Staring How we Look Summary

“Staring how we look” in essence is a summary of how we look at staring in both a positive and negative light. In the reading assignment I learned that staring is more then an autonomic piece of behavior, it is also a method of observing and leaning.

“ Staring it proposes, an intense visual exchange that creates meaning”(9) what this means is that staring has deeper meaning then the gesture can convey. A starrer’s body language can play an important role in either arming or disarming a staree’s body language. Staring can serve many different purposes some of which are for merely academic pursuits and others for more insidious acts.  This is what brings me to Garland-Thompson’s ideas of generative and oppressive acts of staring.              To start the stare is distinct from the gaze, which has been traditionally associated with negative aspects of staring. The word “ generative” means something that has productive capability, having said that the generative aspects of staring are numerous. As Garland-Thompson points out “ we stare because we are curious” (01), so by staring we are gathering information about a subject that we do not know or ordinarily see, “ we stare when ordinary seeing fails, when we want to know more” (01). A reoccurring theme in this part of the book is that we stare when something catches our attention and when we are trying to gather information, when we are pondering details about a subject. Ultimately generative staring is another measure that the mind uses to think and articulate. The negative aspect of staring is oppressive staring generative staring ugly relative for lack of a better term. The word “oppressive” means, dominating harshly, highly stressful and lastly stifling. This form of staring is the gaze, this form of staring is vastly different from generative staring methods because it serves a different purpose, which is to ultimately dominate and undermine the staree. The gaze is used as a disciplinary stare meant to intimidate and ultimately gain influence over the staree. An example of the oppressive gaze can be seen when a parent is gazing at their child after there child has done something wrong, this gaze gets the Childs attention and the child stops doing the action. In conclusion there many reasons why we stare, staring is a natural action ingrained into humans to be used as multipurpose tool.



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