Stay-at-Home Dad Combats Sexual Fantasies By Putting Women in "Imaginary Burqas"

Comments

1
But on the plus side, it means he can now be a commenter at Shakesville.
2
Only a complete idiot writes about his sexual fantasies under his real name.
3
Call me a traditionalist, but I like to think about baseball, or dead presidents.
4
I was skimming an old New Yorker the other day - Surowicki reviewing good old David Stockman's latest half-truth screed. Surowicki used a word to describe the book which I really like because it captures the moralisizing asceticism in our "Puritan" social DNA beautifally: Jeremiad.

Americans are perpetually obsessed with excess - excess of even self-denial. Everything must be extrapolated to it's absurdist extreme before we are satisfied with it's purity. Left and right subscribe to this silliness, even when it's clear that the "good" of a thing is only true if that thing is there in moderation.

What an idiot this guy is. I'm sorry his attractions and temptations torment him so. Much better to learn to co-exist happily and comfortably alongside them.

Oh, and yeah, what @2 said. Never even use a pseudonym someone might uncover or recognize.
5
Neat! I'm going to imagine myself in a burqa right now! Aww...it's not working, I'm still ogling my self in the mirror :(
6
I was initially amused and then kind of ... disgusted? by this article. Can there be no middle ground between graphic sex scenes and burqas? Seems to me like just two different ways of reducing women to their fleshy parts. Feminism fail.
7
I am a reject. I have not experienced the joy of romance or love and the amount of sex that I've had throughout my life could be classified as "negligible." Sexual/romantic fantasies for me aren't enjoyable, they're depressing because they're unfulfilled. They only serve as distractions, really unwelcome ones, I wish I could suppress them. I don't creep, I don't leer, I don't ogle, I don't stalk, I'm just a harmless lonely dude. So I totally understand where this guy is coming from, I wish that I had his mental discipline.
8
Hinds, not Hines.
10
He lost me at "affront du jour." What @6 said - feminism fail, indeed.
11
Yeah, he comes across as a complete idiot. I'm a husband, father, and feminist. And I look at women and want to have sex with them. I occasionally fantasize about them. And as long as I don't A. Attempt to go through with that desire, and B. Don't expect them to be obligated to go through with my fantasies and C. Don't treat them as though that's all they're worth, who gives a fuck?
12
I appreciate his sentiment (except for the burqa thing, why doesn't he imagine them wearing a potato sack?) but good lord, is he going too far.
13
After reading it again I suspect it has to be a joke. There's no way this is serious, is there? Is someone his age, and a purported 'feminist', so hung about female sexuality that he thinks the only way to deal with his sexual attraction to them is to pretend they're not sexual at all?
14
You nailed it, @6: "Seems to me like just two different ways of reducing women to their fleshy parts. Feminism fail."
15
This is the curse of all writers: they exist in a fantasy realm where people are interested in every random thought passing through their heads.

The secret to good writing isn't about being smart or expressing yourself well. It's about keeping the stupid-shit-best-kept-inside-your-own-head to actually-interesting-stuff ratio to a minimum.
16
@9: Yeah, that should have been a more nuanced statement. What I meant was to call out the fact that some people who have unhealthy desires—pedophilia, bestiality, so on—might find even the idea of having a fantasy about their desires to be a painful experience.
17
So he's a fucking creepizoid and going from wild creepy extreme to another. Neither side is good.
18
I, um. Yeah, wow. This guy has pretty much entirely missed the point.

This sort of overcorrecting dopiness is pretty common in well-meaning young guys when they have their first epiphany about how they ought to treat women - I certainly had my ostentatiously chivalrous phase - but come on, Hines. You're a grown-ass man. You're supposed to be a little more... mature and nuanced than this.

It's especially troublesome since the overcompensation kind of trips him right over the edge and back down into some bad, objectifying territory (@6, ZING!), but the real problem is denying his own - and by extension, to some degree, men's - agency. I mean, man, come on. What happens in your imagination is your own business, as long as you continue to treat people with dignity.

Your penis isn't self-guided, dude.
19
Did unbrainwashed get banninated?
20
Oh fucking hell, dude. Get over yourself.

You had the answer right here, halfway down the article:

Lust is the background music that occasionally gets turned up. Learning to let it come and go without being ashamed—and without making it anyone else's problem—is part of growing up.

Done! That's really it. But then you go and shit all over it with this nonsense:

I decided to kick it up a notch and see what kind of wisdom I could glean from the sexual addiction community.

That's like saying "hey, maybe I should cut back on the weed a little, so let's go talk to a bunch of heroin addicts and see what insight they have to offer me."
21
I dont care if a guy looks at my boobs on the street or in a store. I do care if he does it indiscreetly in an effort to make sure I know he is looking at my boobs. I do care if he touches my boobs or lays a hand on me at all.

He should probably talk to some actual women about the gradiations of bad look/neutral look/good look, the predeceasors of bad touch/ neutral touch/good touch.

22
I'm not sure how seriously to take this piece but there is certainly a wide swath of American feminism seriously afflicted with the brain disease of puritanism and perhaps this guy believes that they are the ones that define what feminism is.

That he allegedly tries to imagine women he is attracted to shrouded in burkhas might give pause to the cranks for whom oggling is 'sexual violence' (or pretty much everything is sexual violence). Some of their views are not all that out of sync with those of the Taliban.
23
OK, ladies, help me out here. You aren't asking for men to not notice that you are attractive, you just expect us to behave like respectful adults and not cat call and whistle and grab and pass you over for promotion, etc. right?

I guess I don't understand what is going to happen if this guy doesn't toss an imaginary burka on these ladies. Is he going to molest them? Is he going to just stare unblinkingly at their tempting bits? Has he no self control?
24
When I was in middle school the sexual harassment videos took this tack. Messed me up when it came to having sexual interest in others for quite some time.
25
To me, this is a problem with letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

I think that if this guy realizes that women are varied, doesn't leer, grab, or anything else crazy like that then he is ok. If you accept that a brief glance at a woman that is your type and an appreciative thought is the "cost of doing business" then it won't get out of control. If you obsess over any thought that thought will control you. If you don't believe me, don't think of a blue pony. See?

I know in my case it is a glance and in my head, "Damn spring is awesome." And that's it. No torment, no problem.
26
It was only a matter of time before the left adopted and mainstreamed the rightwing's fetishization of sexual guilt. Only with now our sex guilt has the distinct self-righteous flavor of a progressive crusade to justify it.

Congratulations, American Leftwing. The Puritans win again!
27
I feel like this guy is saying, "This is what you want! Now no one's happy!"
28
Wait, wait...
...I don't think he is trying to curb his lustfullness because otherwise he might offend a woman or do harm to her by leering.

He's saying that his attraction to women is often an unwanted distraction to important tasks. He finds he is better able to focus on the task at hand if, in his mind's eye, he can dress a woman in a burka.

The imaginary burka for him is akin to the bit of yarn someone else might tie around their finger. Or, how some might imagine the attractive colleague as a family member... Or, whatever device we choose to quiet animal urges while working on other matters.

Now, why does he use an imaginary burka?
I dunno. It works for him.

29
I agree with #6 also, feminism fail, and I am feeling grossed out by the idea of a guy putting me in a burqua with his eyes, far, far more so than by the idea of a guy undressing me with his eyes, because he is not just lusting after me, he is shaming me for his lust (and expecting praise for it, it seems.)

He is ashamed of his own sexual feelings, and projecting the responsibility for those feelings on to the woman, ie. "if only she were in a burqua, I wouldn't be compelled to feel this way; so let me put her in a burqua in my mind" --> sense of control regained.

30
Oh shit, I hadn't even noticed the "sex addiction" thing. Hey ding-dong, sex addiction is a fucking myth celebrities use to run damage control on their affairs. The mental health community doesn't even recognize it.
31
"I grew up with big sisters and a mom whose authority was unbreachable."

He's not scared of female sexuality, he's scared of women. My most psychologically fucked-up acquaintance is a guy who had three older sisters, and it didn't work out well for him at all. Worry about provoking my mom made me overly shy about approaching women for years.

Get over it, dude. Yes, don't grope, don't cat-call, don't pester, don't leer, don't wheel around to check out a butt after someone passes you. If you want to take a brief, appreciative glance, choose your moment and try not to get caught. But don't imagine that you're going to be scalded if your eyes flicker once.
32
Oh, yeah: and keep your eyes on the road. Whole different matter!
33
I think it's telling that he went with "imaginary burqus" and not an imaginary penile chastity device. If you're imagining things - why put her in a sack when you can make yourself a Ken doll?

Not just telling, sort of the whole story.
34
the irony is those who should worry (be aware) dont and we are left with the "guilt" for their actions. the whole mentality of "Bro-tality"
35
Am I the only one who finds the burqua extremely sexy?
Only the eyes visible...so much left to the imagination
36
Unless this guy left out a lot of respectful conversations with the women he's fantasizing about, he didn't obtain their consent to be his imaginary sexual playthings. Normalizing this lack of consent in his routine interactions with women reinforces rape culture. Given the level of sexual assault in our society, we'd all be better off if more men like Hines spoke up about their struggles to be decent.
37
@36 I'm going to assume this is satire.
38
This is along the lines of one of the most formative debates of my young life, which was essentially trying to answer the question:
"Is being sexually attracted to women inseparable with or equivalent to objectifying women?" I debated this with a very psychologically strange roommate who believed (or at least argued, asshole loved debating for the sake of debate) that the answer was yes. Debate-roommates logic was (with no caveats or nuance):
1: "A man wants to have sex with women"
2: "To have sex with a woman he needs a woman to have sex with him"
3: "Therefore women are objects to that man"
That conversation significantly damaged my ability to reconcile feminism and heterosexuality.

Anyway, subsequent questions include(d):
- "Can you be a heterosexual man and not be a woman-objectifier if you never act on your attractions (aka celibacy) or at least always wait for women to make the first move?"
and
- "As man, is acting on heterosexual attraction to women in any way INTRINSICALLY objectifying? Is a man hitting on a woman equivalent to him objectifying her just because he wants to sleep with her, regardless of if he's doing it at an appropriate place and time and is being respectful?"

This is the first time I've written/talked about this since and I'd love to hear the thoughts of Slog's feminists.
39
@37, I'm going to assume it's the kind of self-gratifying, echo-chamber "social justice" that makes tumblr a laughingstock, but hope it's satire.
40
@ 35, yes.
41
wait wheeling around to check out butt isn't legit? they're looking the other way!
42
Paul, you never fail to not surprise me.
43
@33 That just means he isn't a masochist in that particular way.
44
@38 "OH MY GOD YOU GUYS ENTITIES CAN HAVE MORE THAN ONE CHARACTERISTIC" *sound of dumb roommate's head exploding*

Which is to say that you can treat a person like a person while also objectifying their sexuality when in the appropriate context and that's fine.

Seriously, though, what kind of weird essentialist Platonism drives the rationale that you can't both respect women and want to have sex with them? That's even worse than labeling and categorizing: it's attempting to reduce everything and everyone to single labels. I mean, this is the information age. If a blog post can have ten different tags, why can't a person?

(And just as a nitpick it also sounds like your dumb sophist roommate was trading a bit on ambiguity between related but distinct definitions of "object.")
45
@37, 39: This guy is doing what he can to combat the sense of entitlement that too many men have towards women's bodies. Ridiculing him doesn't help.
46
@45 I was ridiculing you.
47
@45, no; he may be attempting to, but he's not combating anything. He's reinforcing the idea that men have no control over their reactions to women's bodies and must therefore somehow attempt to censor their own perceptions lest they be irresistibly driven to harassment or worse. This is, you will note, exactly the same attitude that underlies the mandating of actual burqas.

And I was also ridiculing you.
48
There's nothing wrong with objectification. The only problem is that it's not equal.
49
Wow, there is a dude out there that is an even bigger sniveling pussy than Paul Constant.
50
@38 Think of it this way: why do you find a woman attractive? If you can admire a woman for her mind, personality, skills, hobbies, strengths, as well as her body, then you're not objectifying her. Sure, you fuck her body, and she fucks yours, but you both know & appreciate the whole person.

As others have said, at times it is fine to sort of ignore everything but the sexy parts. The problem is when we only (or always) do this to women (eg @48) thus implying women's main value is between their legs. Or in their skinny thighs or whatever. Note that the churches who focus almost exclusively on women's reproductive organs are doing the exact same thing.
51
@47: Hines is not saying men have no control over their reactions. He is trying to exercise that control, and for that he should be encouraged.
52
Geezuz…I'm still battling the baggage I inherited from my fundamentalist religious upbringing. Let's not layer leftist nonsense guilt into the mix too.
53
I wonder if the commenters actually read the article. The writer actually felt bad about his ogling and was trying to find ways to curb himself. With that in mind, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and took his mission seriously.

So, my problem is that the one solution he didn't consider was putting himself in the shoes of the women he's ogling. It was all about him -- he didn't even begin to think about what the women he ogles might be wanting or thinking.

I mean, really -- if you are just an ordinary woman, doing your job, or walking home from work, put yourself in her place and think about who she is as a person and how she might feel being leered at with no provocation. Have some empathy. Is that really so fucking difficult for men to do?
54
Louie CK commented on this much better
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGgS5GVCZ…
55
@45: He's a MRA caricature of feminism, he's not ACTUALLY doing this, he's trolling for pagehits or because he loves negative attention.
56
@53…I'm certain you are safe from the groping eyes of men.
57
@38: balderdash already nailed it with this:

Seriously, though, what kind of weird essentialist Platonism drives the rationale that you can't both respect women and want to have sex with them?

And in fact, your roommate's argument was pretty objectifying in and of itself. Consider that there's a whole other side of his chain of logic and it begins like this:

1. A woman wants to have sex with a man.

Really, how feminist is it to pretend that women don't have desires of our own? I for one would be a very sad heterosexual woman if men everywhere felt they had to "respect" me right into a state of lifelong chastity. I mean, come on.
58
I guarantee this man and his wife have terrible sex. "I'm ready to make physical love to you if that's ok. Please call the police if at any time my tiny penis hurts you."
59
@48 - A-effing-men! I suspect lots of women secretly objectify the hell out of beefcake. It was kind of a pleasant relief to catch my SO ogling the shit out of a relatively hunky guy doing a shirtless workout (crunches) on the DC mall a couple of weeks ago. I'd probably catch her at it more if I wasn't so busy checking out all the random hot butt walking around myself.
60
@57: Seriously, if this was trotted out "2: To have sex with a woman he needs a woman to have sex with him 3: Therefore women are objects to that man" and it still remains in his brain, unquestioned, undigested, him and all his amazing debate partners need to actually talk with a woman at some point versus crowning themselves the winners of logic for all time.
61
@58: More like "I'm sick of treating you like a sex object. Now get out of my sight and cover your whoreishness up so I will not treat you like a sex object."

I'm sure the SLAA members are giving him the dysfunctional answers that he wants to hear, of course.
62
@38

A man wants to have sex with a toaster.
To have sex with a toaster, a man needs a toaster to have sex with him.
Therefore, toasters are objects to this man.

Your room mate was conflating a person, with her own agency, with an object which has none. Logic fail.
63
@62: It's astounding, not that someone would spout such crap, but that someone else might nod their idiot head at such an unassailable "logic".
64
@63, how many men who worry that feminism is "going too far" are talking about the feminism they made up in their heads after half a semester of Women's Studies 101 and half of a joint.
65
Dear Men:

You realize that we are ogling and objectifying you too, right? And what we're thinking about would likely make you blush.

Sincerely,
Women
66
@65: These douchers don't really know what it's like to be sexually harassed or have any conception of the street "hollaback"isms so that'd be more likely to elicit a "hurr hurr I wish I got objectified hurr" response.
67
Straight men are weird.
68
@64- I think most men (and other people) who think feminism is "going to far" are thinking of what some Fox News commentator's college roommate's girlfriend said once.
69
56- And I'm certain that you are too ugly to attract anyone, too.

Actually, I have no way of knowing that, just as you have no way of knowing what the poster at 53 looks like. I only said that to be nasty, just as you only said what you said to be nasty. That one I am sure of, because there is no way that your comment was not meant to be nasty.
I don't agree with all of 53's comment, because there's a difference between 'ogling' and 'leering' versus 'looking appreciatively', but to dismiss the entire comment with 'not something you have to worry about because you're too ugly to be ogled/leered at' is pure ad hominem and misses the point entirely. You are assessing women purely on how well they match up to current ideas of female beauty with no regard for any other aspect, and are therefore part of the problem being discussed.
I would say that you are a prime example of Why We Hate Men, but most of us have a much higher opinion of men's capacity than that. Instead, you are a small child who has yet to learn how to interact with other humans. I hope you grow up soon.
70
The imaginary burqa approach to distracting oneself from certain facets of nature strikes me as an approach similar to what many young Catholic priests might have taken. Godspeed to Hinds on his attempt to emulate the unblemished record of sexual control demonstrated by Catholic priests.
71
This reads like one of those sad yet absurdly funny inner life descriptions of a fucked-up character in a Jonathan Franzen novel.
72
@70: I'll give the priests the benefit of the doubt in that some of them are sincerely interested in screwing their lives up in the interest of the "greater good". This guy's just passively-aggressively raging against feminists in his head. "SEE? ARE YOU HAPPY? NOW MY SEX OBJECTS HAVE CLOTHES AND I'M TOTALLY NOT THINKING ABOUT FUCKING THEM (much)."
73
@71 - Indeed!