Sort of relevant, and some commentary on ogling.

Just stumbled upon this. I thought it was interesting..I just wrote about how big people are treated like they are better people if they try to lose weight, and how ridiculous that is. This is mostly about the negative attention of losing weight, and it also touches on the appropriateness of ogling.

These two comments stuck out to me from the comment section:

Ok, so we have this:

“…Men, don’t objectify a woman who is dressed in a bikini or be disrespectful because you like the way a woman looks…”

Following the paragraph that included:

“…Seeing younger guys glance my way, checking me out at the gym was very flattering and motivating to keep me going on the Stairmaster. But getting out of the car at the convenience store and feeling someone’s eyes on me in a negative, disgusting, weird way felt awful… “

Where being looked at (being “checked-out” implies a sexual context, doesn’t it?) by “younger guys” was positive, presumably not interpreted as objectifying. Yet being looked at by “someone” is negative.

Does this mean the perception of being objectified depends on the potential attractiveness of the male doing the looking? (ie. if the same kind of attention is welcome it isn’t objectifying but when it is not welcome is is objectifying)

Michael you make an excellent point. It’s not only the attractiveness of the ogler, it’s their social status and stuff like that. Their potential as a mate (even if there is no intention of having them as a mate) generally colors whether the ogling is welcome or not. I think women need to accept that men have a reflexive sexual response when they see someone they think is physically attractive. I don’t know but I suspect this is much less of a problem for gay men than straight women. This reflex is a double edged sword for women because most of us don’t want to ONLY be objects, but we do like to be sexually attractive to men. We just wish they could shut it off when it gets in the way. It is really annoying to think that one is being sized up as a potential sexual partner while discussing business matters or you just want to have any kind of interaction without sexual tension being part of it. Really really really annoying.
Those of you who know me in real life know that I work in an industry mostly populated by men. Particularly men who are rather…uncouth? Rough around the edges? Ogling has been a big issue for me. 
I think both people who commented make some good points. Am I only squicked out by ogling because it’s usually older men who I am not attracted to? Maybe, sometimes. I can be shallow, intentionally or not, just like all humans.
To me, though, there is a lot more to it. The intensity of the gaze, which of my body parts a person is looking at (my face? my breasts?) can make a difference in how disturbing or invigorating an interaction is. Sometimes you just get a feeling that someone is looking you over to determine if you satisfy them…and good flirting doesn’t do that. Good flirting is meant to make the person you are flirting with feel like they are smart, pretty, and important. If you are just staring at a woman’s breasts, that is not flirting. That’s sizing her up to place a judgement call on her based on what she looks like. It’s simply not the same thing. 
Furthermore, one kind of interaction is threatening and the other is not. Calling me “cutie,” doesn’t usually bother me. Asking what time I get off work, does. THAT MAKES ME THINK YOU WILL FOLLOW ME TO MY CAR AND ATTACK ME. One kind of behavior is simply more…well…rapey than the other. Sorry, but that’s all there is to it. If you look at me in a way that conveys a complete disrespect of my sovereignty, in a way that implies I am merely here TO BE LOOKED AT, it’s not a big mental leap that you are the kind of person who would harm me. If you think that my body is to be enjoyed by you, and not by me, or that all I am is a body, why would you care about silly little things like consent?
Maybe I’m not explaining it clearly enough, but it is an incredibly subtle distinction. Flirting with a woman, by which I mean complimenting (but not excessively), joking with, etc, is not the same thing as ogling, and I feel like the commenters are treating the behaviors as one and the same. Perhaps this is one of those situations where the interaction can only be classified based on the perception of the ogglee. Like my mom always said, even if you didn’t MEAN to hurt a person’s feelings, you should still apologize. It’s not about what you meant to do, it’s about what actually happened. 
In some ways, that’s actually a really good way to describe it. This goes back to the is it about me or about you thing. If you are flirting, you should be paying close enough attention to realize if I am giving social cues that you are making me uncomfortable. I realize that social skills don’t come naturally to all people. I, myself, am often so focused on myself that I don’t pick up on cues from people around me. However, when it comes down to making a person feel confident or making a person feel threatened, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.

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