You know that self-conscious feeling you get when you realise a male work-colleague or man on the bus is staring at your boobs? Thanks to Dreaming Spires I found this: How objectification silences women – the male glance as a psychological muzzle.
Ed Yong writes about a study by Tamar Saguy that found that women become “more silent if they think that men are focusing on their bodies”:
Saguy’s study is one of the first to provide evidence of the social harms of sexual objectification – the act of treating people as “de-personalised objects of desire instead of as individuals with complex personalities”. It targets women more often than men. It’s apparent in magazine covers showing a woman in a sexually enticing pose, in inappropriate comments about a colleague’s appearance, and in unsolicited looks at body parts.
Yong writes that since men didn’t respond the same way when being checked out, it puts paid to the “false equivalence arguments that are often put forward when discussing gender issues (i.e. “women look at male bodies too”)”.
Some perve staring at your boobs on the bus isn’t such a big deal. Creepy, yes, but a death-glare usually stops it. But if it’s the HR guy in a job interview, for example, or your boss when you’re trying to negotiate a pay rise, then you’re screwed.