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“My Eyes Are Up Here” is an expression typically used by women to remind men that they should maintain eye contact with the female speaker, instead of staring at her breasts. Online, the phrase is commonly used in feminist commentaries, images of scantily clothed female superhero characters, such as DC Comic’s Power Girl, or alternatively, in the context of a male-identifying person who wants to detract attention from his body.
While the phrase was used as early as 1996 in newspapers describing events that took place during an MTV dating game show, some of the earliest conversation about the phrase in an online forum took place in 2005 on the BodyBuilding.com message boards. In a thread posted on January 28th, 2005 in the relationship help subforum, a male is seeking help after noticing many people have been staring at his large penis through his clothes. Though it is unclear whether or not the OP was just being sarcastic, many commenters took his post seriously and offered tips on how to minimize the appearance of his penis through clothing.
In March 2005, the phrase was used as a poll option in a thread on the Democratic Underground forums discussing how females deal with their male coworkers ogling them at work. Later that year, the phrase became associated with the DC Comics superhero Power Girl after she used it in a September 2005 issue of JSA Classified Volume 1. Though the character had been known for her bust-revealing costume since her debut in 1976, this instance was one of the first times the character pointed it out in this manner.
In 2006, a thread on the Straight Dope message board was posted in which a man complained about a woman with glitter all over her chest uttering the phrase to him at a bar, leading to a lengthy conversation about objectification amongst the posters. In 2009, “my eyes are up here” was used as a title of an image depicting a sugar glider sitting in a woman’s shirt on Cute Overload. Later that year, a Facebook fan page titled “My eyes are up here, not down there!” launched, but did not see much activity. Men’s interest websites including Man Couch and The Chive have used the phrase as a title for compilations of photos featuring scantily-clad women. “My eyes are up here” was also utilized in a skit in the March 31st, 2010 episode of South Park titled Medicinal Fried Chicken. After the character Randy Marsh finds his testicles have swollen to a gargantuan size, he begins shouting the phrase to people sharing at him.
The phrase is also used as a hashtag on Tumblr, Flickr and deviantArt on photos of women that are primarily focused on their breasts. It is also used as a caption or tag on photos of both men and women who want to surreptitiously point out a body part or attribute, using the phrase “my eyes are up here” as a way to point out that viewers will be distracted by it. A TV Tropes page also exists to point out references to the phrase used in mass media.
Democratic Underground – Poll question: DU Women: How much does it bother you when coworkers stare at your chest?