Garland-Thompsons insight on staring and it’s depth to the meaning of what a stare can convey show that it can be either a positive exchange or an intimidating, dominant one.
Looking at a stare in a positive light, she describes that the role of the staree is just as important of that done by the starer. “A balanced account of starer/staree interactions changes the usual understanding of staring as a one-way act (11).” The social relationship built between the two peoples can be conveyed as an “interpersonal action through which we act out who we image ourselves and others to be.” The stare can either engage in the stare or avoid it. The way in which one reacts to the stare can establish the relationship of the stare. The staree had to have a unique quality about he or she in the beginning, that quality can also determine the reaction of the stare. “The visibly disabled body intrudes on our routine visual landscape and compels our attention… (20),” which would undoubtedly draw stares because we stare at what “we don’t expect to see (3).” However, as she explain we also stare at what we expect to see, the universal idea of beauty draws attention and likeness to our eyes.
The oppressive aspects of staring also have to do with the relationship between the two people. A stare can convey social status and also gender. The dominant male gaze is a gendered norm in our culture. It provides the fact of higher position and domination. Facial expression of from a stare also provide the idea of gender as women smile more than men which shows a sense of subtle kindness that steers away from the dominant male. “Visual acts such as staring and smiling help to create, enforce, and register our social positions (42).” Stares transfer into the gender category as ”men need to assume the position of dominators and women of subordinates to uphold social order and find their place in it (43).” The man staring dominance creates an advantage over the women’s kind nurturing smile, although in a case where a woman may take the dominant position, it would not be out of the norm to see her abide by this masculine stare and smile less.


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