The Year of the Leer

2011 is apparently the Year of the Leer.

That’s the only conclusion I can draw from being leered at daily for two months. And as a normal-looking woman in her mid-30s who doesn’t wear revealing clothing, I get leered at quite a lot already. I hate to think what it’s like for women who are young/hot/young and hot and who like to celebrate their boobs and legs.

I can feel the rage building up below the surface and when it explodes at the next arsehole who leers at me, he’s just going to think I’m a crazy bitch feminist dyke who takes things too seriously (because that’s what the insult will be from such a small-minded douchebag), rather than realising that he’s a cunt who has no right to look me up and down as though I’m just an object.

Has anyone else noticed the increase in leering this year?

Last year I blogged about the self-conscious feeling you get when a man stares at your body and how damaging that is in a professional situation. The post was based on a study that found that objectification silences women. Another post last year was about a study that found that men are more likely to view women as objects if they’ve been looking at sexy pictures. In the original news story in The Guardian, Ian Sample writes:

The brain scans showed that when men saw the images of the women’s bodies, activity increased in part of the brain called the premotor cortex, which is involved in urges to take action. The same area lights up before using power tools to do DIY. “It’s as if they immediately thought to act on theses bodies,” Fiske said.

The final quote from Dr Susan Fiske is frightening: “They’re reacting to these women as if they’re not fully human.”

Now consider the effect of including a sexy image of Lara Logan in stories about the sexual assault in Egypt. When you’re staring at boobs there is no activity in the part of the brain that deals with empathy. Which means the nasty piece of work going by the name michellefrommadison, who has been leaving horrible comments here about Logan – comments that will never be published here – is one hell of a porn fiend.

16 responses to “The Year of the Leer

  1. Now I have a confusing relationship with your blog banner. ;p

  2. I know it sounds lame, but this is why I’m glad to live in Canberra. I know it’s not perfect here, but I think street harassment levels are much lower here than some places. Or maybe I’m just hideously ugly???? Or maybe it’s that I’m always looking at the ground (i collect buttons and other debris) rather than at leering assholes?? Oh well, whatever the reason, I’m pretty glad about it.

  3. Could you define what “like to celebrate their boobs and legs” means? It a term I have never heard used before. Can I use it to describe women? As in “She likes the company of men” or “She likes to celebrate her boobs and legs”.

    Somehow I think I would be criticised.

    And no no-on, male or female, should have to put up with harassment.

  4. Can’t say I notice it on a day to day basis. But when I was out with my lesbifriends on the way to fair day on Sunday they both mentioned women admiring my dress that I didn’t see at all so maybe I’m just particularly unobservant?

    The only time I notice is if someone touches me without my permission and then all manner of hell breaks loose.

  5. I’ve been pregnant or post pregnant non glamour with baby for the past year. NO ONE leers at me. I may be sexy to my hubby but to the rest of the male world I’m a no go zone (already claimed and too big anyway)

  6. Interestingly enough this post made me wonder if I missed being checked out and the associated ego boost that can bring. I decided there was a difference to being fancied/ admired, or your clothes admired, to being leered at and someone talking to your tits.

    • There is a huge difference. Being leered at is threatening. Someone talking to your tits is insulting – do they really think you can’t see where they are looking? Idiots.

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