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July 09, 2013

Through Different Eyes

I've always been fascinated by the idea of seeing the world through someone else's eyes:

We have such a hard time not seeing others through the lens of our own wishes and desires. I can't help wondering how much of the anger and nastiness between men and women would vanish if we were all required to walk a few miles in each other's shoes.

Is it really so difficult as all that?

Posted by Cassandra at July 9, 2013 05:58 AM

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Walking a mile in women's shoes would put me in the hospital. I do appreciate your point, however, particularly as a student of history. I suppose that it's inevitable that when we read about the lives of others we view their world through the lens of own modern mores and sensibilities. But how strange that we will blithely accept the application of "moral relevance" towards the actions of our fellow travelers, yet deny such understanding to those who lived before.

Maybe flats. But definitely not heels.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 9, 2013 09:55 AM

Maybe flats. But definitely not heels.

I'm guessing this means no red fishnets? :)

Posted by: Cass at July 9, 2013 10:23 AM

Men describe what it's like to reach the age when young women don't notice them any more. That's a little like what Dustin Hoffman is describing, but for a plain woman it's lifelong, and the people who can't see her are the ones mostly running the world.

Another movie in this vein that I enjoyed was "Switch." Steve Brooks is murdered by his resentful ex-girlfriends and finds himself reincarnated in Ellen Barkin's body. Not only does he get an idea what it's like to be seen and treated as a woman (a beautiful one, in this case), but it's funny to see what happens to a woman who approaches situations matter-of-factly as a man would. One of the first things he does is have his long hair chopped off and out of the way.

Posted by: Texan99 at July 9, 2013 11:19 AM

I think it would be extremely valuable for women to have to experience life as a man, too.

Life can be difficult for/unfair to men in ways that aren't obvious to us because we deal with a whole 'nother set of (often illogical) expectations. But I will admit that I've often thought it would be good for guys to experience being hit on constantly (just as it would be good for women to experience the whole rejection thing).

Posted by: Cass at July 9, 2013 12:07 PM

Might men try batting their eyelashes to get THAT experience?

Posted by: George Pal at July 9, 2013 12:22 PM

Oh man ....

I've been accused of doing that when I had absolutely no thought of doing anything of the sort :p

Can one bat one's eyelashes without meaning to?

Posted by: Cass at July 9, 2013 12:47 PM

Men describe what it's like to reach the age when young women don't notice them any more...but for a plain woman it's lifelong, ...

Well, I can only speak for my own experiences, but I can't say that women, young or otherwise, have ever noticed me either. At least in that way. I mean, when you are 6'1", and darken the sun when you stand next to someone, they notice in that collision avoidance kind of way. :-)

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 9, 2013 01:25 PM

"Can one bat one's eyelashes without meaning to?"

I think that's called an involuntary reflex.

Posted by: Evil Twin at July 9, 2013 02:58 PM

Does Mr. Hoffman imagine that there are not millions of plain or ugly or fat men who have never been approached by average-looking or beautiful women on the basis of their appearance?

Posted by: RonF at July 9, 2013 04:49 PM

Does Mr. Hoffman imagine that there are not millions of plain or ugly or fat men who have never been approached by average-looking or beautiful women on the basis of their appearance?

I doubt it. Guys are very quick to call each other losers. The thing is, most of us don't want to see ourselves as losers.

So you get the idiot PUA who are just *furious* (FURIOUS, I TELL YOU!!!!) about being turned down by women who are way out of their league looks-wise, yet see nothing wrong with loudly maintaining that they'd kick anything less than a 9 or 10 to the curb. Or their counterparts, women who chase after cads and ignore the quiet, decent guy who isn't flashy or super handsome and then complain about how shallow "men" are and how all they care about is looks.

But the looks aspect really wasn't what I found interesting about the video, though.

It was more that something so obvious didn't even occur to him until he could experience for himself what it would feel like to go through life as the kind of woman he was playing. It should be obvious, but clearly it wasn't.

What I got out of it was more a sense of how wrapped up in ourselves we are, and how much it takes to jolt us out of that state.

Posted by: Cass at July 9, 2013 05:12 PM

Amazing the tiny package you get when you're all wrapped up in yourself, idn'it?
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at July 9, 2013 05:26 PM

Are you implying that it really *isn't* all about Moi??? :)

Posted by: Cass at July 9, 2013 05:35 PM

Pssst!
That's exactly what she said, yanno. She just said it all diplomatic-like. And you know "diplomacy" is really nothing more than the art of telling someone to go to Hell and have them looking forward to the trip.

Posted by: Evil Twin at July 9, 2013 06:19 PM

This is a surprisingly complex subject, for which there is no serious objective answer.

I have little respect for Dustin Hoffman, and regard the silly Tootsie movie as a very ordinary exercise of self absorbed Hollywood weenies presenting their view of reality in their made up story line.

Gender based roles and appropriate behavior can and do vary somewhat over time; the changes can be helpful, painful or destructive in complicated ways. Human nature.

I'm not much impressed or influenced by pop culture media portrayals . . . have little faith that they are even honest/sincere, much less an accurate account.

Best Regards,

Posted by: CAPT Mike at July 9, 2013 11:16 PM

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