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Women report rise in "aggressive eye contact" since masks

(56 Posts)
SunsetBeetch Tue 28-Jul-20 12:14:46

Are masks giving men a licence to stare? Women report a rise in 'aggressive eye contact' since face coverings became commonplace as an expert warns they 'provide anonymity' for threatening behaviour

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ThePankhurstConnection Tue 28-Jul-20 12:25:26

I have to say I haven't noticed this personally BUT I am a fat, middle aged woman so my invisibility shield is well in place - unless someone needs to call me Karen. I'd be interested in what other women have experienced though.

Goosefoot Tue 28-Jul-20 12:28:25

Hmm, I am not so sure about this. What constitutes "aggressive eye contact"?

I think a lot of people are struggling with facial recognition when everyone is wearing masks, so that might well explain why people seem to be staring.

SunsetBeetch Tue 28-Jul-20 12:32:43

I can't say I've experienced this myself. Wondering if anyone else has?

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Thelnebriati Tue 28-Jul-20 12:35:20

Generally, women are pretty good at spotting sex and emotional state/intent by reading body language and facial expression. If you aren't, there are ways to learn.

Direct gaze with chin pointing at you indicates interest.
Direct gaze, eyebrows contracted and forehead tilted towards you is typical for an angry gaze.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Tue 28-Jul-20 12:36:17

Tbh I think "aggressive eye contact" is up there with "OMG ur words r literal violence!!!"


Picklypickles Tue 28-Jul-20 12:37:52

I've not noticed anything like this, but I am 5ft nothing so not many people are at my eye-level and I don't tend to pay much attention to others when I'm out and about!

ScrimpshawTheSecond Tue 28-Jul-20 12:38:35

I know I've been doing a fucktonne of trying to smile conciliatorily with my eyes, and had to compensate for lack of facial expression with extra friendliness.

And no, that's not my female conditioning, it's noticing the completely natural response to someone wearing a mask (slight shock/recoil) and working out how to ameliorate it.

ScrimpshawTheSecond Tue 28-Jul-20 12:39:12

A 'social smile' doesn't even reach the eyes, so we're lacking the usual social signal for 'I mean no harm'.

FloralBunting Tue 28-Jul-20 12:52:32

This is weird phrasing.

However, I have noticed communication being really strained in different circumstances, due to not being able to read expressions. I try and deliberately have a charitable attitude and not assume the worst, but I don't think I realized how unconscious facial expression is to communication, and it has led to some really sharp interactions, which, were we able to see each other's faces, would have been perfectly pleasant.

PasstheBucket89 Tue 28-Jul-20 12:57:40

it literally only covers your mouth 😂, although perhaps its more noticable now? maybe? were probably all paying more attention to peoples faces more so now.

startrek90 Tue 28-Jul-20 13:03:05

I live in a country that has mandatory mask orders and I have to be honest I have not experienced this. I have however realised how much I rely on facial expressions and lip reading. There have been a few frustrating and at times amusing moments of miscommunication.

Nuffaluff Tue 28-Jul-20 13:13:03

I’m struggling to convey emotion when wearing a mask. I said ‘thank you’ to a few people in town yesterday. Normally I’d smile, but I kept a neutral facial expression.

Spannwr1971 Tue 28-Jul-20 13:13:26

I'd actually wondered if women wearing masks, had noticed being oggled less.

Haveastock Tue 28-Jul-20 13:14:49

PasstheBucket if your face covering is only covering your mouth you’re wearing it wrong grin I find it so strange not being able to read people’s expressions and have realised how much I communicate non-verbally with my facial expressions. My eyebrows are doing overtime!

Clumsyduck Tue 28-Jul-20 13:19:57

Do you mean eye contact as in a ogling way or full on aggression ??

Iv had a few guys make eye contact with me For example in the supermarket which felt weird in comparison To if it normally happened I think just because all I can see is their eyes 🤔

Actual aggression then no not personally having said that someone took a photo of me in my mask and wow talk about crazy murderous eyes 😅 so maybe it’s hard to tell

testing987654321 Tue 28-Jul-20 13:29:12

Are people actually aware that they're failing to express themselves? I have only worn one a few times and forget people can't see me smiling so act exactly the same as normal. It's not as though we consciously perform these things usually.

[suspect typical lack of awareness of self might be an issue generally]

ScrimpshawTheSecond Tue 28-Jul-20 13:30:57

In a broader sense, I expect elevated and sustained levels of uncertainty and stress would quite unsurprisingly lead to increasing levels of aggression/intolerance/irritation.

NotBadConsidering Tue 28-Jul-20 13:32:12

Titania has a view on this grin:

Staffy1 Tue 28-Jul-20 13:33:39


I have to say I haven't noticed this personally BUT I am a fat, middle aged woman so my invisibility shield is well in place - unless someone needs to call me Karen. I'd be interested in what other women have experienced though.


iamtheoneandonlyyy Tue 28-Jul-20 13:34:11

This must surely detract from actual issues I would have thought. Load of nonsense

Hearhoovesthinkzebras Tue 28-Jul-20 13:37:01

What on earth is aggressive eye contact?

LemonChiffon Tue 28-Jul-20 13:39:02

Are people not just looking at other people's masks? I always look at other people's if I like the pattern or style etc - hope people don't think I'm staring at them!

BeingATwatItsABingThing Tue 28-Jul-20 13:45:09

I can’t say I’ve noticed this at all. I don’t tend to pay attention to others enough though beyond acknowledging their existence.

SunsetBeetch Tue 28-Jul-20 13:47:08


Titania has a view on this grin:

What a dilemma! grin

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