Leering. Ogling. Stare rape. The male gaze.
It’s rude to stare, it always has been. Being stared at makes one feel uncomfortable, no matter who they are.
Manners and rules of etiquette exist for a reason, it shows respect to avoid making others feel uncomfortable, and quite frankly, it makes ourselves feel more comfortable knowing how we are expected to behave.
But when a male stares at a female, it is treated quite differently. It is assumed that the male has lecherous thoughts, and in recent years that has been upgraded to malicious intent.
Now days, even a casual glance can result in a dirty look from a women, the idea that all men are potential rapists has taken root, and men are now in the awkward position of feeling as though they must avert their eyes lest their gaze be taken the wrong way.
Why I Look at Things
I am a motorcycle enthusiast. I like bikes; big bikes, little scooters, cruisers, sportbikes, trikes and sidecar rigs, I just have an affinity towards them.
Of course, I have preferences, I prefer vintage style “all-arounders”, or standard bikes. I like some cruisers, but most are not to my taste. I like some modern sport bikes, but again, most are not my preference.
When I’m at a big bike rally, I can spend hours just looking at all the motorcycles.
There are a lot of reasons I might be drawn to a particular bike.
Maybe it’s the paint job, or the chrome. Maybe it’s a rare bike, or something new to the market. Maybe the engine has interest, or the accessories are interesting.
Sometimes, I might be drawn to a custom chopper; I can appreciate its beauty, but I’d never have any interest in riding it.
I might see an old rustbucket that is just so darn ugly I can’t help but look at it at length.
But no matter how much you love or hate a bike, when the owner catches you checking it out, you always must say the same thing:
“Nice ride, man!”
Now make no mistake about it, we know that half the time it’s not true. I may think my Moto Guzzi is the hottest thing on two wheels, but I know that to a sportbike enthusiast, they see limited horsepower. And to a Harley Davidson rider, well, it’s simply not a Harley.
But we say it anyway, because it’s good social etiquette. You may know full well that it’s not true, but it’s comforting to hear it.
One thing I’ve never found myself thinking, no matter how much I liked a bike I’ve seen is:
“Damn, I wanna take that for a joyride… I’d ride that bikes brains out”
Why I sometimes look at women
Like things, there are an infinite number of reasons why I might look at a person.
Perhaps I like their haircut, The sweater they are wearing might remind me of my grandmother, I might notice something wrong, like mismatched socks and wonder what might have led to that error.
Maybe I look at a person because they look attractive, or maybe I find them unattractive. Again, I have my preferences.
I might look at someone with a particular style and recognize that they nailed that style… it doesn’t mean that I am attracted to that style, but I can still appreciate the fact that they’ve gotten the look down pat.
For example, there is a trend among some women to dress like a heavily tattooed Betty Paige. It’s a good look, and some women carry it off it perfectly.
However, it’s not a look that I find attractive; I appreciate it for what it is, and I even think it’s cool, but like Harley Davidsons, it’s not my preference.
The assumption that many have today is that any time a man looks at a woman, he is looking with lustful intent.
Women who are proponents the ‘Stare Rape’ arguments will tell us that they can tell the difference. They claim women know the difference between an innocent look and a lustful, malicious gaze.
But can they?
the original kuleshov expiriment.mov
Well… no. As the Kuleshov Experiment demonstrates… an experiment that has been recreated dozens of times, by the way, people cannot determine a persons thoughts effectively just by looking at them.
We will naturally follow the eyeline, see what they are looking at, and project thoughts upon them.
“If I were looking at that ham sandwich, I’d be looking at it hungrily… therefore that vegetarian must be thinking about eating that ham sandwich”
I assume we can all see the problem with that scenario.
No, we project a little bit about our own thoughts onto others in these situations.
So, what does it say about someone who assumes that every male who looks her way is sexually attracted to her?
Well, it says she’s vain, doesn’t it?
But why wouldn’t many young women assume that all men find them attractive, women have been told things like “men are only interested in one thing“, “men will sleep with anything”… basically that men are perpetually horny and have no standards, no preferences, and are basically slaves to their primal urges.
Of course, none of that is true. Men have plenty of interests that do not involve women whatsoever.
Men value “time with the guys”. And women know it.
So next time you find yourself assuming a man was looking at you in a lustful manner, ask yourself this:
“Do I have spinach in my teeth?”