ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Gazing, Leering, Prying

The use of hidden cameras in private spaces like changing rooms shows how the male gaze objectifies women in an act of chauvinistic aggression.

In a visit to a boutique in Candolim, Goa, the Minister of Union Human Resource Development, Smriti Irani, spotted a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera reportedly aimed at the interior of the changing room through its ventilator. It had been supposedly recording footage of women changing clothes, for three to four months. Four employees of the Candolim store were arrested and later granted bail by a Goa court. A day after the incident, a company spokesperson claimed that there were no hidden cameras anywhere in the store, including the trial rooms, and that the camera in question was a part of the surveillance system installed in the shopping area.

Reports of several complaints of hidden cameras in changing rooms of malls and hotel suites have been coming in from across the country. But women generally do not file police complaints in these cases for fear of media attention and legal hassles. Such cases represent the worst form of the “male gaze,” which invades their privacy in the most detestable manner and reduces them to mere erotic objects to be savoured clandestinely at leisure.

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