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Spare the Stare

By Kalamwali in Experiences
Updated 08:37 IST Nov 03, 2016

Views » 250 | 5 min read

 

Are you a woman? Have you ever felt awkward in a public place because you just casually looked around and found a pair of eyes staring at you? That piercing look as though you are the only object to look at, around and beyond? And not the "I am something special, so look at me" kind of stares. "I think I am naked" kind of stares. Have these kind of looks suddenly made you conscious? Have you, for a split second stopped to analyse whether you could be wearing or doing something vague, weird, funny? Or done something wrong? Or just maybe grown an extra organ suddenly which is the reason behind those undying, unwavering stares?

If yes, come join the gang. We as women experience this rather often. While walking on the streets, commuting on public transport, even at signals sitting in our own cars, in cabs or autos through rear view mirrors, in Parks, theatres, markets, malls and sometimes even in temples. The fact is, as women, our minds seem to generate some kind of reflex when someone is looking at us in a manner that isn't casual and hence we instantly realise.

It's like, you could be doing your own thing and you suddenly feel a gaze fixated on you, so you look and spot that pair of eyes or sometimes a few pairs of eyes. And then you realise that you are being looked at, watched, observed, stared at. You look away, and look again, still the same. The gaze won't shy away. You take a quick look at yourself, nothing seems out of place or worth grabbing attention. You think whether you have said or done something that could have triggered this. Nothing. You look again in that direction. Now the stare is more like a scare.

You can almost literally imagine what that man might be imagining about you. You get further awkward. You look down, here, there. You change your position, posture so as to let him know you have caught him staring at you. But he still won't stop. What do you do next? Personally I have tried, ignoring, looking away, walking away, giving bad words in such a way that my lip synch give away what I intend to put across. I've even tried staring back just as hard. Until my eyes hurt. Yes this helped. Temporality the stare diluted, but did it end? Not really.

Sometimes it disturbs me immensely. Just a week ago, I decided to run short distance errands on foot. To burn calories instead of fuel. And I was quite proud of myself for this until I had to cross a Paan Tapri. I have been crossing this Paan Tapri since I was in kindergarten. But this was the first time I was crossing it on foot. While walking past, my reflex kicked in so I looked across the street towards the Tapri. There was a group of 4 men all staring without a blink at me. Middle aged men I am sure because when I observed closely I recognised one of them as the father of this girl who was my classmate. I suddenly felt restless. I looked away, looked down, kept walking. After a few seconds I thought why am I the one who should look down and walk? I was fully and decently clad, I wasn't doing something to grab their attention and nor was I someone they recognised. Then why? But I had already walked further and couldn't use the "stare back till your eyes hurt" technique. They hadn't physically harmed me. But still it made me sick and uncomfortable.

So why exactly do men really stare like this at women? What pleasure do they derive out of this? How does this satisfy them? Or excite them? And what exactly do they stare at? What is it that they think while starting? If you are a man reading this, please care to answer these questions.

Sometimes the answers we get to these kind of questions is, "oh her top was transparent, her bottom was too tight, her thighs were bulging out, her Bra strap was out, she was talking to a guy in the middle of the road" and so on.. Now if these are valid reasons for being stared at, let's look at the other side of it. Men, (typically those who stare) aren't dressed to impress either. More often than not, their vests/ banyans/ Gungees are either visible or absent. Either stomachs are bulging out or something else is in the lower half of the body. So many men have male breasts, which they are oblivious to and are absolutely stare and mimic worthy. But do women really even care to stare? Does a man ever feel awkward or conscious at public places? Is a man ever at risk of being passed lewd comments at or groped by women? Never. Ever. A man's organ, character, past, deeds are hardly ever a topic of discussion.

When the cleavage of a woman is visible, she's cheap. When a man's chest hair is visible, it doesn't matter. It requires a similar depth of neckline to see both according to me! A woman adjusting her shirt, pants, bra etc. is inviting, a man adjusting his crotch however, is normal and an attribute they are just born with. This debate and war is kind of unending and my intention behind writing about this isn't to start an argument.

My plea here is to the women out there. You are not at fault if you are being stared at. Don't look down. And to those men who stare, someone somewhere might be staring at women you love and love to protect. Remember this. So just think about it and spare that stare!

- Kalamwali

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Comments

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Manali Jobanputra 10-Nov-2016 08:38

Wow, Could totally connect with it. also will definitely try the "Stare back" method !

sanchita 06-Dec-2016 20:31

You have penned down really well!

Kalamwali 06-Dec-2016 20:48

Thank you two 😊

artofchandra 02-Jan-2017 13:36

Indeed true! Men do stare at women as a habit, a bad habit. In fact staring at anyone is bad. Just a thought. Women stare at women equally habitually. Especially their foot wear. And ornaments and oh yah! The bags they carry. Men or women, they can look at each other, but staring is in bad taste,

Rama Talak 18-Jun-2017 06:39

You have penned down the reality in a beautiful way

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