Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind

Women ogle too


I’ve long thought that when people ogled me, they where puzzled by my atypical behaviour. However a study by Dr. Jon Maner, assistant professor of psychology at Florida State University offers an alternative possibility: men see me as competition, and women, well, they find me attractive.

If only!

The study found that heterosexual men and women are both equally “guilty” of fixating on attractive people, and it seems the more attractive a person is, the more difficult it is for the observer to avert their gaze. The reason for this behaviour is believed to be an evolutionary process designed with a dual purpose: (a) to find a mate, and (b) protect us from potential competitors.

This phenomenon has been termed attention adhesion. Both men and women are attracted to members of the opposite sex as potential mates, but attractive members of the same sex are seen as potential rivals for the attention of their own mate. Single people tend to notice those of the opposite sex more, but people in committed relationships tend to notice those of the same sex. And apparently, the more jealous a partner is, the more that partner fixates on attractive members of their own sex.

I assume there are social conventions that regulate what is acceptable ogling/staring/gazing at other people, especially members of the opposite sex, but I have yet to figure it out. As women call out men on this one far more than men call out women, is it because women do it more discretely, or is because men are more willing to flout the rules?

I’m forever being distracted by other people, or rather I’m distracted by movement and sound, and people tend to generate both in abundance. Being autistic and face blind, I tend not to be drawn towards faces, but more towards details such as how a person walks, or opens a door, or how their clothes move on their body, or how their shoes reflect light, or how they avoid collisions with other people, or how… I think you get the picture.

I admit I’m a persistent ogler, but the only time my wife notices is if the oglee (if it’s not a real word, it should be) is female and, in her opinion, attractive. Not only does she notice, but she lets me know in no uncertain terms that she has noticed. I can avoid ogling as easily as the next person can avoid scratching a persistent itch – it’s an impossibility.

I’m a lost cause when it comes to ogling, but the next time your partner accuses you of objectifying a member of the opposite sex, perhaps you can suggest that they are attaching a moral judgement to something that is hard-wired in our brains.

On the other hand, if you value your relationship, perhaps it might be more prudent to apologise.

Author: Barry

A post war baby boomer from Aotearoa New Zealand who has lived with migraines for as long as I can remember and discovered I am autistic at the age of sixty. I blog because in real life I'm somewhat backwards about coming forward with my opinions.

5 thoughts on “Women ogle too

  1. There’s really nothing wrong with looking, so long as you don’t touch. That’s always been my theory. As for why men get called out for ogling more than women, it’s probably because women don’t like unwanted attention from, say, older unattractive men, while older unattractive men love being ogled by women of any age.

  2. I ogle the same way you ogle. But I also ogle people because they are attractive. If anyone ogles me, I usually wonder what I’ve done.

  3. When my husband ogled a woman who I think is attractive, to be honest, I used to be jealous, but now not anymore. Because, later on I found out that he ogles both men and women, both who I think attractive and not attractive. He does it to observe them. I do that too sometimes. 🙂

  4. thoughts. For me, if I notice someone is looking at me I will wonder if something is wrong with my appearance or if they are looking into my soul and all my secrets are exposed.
    If I look at someone of the opposite sex and find them attractive, I will avoid looking at them. My daughter tells me she does the same thing.

    • Sorry, After I approved your comment, stupid WordPress promptly moved it to Spam!

      I’m extremely unlikely to notice when someone stares at me as I simply don’t notice faces. In fact I tend to focus a metre or two behind a person as I find looking directly at someone kind of creepy. For the same reason I tend not to notice whether or not someone is supposedly attractive. I will say however, when someone is pointed out to me as being attractive, my usual reaction is “Really?”, although these days I have learnt not to actually voice it. My tastes seem to be rather atypical 🙂

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