I'm pretty embarrassed to admit this, but I think it's highly relevant to this conversation. I was on the bus today and I actually noticed something that I'd never really paid attention to before: I was assessing people differently based on their gender.
The first group might be labelled "potential threats to my safety." I'd look at faces and evaluate body language to see if any of the folks I identified as male looked like they might become violent. If they did, this would put me into "ready to fight mode" and necessitate frequent monitoring of the individual in question. If they didn't look potentially violent, I lost interest in them.
The second group was labelled "potential sexual partners." I'd look at faces and evaluate body shapes to see if any of the folks I identified as female were people I might (assuming they turn out to be someone I respect and find attractive in terms of personality) want to have sex with. If they were, this would put me into what I will call "flirty eyes" mode, and the person would again receive more visual attention than others.
I hadn't really noticed it before, but I knew immediately that I do this ALL THE TIME. Which may partially explain why I generally don't enjoy the company of men. Who wants to be constantly on guard?
I'm not really surprised, but I am a little disturbed by this. It always sucks to realize how deeply ingrained patriarchy is in me.
Have other folks had this experience? I'm wondering if we all do it. If it's different for women, queer folks, trans folks, etc.
I'm also not sure what to do about it. I don't think it's wise to stop assessing people I identify as men to see if they are potential threats, because some of them actually are. I've been in enough fights to know the importance of being prepared for violence. And I do believe that I would notice and react accordingly if a person I identify as female was acting in a belligerent manner.
On the other side, I have been working to objectify women less, but there's still a lot of room for growth there.
Last edited by Arius; 04-05-2013 at 02:46 AM.