Spectator Article About Staring At Women Prompts Police To Issue 'Pervy Bloke' Warning

Quite a week for "creepy and misogynistic" journalism.
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The Spectator magazine has faced a backlash after publishing an article where a journalist argued in favour of a man’s right to “stare at women”.

Labour MP Dawn Butler called the Cosmo Landesman’s piece “creepy” and “misogynistic” as he responded to Transport for London’s poster campaign warning people against “intrusive staring”.

The campaign aims to keep women safe against “common examples of sexual harassment”, including cat calling, exposing, upskirting and touching.

And posters have been put up warning: “Intrusive staring of a sexual nature is sexual harassment and is not tolerated.”

Transport for London

In his rebuttal, Landesman went on a Tube ride “to stare at women”, used a variety of stares from “sexy beast” to “pervy bloke”, and argued it was “impossible to resist the gravitational pull” of an attractive face.

Landesman wrote: “For the purposes of research I went on a Tube ride to stare at women – and yes, I know how weird that sounds. At any sign of discomfort I would immediately have stopped. But believe me, staring – sexual or otherwise – is not an easy thing to do. Most men are too wimpy to make eye contact. We are socialised not to let our eyes linger, first by our parents – ‘It’s rude to stare!’ – and then by the #MeToo activists – ‘It’s sexism to stare!’

“I tried a mix of stares – my best sexy stare, my pervy bloke stare, and my just-escaped-from-the-mental-hospital stare – each for at least 30 seconds. I got one titter, one smile and one roll of the eyes. Most women did not notice I was staring. Why? Because on Tubes most women – and men – are so busy staring at their phones that they don’t pay attention to what anybody else is doing.”

The article comes days after The Mail on Sunday’s much-criticised report on Angela Rayner, which caused an outcry over claims the Labour deputy leader crossed and uncrossed her legs during prime minister’s questions to distract Boris Johnson. The reaction was as one might expect.

But when the police force that monitors the rail network feels it has to intervene, perhaps you haven’t got the tone quite right.

The British Transport Police tweeted: “Women who’ve been on the receiving end of this behaviour know when it’s intrusive, and we’ll always take them seriously. If you’re ever made to feel uncomfortable, please do text us on 61016. Oh, and please don’t travel on the tube to try out your ‘pervy bloke stare’, thanks.”


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