Disclaimer: none of these approaches should be used in a dangerous situation, the only rule you should be following then would be to get yourself to a safe area, away from any danger.
- Direct their gaze elsewhere: If you notice someone staring and you’ve got your shoulders out you have a couple of options. Try covering up your exposed body parts with some colorful stickers, or wrapping yourself entirely in bubble wrap. The goal is to alter your own life dramatically because of someone else’s wrongdoings. It’s the most sensible choice.
- Reason with the gazer: Offer the gazer some other activities they can partake in besides staring at you. Perhaps ask them to pick up a hobby, or maybe even a book. It’s crucial for them to get some more thoughts in their head that don’t revolve around making others uncomfortable for their own enjoyment.
- Gaze harder and stronger: The only way to fight fire is with fire, right? So if you want to beat the male gaze, you have to have an even stronger gaze. Open your eyes up as wide as you can, poke your head out, and stare as hard as you can right back. And no matter what: do NOT break eye contact.
- Covering the gazer’s eyes: If you’re going somewhere you know there will be a lot of gazing, it might be necessary to keep a roll of duct tape with you. Simply use the duct tape to quickly cover someone’s eyes if they’re helplessly incapable of not staring at you. It’s a quick and easy DIY that many women have found to be super effective against the male gaze.
- Start an argument with the gazer: It doesn’t need to be loud and it doesn’t need to make sense. It just needs to be distracting and obnoxious to the gazer. Ask them what’s wrong with them, ask them why they’re sitting like that, start speaking in a native tongue that you know they don’t speak. And no matter what, do not let them get one word in. They probably already have preconceived misogynistic beliefs about you that involve “being dramatic,” so go ahead and prove them right.
- Gang up on the gazer: Maybe the gazer is gazing because they feel like no one can stop them. This is when it’s time to utilize the ‘power in numbers’ tactic. If you’re in an area where there are a lot of people, gather them together. And if you’re not, call some of your friends— make sure you tell them it’s an emergency so they rush over. You and the group of people you’ve gathered can sit and stare right back at the gazer. This tactic is similar to option #3, but more intimidating and (hopefully) humiliating.
- Punch the gazer: So you’ve tried being accommodating to the gazer, but it seems like they really won’t let up. This is when you should take matters into your own hands— literally. A nice strong punch in the jaw might sound violent, however you can rest assured knowing you tried every single other option. If the gazer is physically stronger than you, either go for a surprise attack or call someone who can punch the gazer in your place.
Don’t forget, they brought this on themselves.