During mating season, the male mallard duck (drake) shows off their brightly colored feathers to attract females. Female feathers tend to be dull in color. There's no reason for female ducks to have colors since they choose who to mate with. Once the mating season is done, drakes shed their colored feathers, essentially removing their makeup. Side note, female ducks are called...ducks.
One of my friends sent me an article that discussed the reckoning: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. The article was in response to the Weinstein fallout that had begun, that every powerful man who's ever done a woman wrong is getting called out. Part of the article compared what looking at a woman meant—objectification—versus what seeing a woman meant—valuing her as a human being.
Several of my friends and I were discussing the topic of looking versus seeing. And they all agreed that seeing a woman as a person is the right thing to do.
From my point of view, my friends were overthinking, which I'd told them. The coming reckoning isn't about men's behavior like groping or masturbating in front of people. Because groping your lover is usually fine. The reckoning is about sexual harassment, or that consent needs to be given before sexual activity can happen, which we all agreed on. No debate there.
But they were overthinking by saying things like a guy shouldn't look because there's more to a woman than just her physical beauty. Or if a dude looks too much over a long period of time, then he may coerce himself to throw out consent and do something inappropriate. That's crap. If a man has to grope or rape a woman to get his rocks off, then he ain't a man. He's a shithead.
There’s nothing wrong with looking. So go forth and gawk. Gawk all you want. You'll look creepy, but, hey, it's your life.
There's a reason why women are considered the fairer sex. Science has proven that men are visual creatures. Probably because men did the hunting, fighting and defending. The processing of images has evolved to be very important to men, so our brains are hard wired for this trait. As a result, men looking at women becomes a very natural thing to do. I know I spend loads of my waking moment staring at women. We're programmed to be lured to a woman's hourglass shape, her red lips, her long eyelashes. It's no wonder why men love porn. It's a visual medium. The cosmetic industry, which caters almost solely to the ladies, raked in 56.2 billion dollars in 2015 in the US alone. Much like the drakes, human females do the attracting.
Even our language has supported this dichotomy. The fact that the term trophy wife exists says something. However, we don't have the equivalent for men. What would he even be called? Consolation prize?
Being a writer, I'm constantly reminded that the biggest population of readers are women. The romance category, which includes fine literature such as Fifty Shades of Grey, make up around 50% of the fiction being bought. Trashy romance novels are porn for women. The reason is simple. The biggest most powerful sex organ for a woman is her mind. It's the reason why they need to connect in order to have amazing sex. The reason conversation is so important to them. Connecting to their mate, seeing if you will, turns them on. That's why ladies always want a guy with confidence and a sense of humor. They're looking for inner qualities that will stimulate their minds. Because women are way more forgiving of a man's looks.
Guys, not so much when it comes to women. In fact, show a guy a gorgeous woman, and he's ready to spend the rest of his life with her. At least I am. I know. I'm an idiot. Men don't need to know who she is, what she likes, what her passions are. Men are all about the features. Nice rack. Plenty of room in the trunk. Nice long stems. Great paint job. Any dents or dings? Nope. Great. I'm good to go!
I'm not saying this is right or wrong. When my friends and I were debating, I said that placing judgement on whether a guy looks or sees a woman is puritanical because all of this neural activity is just that. Thoughts.
Whether I objectify a woman or wonder who she is as a human being has no bearing on whether I'm a good or bad person, whether she's worth my time or not. There are going to be moments where I wanna fuck a woman for no reason except to get off. And then there are moments where I want to delve into what she's about. Neither is good or bad because I've not harmed anyone.
They just be thoughts, yo.
The lesson here is that our thoughts are nothing until we make it into something. There's an ocean's divide between thinking that I wanna kill someone versus actually killing someone. That's why I said my friends were overthinking. Unless I act on my thoughts to grope a woman without her permission, then it doesn't matter whether I look at her or see her.
We are not our feelings. We are not our moods. We are not even our thoughts. -Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.