By Andrew Goldfinger, a retired physicist.
Yesterday, I ate in a small restaurant and sitting a few tables away was a young Muslim woman. She wore a loose fitting garment and a hijab. Her clothes were anything but frumpy. In fact, her dress was quite attractive. I did feel attraction, but it was not sexual. I felt that she looked like a nice and interesting person whom I would like to meet. Rather than feeling lust, I felt respect. I felt admiration for a person who had the confidence to relate to people as she truly was inside and not through cheap bodily display.
I am not a Muslim. In fact, I am an Orthodox Jew. I live in a subculture in which women dress attractively but do not go for flashy externals. It encourages respect of women rather than treatment of them as objects. Are we Orthodox men perfect? Are we immune from hormonal forces? Well, we are taught never to trust ourselves until the day of our death. Won’t you women join with and help us?
At the Golden Globe Award ceremony this past weekend, many of the celebrities dressed in black to protest the rampant sexual abuse of women. I applaud this effort to call attention to an often ignored travesty that has been with us for a long time. Women have pointed out that improper male behavior is not their fault, and they are obviously correct.
Does this mean that men are essentially wild animals? Yes it does. I should know, since I am one of them. For millennia, women have learned to dress to attract men. They know that the male of the species possesses primitive sexual desires that are quite easily aroused. Even at the Golden Globe Awards, the protesting women wore many gowns that, although black, showed off bodily parts that catch the male eye. As I sat down to my breakfast newspaper, my attention was easily drawn to the pictures.
Now, I have never knowingly abused or harassed any woman. Does this mean that I can be trusted? Of course not. Although past 70 in age, my glands still produce testosterone and I have to watch myself when around women. I dearly hope I continue to be successful in treating women respectfully, but I would like to ask them to please help me.
Shouldn’t a woman be free to dress as she pleases and not be constrained by male failings? Well, wouldn’t this be nice!
If you have ever traveled in bear country you will see warning signs about leaving food uncovered. Bears like food and do not respect humans’ property rights. If you make food available, they will act badly taking the food and threatening you if you stand in their way. Do any of us like this situation? Of course not. Why should I have to spend money on bear resistant containers just because I choose to picnic? Why should I be constrained because of a bunch of wild animals?
Well, I am constrained because they are wild animals; that is just the way it is. Until some biologist finds a way to spread around some new bear genes that make the ursines more civilized, I will have to live with the reality.
For millennia, women have had to deal with men. Now humans are of course far more responsible for their actions than bears. We can learn, think and control ourselves in ways that animals cannot. But men are also biological beings and subject to powerful instinctive forces. Oh, I know that it is not politically correct to talk about gender differences, but until some biological or social scientist changes the situation, we must live with the reality. Alluringly dressed women will attract lustful feelings from the male animal. If you think about it, that is just why alluring clothing is designed.