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dchin's picture

Our discussion on Thursday about how we felt while watching Live Nude Girls Unite! was incredibly rich, and for me, in a personal way. It didn't strike me as odd while watching the film that I wasn't uncomfortable seeing the women's naked bodies but instead uncomfortable watching one of the male patrons watching the women dance. I realized that what was so unsettling for me was that I was thinking about how I would feel were I one of those dancers and I had to experience the intensity and invasiveness of that gaze. This line of thinking reminded me of these:

The first gif conveys an intolerance for women who are uncomfortable being hit on. The second gif conveys the discomfort of having to walk alone past "a group of creepy guys." In both cases, I think it's at least somewhat about fear. Perhaps there's a lack of tolerance for women complaining about being hit on because there's some perceived arrogance in being able to dismiss another person's interest like that, but it can also definitely be about fear. Walking past a group of men late at night when I'm by myself and the street is empty is incredibly scary for me, and if one of those men made a pass at me I would ignore it. Not because I am being arrogant but because I'm probably terrified of the what-ifs in this scenario. There's a good chance that the attention is harmless, but in the back of my mind I'm wondering what if responding in any way garners more attention that I do not want? The weight of that gaze, given the context, can be frightening, and perhaps that is why I found myself more uncomfortable watching the customer watch the women dance. I connected his gaze with my own discomfort, and sometimes fear, of being the object of this looking.