You and your girlfriends are at a bar after work. You’ve been chatting it up with a cute guy and are definitely enjoying his company. But his eyes keep falling to your breasts. It’s rude, you think, and can’t help but wonder if he even cares what you’re saying.
Turns out that researchers have a name for this. It’s called the ‘objectifying gaze’. It’s when a man ogles at a woman’s body parts instead of looking at her face. Is that a problem? Sure it is. Women tend to think he is just there for satisfying his voyeurism or viewing pleasure.
But the consequences can be more serious. The objectifying gaze could lead to things like sexual violence and gender discrimination at work, research has shown.
Alcohol alters the mind
Most women know exactly what it feels like to see a guy’s eyes drop to her breasts. Also, men haven’t exactly been shy about admitting they do this. So does alcohol make the objectifying gaze worse? Let’s find out.
A team of US researchers tracked down 50 male college students and split them into two groups. One group was given enough alcohol to get drunk, while the other downed a non-alcoholic beverage (that tasted like alcohol).
Next, the students looked at pictures of women who were either attractive, warm, smart or had other qualities. The researchers measured how long they stared at the women’s bodies and faces.
Breasts take the cake
The drunk students spent more time ogling the women’s bodies – especially their breasts and waists rather than their eyes. Guys are more likely to do this when they think a woman isn’t very friendly or smart, said the findings. So, the smarter the women, the lesser she gets stared at? Let's find out more.
What is it about alcohol that leads men to stare at women’s bodies even more than usual?
When a guy’s drunk, his ability to pay attention is probably pretty limited. A woman’s face is full of information – like her emotions, thoughts, and what she plans to do. All of this information may be too much for your average drunken guy to handle.
So he might spend less time looking at a woman’s face and stare at her breasts or waist. These body parts capture his attention more easily and don’t involve much effort too. So next time a man stares at your breasts when he is drunk, don’t judge him. He is simply not in a position to admire anything more than your twin assets!
Reference: Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beer Holder: An Initial Investigation of the Effects of Alcohol, Attractiveness, Warmth, and Competence on the Objectifying Gaze in Men Sex Roles. Published online December 20, 2017.
*To protect the identity, persons in the pictures are models.