Surely many people have heard the phrase ‘an eye for an eye’, but ‘a stare for a stare’! I do not think so. ‘The meaning of the principle, an eye for an eye, is that a person who has injured another person receives the same injury in compensation. The phrase… is a quotation from several passages of the Hebrew Bible.’ (ref. wikipedia) And according to yourdictionary.com, ‘Stare' means a fixed gaze that is held for a lengthy amount of time’. So, does it demand to stare at the person who stares at you?
Obviously, few questions would pop up in your mind!
What is wrong with staring?
Apparently nothing is wrong with staring. Once in a while – when you were in school, college or even in university - you realised that someone is staring at you. You feel the same till now - while you commute or when you wait for a ride; at your workplace or say at a party; when you enjoy having fun and roaming around the city with your pals; when you work with colleagues or while you are shopping – alone or with folks; when sitting alone and cherishing your own time at park; and countless places and times that cannot be included because it’s endlesssss…
Does ‘stare’ hurt?
There is no visible injury, but the constant gaze makes you anxious; the gaping compels you to shrink your existence; gawking causes you to feel naked; the intended glance give you the vibe that you are crooked; the ogle makes you feel like a creature at a zoo; the watchful eyes confers the sense of insecurity; and you intuit of being judged 24×7×12 – in short, your entire life. There are other emotions which cannot be expressed with the limited synonyms of ‘stare’, but can really be perceived and it truly instigates psychological injuries.
Why this staring?
Yes! For long, just like you, I have asked this question repeatedly to myself. Why a particular person is staring at me? ‘Is it because I am tall, short, fat, thin, fair, dark, differently-able, young, middle aged, old, ugly, beautiful, literate, illiterate, rich, poor, intelligent, stupid, native or foreigner. I have found none of these, not really!
The only reasons are: I AM A WOMAN, I AM A YOUNG GIRL, I AM AN ADOLOCENT GIRL, AND I AM A GIRL CHILD!
The reply is quick and easy – ‘men’. But women also stare at other women with their judgmental feature which is induced by men. Women are working actively as agents of patriarchy to endure it within the society. It would be tough to come across women, around the globe, who have not experienced ‘staring’ in her course of life regardless of class, religion, race and nationality.
What can be done?
There is no precise solution that can guarantee women to be out of the cycle of staring other than ignoring the act. As a woman, I decided not to disregard it anymore. So, I have made a point clear to myself that from now on, I will be in a relentless battle to send back those ‘stares’ and save myself from the regular psychological stalking. I do not find a reason good enough to feel weak and hide myself from people’s eye just because I think my way of life can’t be controlled, even to some extent, only by their staring!
I would rather ‘stare for a stare’ because people don’t like to taste their own medicine. My longstanding mental twinge stops the moment I decide to stare back to people staring at me to make them uncomfortable as much as I feel before their gaze. Otherwise, as many more fierce behavior onsets from this apparently simple ‘stare’, when others figure out your fears they used to exploit it to have a control over you.
Stepping forward to demonstrate the same hospitality in return would force others to allocate you ‘your space’.