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Need Your #Opinion on ‘Male Gaze’! #amwriting #thoughts

The protagonist of my story is an Indian American woman, who has moved to New Delhi at the age of 27.

Having lived in New Delhi myself, and having spoken to others who have lived there, I’ve found that the threat of the male gaze is very disconcerting to women on Delhi’s streets. This video addresses this very real problem women face in India.

Now, in my novel, the protagonist faces it too, as does her friend who is Indian.
(I’ve witnessed it to an extent in Malaysia, and in Singapore, I’ve seen this from Indian and Arab men.)

In no way do I mean to generalize this situation. I know that the majority of men would not stare at a woman so she begins to feel uncomfortable– but having experienced it firsthand (despite rigorous efforts at ‘covering up’), I can’t deny that there are some men who would. I also know of women to whom this gaze is welcome, and they specifically dress up for it, and imho that’s their business, and perfectly fine with me.

The reason I’m asking your opinion: I need my protagonist to dwell on this situation– as it is related to the core conflict in this work, and if possible, to compare her experiences in the US where she has grown up (Florida, to be precise) to that in India.

Also, I’d like to know if social class plays into this– I have seen Indian men from an underprivileged background staring at women from a more privileged class–annoying the latter no end. Again I’m not discussing what’s fair, just need an input on what is.

I’ve never been to the US, so I’m not sure how the two situations would compare.

Since a lot of the audience of this blog is from the States, UK and Europe  I’d like to ask you– in your opinion,
does this phenomenon of what is commonly known as ‘leching’ in India, exist in the West? I would further like opinions from Indian women living in the West, and from men anywhere, because I also have a male protagonist, whose voice is equally important in the book.

Please drop a line in the comments– and thanks in advance for any light you can throw on the subject. If you’d rather give your opinion in private, please feel free to mail me at atozstories at gmail dot com, and thanks again for your time should you choose to do so.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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