I agree, it is not the camera but men are wary of being thought of as aggressive or as stalkers. Men who do not wish to offend, the nice guys stay away, because they have learned that a surprising percentage of random encounters turn out badly with the woman becoming angry or hostile. Even 5% of encounters turn out badly is lesson enough. The rude, unaware and actual aggressive men, don't care what the woman thinks and goes ahead and that further sets the impression that "men" are that way because the only ones to approach ARE aggressive and not nice. It was not always that way, when I was a young boy, my mom would box my ears if a woman was passed and I did not formally greet her and wish her a pleasant day. Now, doing that would get one arrested or at least detained so the negative reaction has trained 2 generations of men to ignore women in casual situations or actively avoid social contact. The genders are at war with each other,each accusing the other for being unapproachable. Just the opposite social norms are in place here. Women go out of their way to signal that they are approachable and friendly so men feel confident in doing so. Aggressive men are weeded out quickly and ignored and not used as an excuse to judge all men. Same with men assuming that less polite reactions are individual, rare and not characteristic of the female of the species. Take as an example of the coveted phone number. In the west men seek it as a symbol of acceptance and women protect it as if it is their bank account access code and both play games to exchange it. Here its viewed as simple another identification like a first name, and has no emotional import. Ask any woman or man for their phone number, and they will give it, even if they do not like you. But you have to give them a reason to not like you since most people are very non-judgemental. I am older yet, there is no stigma attached to it so I can and have walked up to just about any woman I have wished to, and asked them for conversation over tea or a drink and had them accept if I was polite and seemed to have something interesting to say. Interesting respectful conversation, good humor and decent social skills are well appreciated. I am more wary of the age differences than the woman I meet so when I go dancing, a couple times a week until 6am, I am frequently the only man on the dance floor most of the night, the only one over 30y.o. and only one who does not approach women/girls. But by 2am, I have gotten to meet them all, usually invited to join all girl parties(birthday or other celebrations etc) possibly because I seem to be there for the fun, not to find a girl, and always have something interesting to talk about the topic they are discussing. Almost all my close friends for years here are young women in their 20s to about 32 mainly because they are the ones with similar pursuits and activities. I like being around them because they are optimistic, well educated, well traveled, good humored and rather attractive, fit and stylish.
Yes, I do have a lot of fun;>) Stan St Petersburg Russia