Sardony James: The Head Swivel

Sunday 25th March 2018


There should be a medical term for injuries sustained by men who do that exaggerated craning of the neck when anyone vaguely female is walking past him. Surely there’s some sort of long-term physical risk to this move? I get RSI from swiping through Tinder, so I can’t imagine the state of these guys’ neck muscles… 

When I was at uni, my flatmate used to ask why it bothered me so much when I’d get cat-called. 

“It’s not a big deal,” she’d say. “I’m just like, yeah! I do look hot!” 

But cat-calling isn’t about looking hot, is it? I can go out in 65 layers with greasy hair in a topknot and socks and sandals, and they’d still do it. I’m under no illusion that every time a bloke honks his horn, or cranes his neck to leer at me in the street, that he does it because he wants me to know I look real cute today. It’s not like stumbling into the girls’ bathroom and being told (in completely earnest tones) that your eyeliner is JUST SO LOVELY. That shit is heartfelt, and about boosting each other up. When a bunch of L.A.D.S. drive past in a crappy Corsa and yell a string of random noises at you, it’s not cos they just really want you to feel confident and have a great day and smash it, sister.

Here’s how I know: it’s the leering bloke’s near-aggressive need to know that you know that you’re being ogled. It’s no news flash that straight women stare at blokes too, and any girl who’s any girl will have played some variation of 'One, Two, Three, He's Yours'. But I, for one, have never done the STARE. You know the one I mean. It's when the guy locks eyes with you, and slowly, slowly swivels his head to make sure that you experience every second of his leer as you go by. Accompanied  with a smirk, these silent stares are almost worse than loutish shout. It’s not about making a woman feel attractive; it’s about making a woman feel like prey

But hey, when my old flatmate used to tell me not to get so worked up about cat-calling, maybe in a very small sense she was right. Rather than feeling uncomfortable and threatened, maybe I should have thought it was good of these blokes to try so hard to let me know that they were looking... After all, there’s nothing like basking in a prolonged and unsolicited male gaze to get you feeling ready to smash the patriarchy...

Until next time...
Sardony x

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