Sunday, April 1, 2012

What did she ask for ?

Does a woman always ask for male attention? Yes, may be at a certain age or a stage in her life. But what does she look for in male attention? Does she want to feel good about the interest that a man has shown in her or does she want to feel violated by it?

When I mention the word “ LECH”  what comes to your mind?  I can see a middle aged man ( yes, it is always a man!!)with shifty eyes looking at us women in a way that embarrasses or angers us. While age may not be the defining factor, the shifty eyes or the sly looks certainly are!! I have spent over four decades on this planet coming across hundreds of them. We find them in public spaces as well as in our personal and professional circles! While many of them probably do not do more than give us the “ look”  there are those who go beyond looks and try to “ grope” . Whatever it is, they continue doing it as long as they feel that they can “get away”  with it!!
So what happens when you have to deal with a lech on a regular basis? Do you ignore it? Will someone believe you if you complain that someone’s gaze violates you? I find that our tolerance levels to this kind of behavior is higher than it should be! We try to ignore it but given the daily interaction with this person it is difficult to do so.

People in our society sometimes confuse lecherous men and flirtatious men. But I would like to come to the defense of flirts. From my experience I can say that a flirt is usually a more honest person. He does not hide his pleasure in being with someone and generally knows his limits! I would say that he has a lot of confidence in himself and treats women in a manner that enhances her self esteem. Besides, flirting is something that both men and women do ( though when women do it , it is interpreted differently and the consequences are often more serious).  Leching ( sorry guys!) is usually done by men!

Now, coming back to the psychology of a lech..  we can say that he is usually a person with little confidence in himself. You will never see him actually look at a woman in the eye or speak to her. He usually sees women as an object of titillation.

Unfortunately, the world around usually takes a judgmental position where a flirt is concerned while a lech hides behind the fold of “respectability”.  How would an organization’s sexual harassment policy for example take into account the problem of lechery? Unless a lech actually does something or says something inappropriate it would be difficult to do anything about them. They would continue to exist, violating women with their eyes. We , in the world of women may spread the word around and avoid this person- those of us who are more confident might confront them and tell them to “ look up” but that’s about it!

And imagine women in organizations who may have to report to bosses who are leches! In such cases there would be no solutions for her unless a sensitive HR system identifies the issue and comes to her rescue!

I sometimes wonder if putting a certified lech on a committee that looks into sexual harassment issues might actually help in putting a stop to the problem? I mean, we would have the spot light on this guy and all women would be watching him closely- remember the story about the thief who was handed the keys to the safe?

While a lech in a public space may be more open about his violating gaze, in a more personal / professional space they are more careful. Many men are surprised when told by their women friends/ colleagues that a certain man is a lech. I wonder if the perception to lechery evades them simply because of their gender? But I don’t think so because if it were their daughter or sister or wife they would be more sensitive.

But I applaud men who take a woman’s word for it- lecherous behavior does not have to be universal. It can be targeted even against just one person!

And about “asking for it”  I can say with confidence that while a woman may enjoy some harmless conversations with a flirt she does not want to have anything to do with a lech!! Interactions with a flirt may occasionally turn into an affair at some point for some women but interactions with a lech has very serious consequences as a  lech has the potential to turn into a rapist and rape is something that no  woman       ” asks for” !

22 comments:

anilkurup said...

Your suggestion of putting the Lech in a committee to oversee harassment of women employees is an idea that can work to restrain the lech.

I would hope that you will not be another blogger to label me as a women baiter and stop commenting my posts, a kind of cold shoulder attitude. This happened when I made some observations in a post on the intrinsic quality found more in the female species be it man or beast.
Well lecherous eyes are more in men , though women are not impervious to lecherous feeling. Honestly personal experience and real life incidences relating to other people.

But as you said the lech man may evolve into a bigger demon and physically violate women. That may not happen with a woman who is lech. Though she may sometimes gather the courage to pester incessantly.

And I must admit which man has not glanced at a viciously beautiful physique or a voluptuous woman with longing. I have , my friends have, but discrete and not to offend the other- nothing beyond discrete looks.

As for the flirts, yes they may be harmless, but can be a nuisance and may be exasperating too. Especially older men. I have known one , my goodness women used to vanish when they heard his voice.

Meera Sundararajan said...

Anil thanks for your comments. I think you are confusing issues- if a woman vanishes when she sees a certain man and sees him as a nuisance then he borders on being a lech! About women not being impervious to lechery I will agree but a lech is defined by his sly behaviour. If he admires women or compliments them instead of looking at them lasciviously he might be more welcome!!

Hariharan Valady said...

I can understand. I also appreciate the distinction you make between Lechs and flirts. I feel it is about lack of confidence, a bit of hippocracy.

Rahul Bhatia said...

That was a very objective analysis Meera! You have managed to single out the dangerous kind while supporting flirts! Well done... flirting is generally healthy as long as it remains in limits of decency:)

Rahul said...

Well crafted and beautifully knit!!:-)

Jack said...

Meera,

A very sensitive issue. A beautiful woman may be looked at admiringly but not stared at constantly. A true gentleman will not give more than a fleeting look even to a woman in skimpy or revealing dress. But I am sure that you would agree that some women do dress to invite more looks.

Take care

Cloud Nine said...

My my...That is one truthful post. Flirting is something we can live with, but not lechery. And LOL at the idea of having a lech in higher echelons of HR:P

Bikramjit said...

hmm something ot think about .. but i would not put him on a committee that over looks sexual harassment issue.. I doubt if it will help rather it might go against the one who is being targeted ..

such people need a public dressing down I think ..
Bikram's

simply mee said...

Well! well! never knew the difference. I had always considered them as same. thanks for the enlightenment.

sunil deepak said...

As you say Meera, men have more difficulty in understanding the idea of "lech". I can understand what you say about those who make stupid comments and those who grope and touch, but not about lechs.

While reading it, I was doing lot of soul searching. There are times when I see a woman who seems very beautiful, I try not to be too obvious in looking at her. But would she see me as a lech?

While reading your post, it is very clear that are writing it with anger, frustration and disgust, so it is very real to you. But I couldn't figure it out completely!

Meera Sundararajan said...

@ Sunil Deepak if you find a woman beautiful look at her by all means in a manner that makes her feel good about herself. Tell her she looks good and she will thank you for it. But don't eye her surreptiously!

Meera Sundararajan said...

@ Simply mee a flirt will compliment you if you look good but he will not stare at you in a way that makes you feel sick.

Meera Sundararajan said...

@ Bikram remember the film Sholay where Jaya gives the theif " Jai" ( Amitabh) the tijori ki chabiyan?

@ Cloud nine- yes it is funny!!! Only hope it does not give the lech some voyeuristic delights!

Rachna said...

Yes, leches are sick perverts. I know the kind you are talking about. We have one "uncle" who leches hopelessly. I avoid him like plague, and my husband has good mind to punch him. Many women are aware of him. But, we don't know what to do with him. Like you said, he will not do anything openly. I feel like taking something and throwing at his face.

http://rachnaparmar.com

tamanna said...

well said.. totally agreed !!

Exciting Songs (ES) said...

I do agree that there are certain men like that. But there are some women who would do many things to attract the attention of such people, including dressing inappropriately, flirting, too much make-up, etc.

Meera Sundararajan said...

Thanks for the comments @ Exciting songs what exactly do you mean "inappropriate" clothing? Why are only women accused of that? Rachna and Tamanna - glad you agree!

Tomz said...

I like this psychological analytical way of interpreting both lechs and flirts. From the next day onwards I will try to become a better flirt :)

Meera Sundararajan said...

Merci Tomz!!!Hope your efforts succeed :)

Jyothi said...

A very interesting differentiation. I agree too. There are more lechs than flirts in this part of the world. It does make you want to walk in a burkha here. Just stare back at them. A cold, bitter stare. They most likely don't have the guts to even look straight into your eyes.

Anupam Patra said...

First of all thanks for reading my post on Sexual Harassment at Work Place. I'm indeed encouraged by your generous gesture.

As far as your post is concerned, I'm in total agreement with most of the thins you've written. You've identified a very serious phenomenon with subtlety.

Very well written.

Regards

UB said...

Good post & appreciate the acceptance of the flirt. As for the Lech - the remedy can be a leech. Keep some in handy and offer to suck the bad blood out whenever faced with one!

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