Essay on The Communication Impact of Staring

Essay on The Communication Impact of Staring

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Staring involves an interesting conflict. It is an impulse giving us all the potential to be the starers as well as the starees and it is a natural response to our own curiosity bridging a communicative gap. Staring can be a very pleasurable experience as well as a demeaning experience depending on which side of the staring you are faced with. Similar to other bodily impulses, like eating or sex, staring and the way people stare is excessively regulated by the social world. The conflict with staring is between our urge to do it and the social constrains saying we shouldn’t that makes it such an important and intense provocative social exchange. Our society has adapted and has given us different opportunities to come in contact with people from all walks of life. When we simply stroll around the city or turn on any form of media, we see people that are different from us and we are given the opportunity to learn from them. The opportunity that often is not taken. A group of people who were excluded from the public world, were people with disabilities always being the staree and often not the starer. Through Rosemarie Garland-Thomsen’s reading, I will evaluate the roles of the starer and the staree and their impact to the communication of both parties as well as apply these roles to the film, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and the staring roles within that media.

In Chapter 15 of Rosemarie Garland-Thomson’s book, Staring: How We Look, Garland evaluates the good and bad kind of staring as well as how to promote a more beneficial staring experience. Cultural critic Susan Sontag, condemns the intense attraction to repulsive stares looking at other people’s suffering and how we respond to them when we do look. She explains that staring i...


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...at she spoke with many expert starees and discovered that they are much more comfortable with staring exchanges than actual staters are. The reason for that of course, is that they have so much more experience with the staring relationship, so now they themselves actually end up directing the staring relationship in many cases and leading it to a productive end that they want to occur giving the staree power.



Works Cited
Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. "Chapter 15: Beholding." Staring: How We Look. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. 199-208. Print.
Johnson, Harriet McBryde. "Not Dead at All: Why Congress Was Right to Stick up for Terri Schiavo." Slate Magazine, 23 March 2005
Sontag, Susan. On Photography. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1977.
What's Eating Gilbert Grape Dir. Lasse Hallström. Perf. Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp. Paramount Pictures, 1993. DVD.

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