful to women, apparently because Hinds himself cannot see women as anything but vaginas on legs. Actual feminist men see vaginas on legs and heads on shoulders.

Andy: It's OK to strip people naked in your imagination, as long as you respect their right to not know that's what you're doing. This is accomplished by not gawking, ogling, and drooling, but rather learning to be discreet. Nearly all women and a healthy percentage of men manage to do this every day.

But the only option Hinds sees to stop reducing women to sex objects is to not see them at all: "Instead of undressing them with my eyes, I’m cloaking them in imaginary burqas," he writes, testing out one possible cure for his “affliction.” Those paragons of feminism, the Taliban, would be so proud. Unsurprisingly, this mental exercise of erasing women completely results in said women losing all individuality to him:

It’s a little strange and sad to me that, when I try to think of the women I’ve interacted with over the past 12 hours, I can’t really pull up any distinct images, as I would normally do with ease. For someone with an eye for detail, it’s unsettling to not remember what a person I saw so recently was wearing. This technique of essentially ignoring women’s physical presence may not be sustainable, and it may not be desirable.

No, Andy, it's not desirable to hide women away when you need a break from getting off. And telling women the only options are to be gawked at like we're still photos in a porn magazine or not seen at all is a lot of things, but "feminist" is not one of them.

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.