Saturday, February 20, 2010

What's It Like To Be a White Male? Nice and Quiet.

Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science highlights a new study about what happens when women feel like men are checking out their bodies:
As [researcher Tamar] Saguy explains, "When a woman believes that a man is focusing on her body, she narrows her presence... by spending less time talking." There are a few possible reasons for this. Saguy suspects that objectification prompts women to align their behaviour with what's expected of them - silent things devoid of other interesting traits. Treat someone like an object, and they'll behave like one. Alternatively, worries about their appearance might simply distract them from the task at hand.
At a recent dinner party an acquaintance of mine, an African-American woman, wondered aloud what it would be like to be a white man. I thought about it for a bit and suggested that with no one's eyes on her, no one following her around, noticing her, staring at her, talking to her uninvited, judging her appearance, it would probably feel like she was floating in a sensory deprivation tank: quiet, calm, easy to think.

Thanks to Carrie Snell for the pointer.

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