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Why do men do this?

(115 Posts)
TooOldForGlitter Mon 23-Nov-15 00:25:49

Of course, NAM, but really, why? It's 7.40 Saturday morning. A new nursery is being built down the road and its on my dog walking path. I walk by and there are two vans parked up on the pavement, clearly blokes about to start work on the new nursery. They just do this thing when they see you coming down the road and start to stare. As if to see if you'll look away first, or get your 'phone out and pretend to be on the phone. Its as if they don't want you to feel like you can walk down a pavement without feeling uncomfortable. I'm not going to go into all the minute things they do I think I'm just saying, I'm not alone in seeing and feeling this am I?

granhands1 Mon 23-Nov-15 00:39:56

No, you are not alone. It is a power thing

coffeeisnectar Mon 23-Nov-15 00:49:58

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Iflyaway Mon 23-Nov-15 00:56:17

Maybe the stare was a bleary-eyed thought about the great night out he'd had. Or thinking about the rest of the weekend.

It's not all about you, you know.

Anyway, I would just stare right back. A friend of mine has a great saying at a time like that - "Am I wearing something that belongs to you?" grin

dontcallmecis Mon 23-Nov-15 02:01:39

Heh. Yeah. And the conversation stops as you walk by. And you just KNOW they're looking at your arse.

Well, maybe not now. But 10 years ago? Yep. Hated it.

TheDowagerCuntess Mon 23-Nov-15 08:54:02

Hate it. Especially when it's a group. They just down tools and stare. I wonder if they genuinely don't realise how intimidating it can feel - after all, they'd be delighted if a group of women stared at them.

MrsBertMacklin Mon 23-Nov-15 08:57:39

I work in offices on building sites, a really loud, cheery "Good Morning!" with ferocious eye contact doesn't stop it, but I feel like I'm getting some power back by doing it.

DontBuyANewMumCashmere Mon 23-Nov-15 09:02:27

This happens every now and then to me but as you describe they're often parked straddling the pavement and I assume they're looking to see if they have to move out the way, the van or them, or often I'm waking with dogs or have baby in carrier and so I assume they're looking at the dogs or baby.
Anyway I've never taken it as a power struggle and I just look back at them and smile. Then they move or go back to work.

I have been very lucky to not have been mistreated by men or abused, do you think (understandably) sometimes more is read into other people's intentions if your experience with men or groups of men is different?

SiegeofEnnis Mon 23-Nov-15 09:06:24

Talk back. Say hello. Make a remark in Turkish/Serbo-Croat/Mandarin. Re-take the initiative and remind them you are actually a sentient human being walking the dog and thinking about Isis/ the weather/work, rather than some purely visual object presented for them to rate.

I don't actually think it's consciously a power stare ('Here's a woman, let's intimidate her'), more a largely unconscious gendered power thing whereby they are more conscious of you as a thing to be looked at than as a sentient being who is looking back and thinking 'Why are they all staring?' Or 'what a lot of ass-crack on display'. And definitely bolstered by the group thing.

VulcanWoman Mon 23-Nov-15 09:07:32

MrsBert that's the way to go I reckon, it'll confuse/surprise them.

TheDowagerCuntess Mon 23-Nov-15 09:08:14

I've never been mistreated or abused, and have nothing but lovely men in my life. Always have. I absolutely hate being the centre of attention though, so for me, it's a desperately uncomfortable, and yes, intimidating feeling, on that basis.

I don't think you have to have been mistreated by men to find it uncomfortable, to be honest.

SiegeofEnnis Mon 23-Nov-15 09:17:17

I don't think the OP is "misreading' at all, nor that you have to have been 'abused or mistreated' in order to legitimately read these looks this way. The 'male gaze' (term coined originally by Laura Mulvey talking about cinema, but applicable to RL) is a fairly well-documented phenomenon, and can't be reduced to individual actions by consciously sexist individuals.

Our society has naturalised the power asymmetry of looking as men 'naturally' looking and women 'naturally' being 'looked at' to the extent that women have, traditionally, been socialised to look at themselves through the eyes of men. There are no men in the world who feel self-conscious walking towards a group of women standing at a bus stop, or feel disappointed and suddenly invisible in middle-age when women stop wolf-whistling at them on streets.

Fugghetaboutit Mon 23-Nov-15 09:19:04

Yeah, had this happen a million times. They go all silent and stare, creepy fucks. Just carry on with your lives saddos.

DontBuyANewMumCashmere Mon 23-Nov-15 09:24:01

I'm sorry, I didn't mean any offence, I was just thinking 'out loud' and typing what I thought. I didn't mean to imply that only abused women would think like this. Sorry.

howtorebuild Mon 23-Nov-15 09:33:48

some people are more visual. The gazing in this kind of situation makes me uncomfortable, as if a predator is sizing me up.

howtorebuild Mon 23-Nov-15 09:37:17

It reminds me of something someone told me, it may be an urban myth.

Couple in bed wake up to their pet snake staring at them. The snakes head is by their head, it's tail by their feet. They take the snake to the vet, concerned about the behaviour and the snake not eating. Snake was sizing them up to eat, it was starving it's self first.

SoWhite Mon 23-Nov-15 09:46:44

Maybe he was waiting for a smile?


coffeeisnectar Mon 23-Nov-15 10:21:13

^ why the eurgh?

Are you and some women so anti men that you won't even crack a friendly smile?

Perhaps this is why feminism gets such a bad name. Women who treat all men as if they are rapists, weirdos or power crazy control freaks.

And I've been raped. And I was the victim of dv. But even I can see that a man staring or gazing off into space is not something to get my knickers in a twist about.

But seemingly there are posters who can make an entire building site down tools and stop work just by walking past as they are so stunning and they are offended by this, so maybe wear a balaclava to stop the unwanted looks or petition parliament to have blinkers fitted to all men.

VulcanWoman Mon 23-Nov-15 10:30:53

Women who treat all men as if they are rapists, weirdos or power crazy control freaks I agree, not always of course. There's a lot of paranoia about.

SoWhite Mon 23-Nov-15 10:31:53

I can't even be bothered to reply, so I'll just leave this here in case you'd like to do some learning.

NeverEverAnythingEver Mon 23-Nov-15 10:52:07

SoWhite I will join you with a eurgh. Waiting for a smile? What? I exist to smile at people and be friendly and decorative, do I? Creepy fuckers.

GreenTomatoJam Mon 23-Nov-15 11:01:02

Surely it depends on how they're staring?

Gazing into the distance, or chomping on a sausage roll just generally looking around - fine

Stopping their conversation to stare at you, keeping looking as you go by - certainly creepy, possibly intimidating (could be mitigated maybe if they said something pleasant like 'Good Morning' - in a friendly, non-creepy way) - not fine.

Someone being creepy can wait as long as they like for a smile, I'm under no obligation to give one. Someone just being a normal human being, then I probably will smile and say good morning - or they might already have done so themselves.

TesticleOfObjectivity Mon 23-Nov-15 11:03:57

Are you and some women so anti men that you won't even crack a friendly smile?

Coffee I'm not anti men but I reserve the right to not be expected to smile at them in the street. If I walk past somebody, male or female, and we happen to make eye contact, then I generally will smile. If someone orders me to "cheer up love" or starts staring at me from a mile off in expectation of a smile then they can fuck off. I don't stare at men as they go about their business with the expectation that they should be smiling at me.

SoWhite Mon 23-Nov-15 11:10:27

I don't smile at women in the street either if it helps. Babies and cats though, another story.

coffeeisnectar Mon 23-Nov-15 11:12:50

I seem to be in the minority here, so I'll just leave you to crack on with your mass generalisations of the male population.

A smile costs nothing.

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