Every red-blooded male (and/or female for that matter), has checked out someone they consider ‘hot’, at some point. In fact, it’s almost a national hobby.
So is a 2-second stare ok, a passing glance, or a prolonged ‘check that out’? With all the #MeToo debate around this year, how men treat women has been a hot topic.
Men have been staring at women’s bodies since I can remember, and a long time before that. Women stare also, it’s just that men are more renowned for the practice. Throw in a ‘wolf whistle’ or two, and we’re starting to get into murky waters.
I remember the page 3 girl of the daily newspaper that my Dad used to buy when I was a kid. Every day there was a full-page, fresh-faced, bikini-clad woman staring back. That would never happen these days, because now we have the internet. It’s still there, it’s just more hidden, with much darker extremes.
Calendar girls on the toilet wall at one end of the spectrum, and the porn industry at the other, thrive on exploitation and voyeurism. Women being sexually objectified the world over, are now standing up to say enough is enough. And rightly so, but ….
This article is not about bashing men for staring at women.
No matter what I write here, nothing will change, nor am I trying to change anyone. Men and women will continue to stare at each other and lust after each other’s bodies for the rest of eternity, no judgement. This article is not about the taboo nature of staring at a woman’s body, whether clothed or naked.
From a young age, a little girl in western culture quickly learns that if she has above average looks, and all the curves in the right places as she grows up, she’ll be considered attractive. She’ll get noticed more, she’ll get certain opportunities, and whether she’s aware of it or not, she’ll learn to use that to her advantage. She’ll also be considered intimidating by both men and women.
Voyeurism is alive and well in our society, and with the internet at your fingertips, it’s lure is more powerful than ever, whether it’s on a screen, a stage, or walking down the street.
But if those being ‘watched’ are happy being watched, and getting well paid for it, who cares right? If no-one’s getting hurt, what’s the problem? My question is; what happens when for most of your life, you’ve been valued only for your appearance and the shape of your body. It becomes a psychological shadow.
I’ve heard some people come at this topic from the angle of, “if the woman being stared at was your own daughter, sister or god forbid, your Mum, would you still be happy for other men to look at her that way?” Great question. It kinda changes the perspective, but this is not about guilt trips.
Here’s what I think.
When you look at a woman ‘that way’, holding your gaze on her physical attributes with deliberate sexual intent, I’m suggesting that it undermines your own internal sense of how you value women in general. And it’s not even a conscious thought.
It also affects how you build relationships with women, because life is not a fantasy.
I’m not saying that it’s wrong to admire a beautiful woman or a great looking guy. We are human right? We have eyes right? We are sexual beings right? Beauty is beauty, and it’s not wrong to notice. Attraction is natural. Obsession is not.
So what am I saying here? Don’t notice each other! Nope! Not at all. But how can a man or women notice and admire physical beauty in another, without turning it into a private peep show inside your own head, without feeding the illusion of voyeuristic intent?
It’s been said that men are more visual and women are more emotional. I beg to disagree. I think men are more overt and perhaps crude with it, but I think women notice just as much. And as for emotions, men do feel just as strongly, but women in general, are more inclined to be aware, share and communicate.
The purpose of this article is not to say if you look at a woman, you’re a bad person. This isn’t about throwing stones in glass houses. All I’m saying here, is that the ways we look at each other affect the ways we treat each other and build relationships.
Being able to admire beauty, whilst valuing that person as a living, breathing human, for all that they represent in the world, not just a body, but a complete mind, body, emotions being—that is what I’m suggesting. How you do that is the challenge for you. But you can start now.
Change the way you look at women, and the women you look at change. What do you think?
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