Why do men stare?! Can someone please explain?!
Help me understand....
I know there are fundamental biological and psychological differences between women and men. I get that. But I am hoping to get some insight on a debate my boyfriend and I have been having about men and the way they stare at women. This issue has come up between us many times. I get stared at by men. Not looked at, stared at. I am not some hideous monster with ooze dripping from my jowls (no, I do not have jowls), in case you were thinking that may be the cause of the stares. I am merely attractive and fairly well dressed. I am not touting my attractiveness or being boastful, I have had this phenomenon confirmed by more than one observer. So, what is the issue?
My boyfriend insists that this is simply an evolutionary instinct, something men do because they are prone to look for mates (he also notes that women do it just as often as men). But I cannot help but feel there is a fundamental difference in the ways women and men check each other out; that excusing this behavior based on gender is an excuse. It seems to me that men are more open about these looks; they allow themselves to look longer, and feel less inclined to hide such behavior. But why?! It makes me so angry when a man is walking with his significant other (wife, girlfriend, whatever) and takes the time to stare at me or some other woman. Isn't this disrespectful?
I understand social conventions and norms for genders; I have studied gender issues for 8 years. What I do not understand is WHY. Why do men feel this is ok? I do not feel that I welcome such looks, or that I am seeking such attention.
When I dress for work, it is not with men in mind. When I wear heels, it is primarily to be taller (so they have to look up to me, yes I know this is an issue). I do not choose my clothes in hopes of having men undress me with their eyes. I understand that social norms and conventions are set for a purpose-that what is considered attractive dress for women is based on an ideal that is meant to be sexually attractive. But, is it really too much to expect the urge to stare to be knocked down to a need to glance instead? I mean, we do not urinate in the street when we have to pee; social conventions have prevented that. So why does this persist?
Perhaps it bothers me most when it is extreme. Like when my father has to ask the man at the car dealership if he has never seen a girl before. Or when I have to explain to my niece and daughter why that man walked by and said "um-mm-mm" to me. Perhaps it is those specifics that rattle me the most.
But it does not feel better when men my father's age stop walking to stare. Or when men look with such scrutiny that I feel the meaning of the phrase undressing with the eyes. Can it simply be biological? Some evolutionary outdated behavior that is simply stuck in men's brains?
So, I am posing it to you: as men, women, brothers, boyfriends, mothers, daughters, etc....help me understand. I am laying it on the line simply to have my perspective on the matter out there. Hopefully, by voicing my perspective, I can have others respond with theirs and gain a better understanding of the whole picture......