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An article in The Spectator recounting one journalist's defence of staring at women on public transport has been widely criticised, unsurprisingly.

The likes of Dawn Butler MP called the publication out for publishing the "creepy and misogynistic" article which responded to Transport for London's poster campaign warning people against intrusive staring.

The piece recounts journalist Cosmo Landesman's experience going on the tube to stare at women, as you don't.

He 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!’

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"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."

Continuing his bizarre tale, he acknowledged that "nobody, except sex pests and pervs, wants to make women feel unsafe or uncomfortable" before appearing to blame women for finding staring offensive. "The problem is that some women are so sensitive to the most unobtrusive acts of male interest – ‘sexual microaggressions’ as they’re called – that any flicker of attention is branded a form of harassment," he wrote.

Other lowlights include Landesman writing: "What a dull, joyless life it would be if we couldn’t enjoy the view of a magnificent smile. In a world where we can’t look at each other with a hint of sexual interest, what happens to love at first sight?"

And: "I confess that I look at attractive women on public transport regularly. And sometimes a look probably lingers a bit too long. I still have the hope that maybe one day those beautiful eyes across from me will look back with pure adoration: the old love-at-first-sight fantasy. Does this make me pathetic? Yes. Does it make me a perv? No."

Reacting to it on social media, people thought it was ridiculous:

Meanwhile, it comes in a week in which an unnamed Tory MP stands accused of watching porn in the House of Commons next to a female colleague and deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner was the subject of a "misogynistic" piece in the Mail of Sunday accusing her of distracting Boris Johnson with her legs.

It has been a great week to be a woman.

indy100 has contacted The Spectator to comment on this story.

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