Look once, look again

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A good story can be found in any situation. For me the stories that are meaningful are the ones that make me think, make me question that which I know and investigate that which I don’t know; these are the stories that help me understand my own humanity and in the process allow me to reflect on humanity in general. This article is about such a story. And given the recent FHRITP fiasco with CityTV reporter Shauna Hunt and some obnoxious TFC fans, I think the timing of this article couldn’t have been any better.

A few days ago I got on the 202 from Conestoga Mall and made my way to the very back of the bus to find a seat. On my way I saw this absolutely stunning girl sitting by herself on a seat in the second row from the back, earphones plugged in, looking out the window obviously daydreaming. She had pale golden blonde hair, her eyebrows were done with precision, her hair too had been worked on for a while, and her make-up was exquisite; she wore shorts that brought out the full shape of her legs and I think the t-shirt was just about the perfect tightness to flaunt a well-toned body… Now, before you all jump to conclusions and start calling me a pervert for ogling this girl, all I’m merely doing is giving a brief description of the girl I saw for under 3 seconds as I made my way to the last row of the bus and took my seat.

As surprising as it might sound, there was not a single explicit thought that crossed my mind and I did not sexualize the entire experience. And before you start to think that I’m setting myself up on a pedestal; I’m not. All I’m merely saying is that with a little bit of self-awareness we can appreciate beauty without allowing sexual undertones to creep in to situations like this. However, this may not be the norm in today’s world. What I’m implying is that most, if not all, guys see girls (who are pretty in the conventional sense) in a way that objectifies them and then maybe even take it a few steps further… It might not stop at just appreciating her beauty or it might not stop at just one quick glance. Guys have quite an imagination on them, I can assure you… And quite a dirty mind as well (take for example Shawn Simoes, who was fired by Hydro One). You don’t believe me, eh? Well then, read on.

This girl had a window-seat on the right side of the second-last row and there was a guy who was sitting in front of me. He was nicely dressed and had a nice haircut; the sort of guy most people would label as fairly handsome. At this point though, he did something that caught my attention.

This guy looked at the girl from the corner of his eye and then quickly looked away. Nothing strange, right? That’s exactly what I thought too. But then it happened again. This time he turned his head a little so he could get a better view and watched her for a couple of seconds before looking away.

Now I was a little intrigued… What could it possibly be that he thinks he can see that he hasn’t already seen? I mean its one thing to appreciate beauty and you can always do it in a polite way by admiring what you find beautiful and if that “something” turns out to be a human being you can acknowledge their beauty by smiling at them or even giving them a compliment. But this guy just wanted to look at this girl — or probably her legs or what he imagined he saw “underneath” that t-shirt, I’m not too sure — without her knowing that he was looking at her. Believe it or not, over the course of the next 10 minutes this entire episode repeated itself 17 times — where he would look at her a few seconds at a time with the girl being completely unaware — until we finally approached the guy’s stop and he got up and made his way to the exit doors.

At this point he became a lot bolder and stared right at her and I can’t speculate on what it was that he was thinking but whatever it was there was nothing noble about it. Any normal human being would be made quite uncomfortable if they were being stared at as this guy was staring at this girl. It was the sort of lust that has no rhyme or reason and stems from having an utter disregard for the humanity of a human being because you can’t help but view them as an object of your sexual fantasy or desire… And just like that, almost as if on cue, the bus came to a stop, the doors opened and he left. But here’s the kicker, as he walked away, he turned one more time to get that one last look and then the bus pulled away.

So, on the surface this story doesn’t seem like one that’s very alarming, right? Am I just over-thinking what I saw? Is it possible that this guy was just so taken by the beauty of this girl that he couldn’t resist looking at her, over and over again or was there something more sinister going on in his head? Obviously, it would be highly unlikely that his thoughts could have something to do with the hyper-sexualized way we look at the world, right? I mean, he probably wasn’t the only one on this day to have looked at a girl in such a manner. So does that mean that because more and more guys are looking at girls with an utter disregard for their humanity (or vice versa for that matter), it should be something we should overlook just because everyone else is doing it? Surely, interactions of this kind will have long-term societal repercussions that we might not be equipped to deal with.

A blatant example of present day objectification of human beings is the disrespect shown to female reporters these days when they are just trying to do their jobs. My stance on this is that it’s only natural to appreciate beauty but when that turns into the objectification of a human being then we have a problem. There is a thin line between appreciating beauty and using it as an excuse to violate someone’s personal space. Contemporary culture continues to make this line more and more convoluted and if we don’t do something to inject some humanity back into our lives then what we end up with might be something more than what we had initially bargained for. But hey, that’s just my opinion. Je vous laisse le soin de décider.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Imprint.

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