Today, Slate published a neurotic 2000-word opus from male writer Andy Hinds: “I’m a stay-at-home dad. I’m a feminist. I have erotic thoughts about random women I pass on the street. How can I stop that?” As I read Hinds’s lustily imagined paean to penis, I struggled to overcome a powerful animal feeling within. Violence. Female violence. How can I stop my desire to rend limb from limb the innocent men featured in this article?
I’m a woman. I read Slate. I grew up on wacky explainers about race horses peeing. I play the Slate news quiz every Friday, and marvel at the scores of my favorite Slate writers. And yet, deep in the vaginal recesses of my female imagination, I fantasize about tearing Slate writer Andy Hinds limb from limb. Andy Hinds does not deserve to be torn limb from limb. He’s not a misogynist. He knows not what he does — but I, oh, I know exactly what I am doing. I am fantasizing about snapping Andy Hinds’s fingers, one by one. And I am indulging this fantasy in a very long article on the Internet, because my exhibitionist desire to parody Andy Hinds is greater than my respect for Andy Hinds.
If I had more respect for Andy Hinds, I might indulge my fantasy about punching him in the gut so hard that he doubles over in pain for a moment. And then I would think about something else, never openly discussing my fantasy, lest Andy Hinds be made to feel uncomfortable by the image I just planted into the minds of thousands of people, including the “neighbor’s nanny” and “the Valkyrie on the elliptical trainer” about whom Andy Hinds regularly produces “a never-ending porn movie” “in [his] subconscious.”
I would just shut up. I might indulge my fantasy a bit with my friends — just to blow off steam — but I would not use my guilt over wanting to punch Andy Hinds in the face as an excuse to indulge my face-punching fantasies. I would have enough self-awareness to stop myself.
I know it’s not Andy Hinds’s fault. He notes that he has two daughters, which is why he does not want to objectify the female kind to which they belong. And so here I must note that I love many people who have written crap on the Internet. I personally have written so much Internet crap! More and crappier than Andy Hinds, probably. Unfortunately, like Andy Hinds, I too am but a prisoner to my instincts, no matter how hypocritical or rude. The heart wants what the heart wants, and my heart wants violence. It also wants to roll its eyes and stick its tongue out while making a “na-na boo-boo” gesture, so, y’know, that too.
Andy Hinds asked “controversial feminist writer Hugo Schwyzer” for his opinion on “intrusive sexual thoughts.” Schwyzer offered an “‘affirm and redirect’ strategy”:
Sure, you want to lift this woman up onto the counter and put your hungry mouth on hers while she wraps her legs around you, but in fact, you’re just going to order your latté, smile politely and let it all be.
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
Sure, I may want to throw Andy Hinds and Hugo Schwyzer into a tank full of hungry sharks, but in fact I’m just going to write this blog post, smile patronizingly, and let it all be. Violent rage is the background music every time you read a troll-baiting article on the Internet. Learning to let it come and go without being ashamed is part of growing up. As for not “making it anyone else’s problem”? Hmmm, lemme get back to you after I write some more words, and invoke my two young children, who will definitely read this article someday, and learn that women are man-haters and men are pigs.
Violence is bad. Don’t act violently toward Andy Hinds. And don’t feel bad about being horny, Andy Hinds. It happens. Just keep it to yourself.