Why TheDelhiWalla’s ‘Chicks of Delhi’ is a problematic perspective on the female denizens of Delhi?

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Why TheDelhiWalla’s ‘Chicks of Delhi’ is a problematic perspective on the female denizens of Delhi?

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The saying that news spreads faster than fire is not completely incorrect, especially in today’s social media age. A 2008 article by a famous writer and blogger of Delhi, Mayank Austen Soofi, more prominently recognised by his alias ‘The Delhi Walla’ has come to light. This article, titled ‘Chicks of Delhi’ and subtitled ‘Your guide to Delhi’s eye candy’ describes grotesquely and in-depth how a man in Delhi can ogle and find eye-candy girls in Delhi. Still readable on the writer’s old BlogSpot website, the article has been taken down from his currently active site on WordPress. 

Is the article title just clickbait for the young impressionable audience of Mr. Soofi? What is exactly wrong with this article? Well, in short, everything! From the title to the contents of the article, to the blatant objectification of women and the photos of women (seemingly taken without consent) with even more derogatory and objectifying captions, this article does not have even an ounce of saving grace.

Here are some of the grotesque highlights from this article written by a 21st-century published author

(Kindly note that the sentences used by The Delhi Walla do not conform with our beliefs and are entirely direct quotes from his article)

  • “The Delhi Walla has finally compiled a guidebook of what this city is perhaps most admired for: its women. Here is the list of hangouts in the capital where voyeurs can cool off their eager eyes.”

Well. When Delhi’s favourite photojournalist terms Delhi women as the element worthy of being most ‘admired’ for, we really question the outlook of men on this city. Built and founded by the courageous Tomars in the 11th century with beautiful palaces and structures built by the Delhi Sultanate and Mughals, and finally adorned by beautiful contemporary roads and landscaped gardens, by the British. Some of the most prominent leaders during the freedom struggle, including women, rose out of Delhi. Despite the rich art, culture and history of this city, it is saddening to hear that this is what grabs the attention of Mr. DelhiWalla. Also, pro-tip, if you want to cool off your eyes, we suggest you rub an ice cube under them, instead of lecherously staring at the women of Delhi.

  • “Risk Factor”

A recurring element in each subheading of Mr. DelhiWalla’s article is “Risk Factor”, basically describing how risky it is to stare at a woman at a particular location. He basically does recognise that there is a ‘risk factor’ behind practising this morally and constitutionally illegal act of crossing boundaries. In one of the subheadings, he describes the risk factor as “Not high. Aunties like it.”, signalling his audience that it is okay to try your chance at this particular location because that is what, ASSUMABLY, these aunties want.

  • “Deep cleavages and low jeans makes this pedestrian strip one of Delhi’s most erotically-charged destinations….Even bookshops are not safe from the invasion of the hotties.”

A new spatial category in Delhi was invented by the writer– “erotically-charged destinations” which is both demeaning to the city and its female denizens. 

  • “If you have a thing for goras, then Paharganj must be your getaway. Its rooftop cafes, roadside bookshops, and makeshift henna stalls shimmer and glimmer with bare arms and barer legs. Loads of Israeli and European tourists lounge about – almost naked”

According to an India Today article from 2018, Delhi accounts for one-third of cases in India against foreigners. The stats coupled with the kind of mentality depicted in the article, can we really question the tourists who are afraid to travel to Delhi? 

The cherry-on-the-top of this vile cake is the photos of women, we hope taken consensually but seemingly not. One particular photo is of a bunch of women in naqab titled ‘What lies behind’. Let me tell you what does- A woman with dignity and autonomy that unfortunately is taken away by men like Mr. DelhiWalla who conveniently choose to take it away for their pleasure and aesthetics. 

Final Take: The nuances of feminism, morality, boundaries, consent might be difficult to understand, and is learnt slowly as a person progresses over the year. We are sure that Mr. Mayank Austen Soofi has grown both professionally and morally over the years. While concepts of objectification and consent present themselves to be very simple even in 2008, the motive of this article is not to cancel the accomplished writer. After all, to err is human. A public apology and an explanation of his wrongdoings to his impressionable audience are the least we can expect from this writer who manages to put out 20 posts on his Instagram per day. 

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About The Real Chick of Delhi

Hi! I am the Real Chick of Delhi, trying to show you Delhi from a female perspective. Living in a man's world, working a usual 9 to 5 job and carrying a pepper spray every time I have to step out of the house, welcome to my beautiful city and what it means to be a Real Chick in Delhi.

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