I’m going to be doing a series of blog posts where I take a random Trope from tvtropes.com, and I look at a way of using this trope poorly, then (hopefully) better.
Today’s topic: My eyes are up here
So I usually see this trope as a way to show that some guy is a sleaze bag or can’t control himself by gaping at a woman’s chest. It’s a shortcut to say “this guy doesn’t respect women.”
I should qualify by saying I’m male, and I’m also very much of the opinion that women only have breasts because it was a trait that men selected for as our species evolved. So yeah, we’re literally wired to look, and women only have them because we, as men, prefer women with breasts over not (or only during pregnancy/breastfeeding.) So yea, ladies, you have us to thank. But it’s not all that bad, why do human males seem to be one of the only species with non-extendable penises? Did women perhaps select that trait for us?
Anyway, back to my opinion. I hate this trope. Men look, but the mature ones glance, and move on. Now it’s late at night, and I don’t have any women around to ask about their opinion so I might do a followup tomorrow once I’ve had my wife read my blog post (or if you’re a woman, please let me know your opinion on this.)
But it’s my understanding, that most women understand men are going to look, and usually accept the brief glance down as they take you in. It’s just something that at least half, and I’d argue far more than half of the population is going to do. And yes, studies have been done on women’s vision and they look at your boobs just as much as men do.
You meet someone, their eyes dart down, then back up, and you have a conversation eye to eye.
So if men and women both stare just as much as the other, why does this trope only seem to be used against men? That’s probably my biggest beef with this trope, as a shortcut to say “this guy is sleazy.” I think there are much more effective and evocative methods to accomplish showing that a particular character is sleazy, especially with dialogue. There is something magical about a well-written villain pouring saccharine-sweet words over a woman in a bar to give her the willies. Must more effective than just having him stare like he’s a 12-year-old boy.
How have I seen this trope used well? Mostly with jokes, and it’s usually only effective as a joke when delivered by a guy, or woman to woman, which then opens up for the staring woman to make a comment that would have normally gotten a similar male slapped.
However, the best time I’ve ever seen this used was in the Simpsons when Homer was starting at a woman’s chest (I believe it was a fairly early episode) and he says “I’ve made my choice.”
Brilliant writing, and yes, used for humor, which is where this trope should stay.