On Staring

So, like, last night I read this article ("Why Men Can't and Shouldn't Stop Staring at Women") so that I could read this response to it that showed up on my tumblr dashboard. I encourage you to read both, but basically the original article talks about how ladies are hot and it's natural for straight dudes to want to look at them, especially when they're out there on the street wearing such revealing clothes! And then the response says how actually ladies are people and don't just exist to be looked at.

And while, yes, I have issues with the article that mostly amount to what the response brings up (not quite, though, we discussed some of my thoughts on clothing here a long time ago), I also have this issue, which is that I am constantly checking out dudes. I know that this is supposedly different, because society, but when I'm doing a double take at some hottie on the street, it's not because I'm thinking, "Oh dearie me, what a manly man who is probably good at his job and intelligent and caring and also has issues and desires and agency separate from mine, all of which I am cognizant and respectful of because he is a human being!" What I'm thinking is more along the lines of, "Hot damn, that dude is attractive enough to bone."

Am I the only lady lech out there? Can we not agree that it's possible to compartmentalize the objectification of people you glance at and then never see again from the way that we treat/think of people who we actually know or at least interact with in a meaningful way?

Could I possibly just be a complete jackass?! If so, please explain where I'm going wrong on this! Seriously!


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  2. Nope, you're not a jackass. And yes, I'm a proud lady lech.

    I think you're absolutely right about compartmentalization, and I think this particular bit of the original article pretty much encapsulates how I look at people on the street:

    “But I look and gaze at all women in the street, whether they're beauties or not. They're all interesting. And different men gaze at different women.”

    Because people are interesting to look at, whether we want something or not. And especially if they're nicely shaped people.

    I think the issue with both of the articles' takes on staring is that they're so defensive. By positioning himself against "those crazy feminists" the author of the original article makes himself look like a douchebag, and OF COURSE prompts a response to his douchery which, quite rightly, suggests that staring is part of a larger social dynamic which may lead to sexual violence. If the author of the original article didn't feel the need to make himself and men all appear victimized, I'd hypothesize that the response wouldn't have been quite so harsh. In fact, the response might have dealt with ladies who lech, too.

    (That said, and obviously without a dude's perspective to back me up, I'd venture to say that it's much less common for lecherous ladies to act out their lechery in the same ways lecherous dudes do... can we be the poster children for responsible lechery?)

    1. Alison, you are amazing!

      I think you're right that a more measured approach in the original article would've gotten a more measured response. And I also totally agree about how interesting people are to look at. Obviously the ones I find attractive catch my eye best, but I also love seeing people walking dogs, couples enjoying each others' company, little kids running around with nerf guns, babies in strollers, etc.

      The Society for Responsible Lechery: Admiring from a respectful distance since 2012