If you are on any kind of social media platform, you already know what I am talking about. Social media is flooded with articles about the said video and the arguments that followed it. I, personally, am stunned by the violent reactions that the video has garnered. What was supposed to be a simple video featuring Deepika Padukone for women empowerment has turned into a deadly battle of wits.
The video was released jointly by Deepika and director Homi Adajania in association with Vogue India as part of their campaign on women’s empowerment. Based on a piece written by Kersi Khambatta, the video also showcases 99 women from all over India posing infront of the camera as Deepika’s voiceover narrates lines in a black and white theme. When I watched the video, I was awe-struck at the amazingly bold lines with beautiful deep meaning. It was impactful, to say the least. Deepika’s voice is strong, bold and stoic. She conveys the dialogues in the most impactful way. I think that this is a beautiful piece of work written.
I was shocked at how much negative response has this video garnered. The most troublesome thing was that the actress was at the receiving end of the scorching tongues. I felt bad for her. Truly. She is an actress. Why blame her for something she was paid to do and had not written it herself? (Before someone calls me unbiased as I am Deepika’s fan, yes I am her fan but I am not blind. I respect her as a woman.)
I saw the male spoofs version too and realised how dumb men are (which is hardly a secret). They took the video as per the words and showed how “hypocritical” and “double standards” the society is. If they do the same things that the video says, then they would be called bastards and stuff like that. Well, why don’t we focus on women empowerment in a MALE dominated society before we help and raise the positions of a POOR MALE in a PATRIARCHAL society? And yes, before making spoofs on some video, one must always understand the video or one has the risk of being proved as a fool. 😉
I was astonished when some women even commented how “unethical and catastrophic” this video was to the relationships and society for promoting sex outside marital bonds. Well, in my opinion the video never promoted sex outside of marriage. It simply talked about the option of having a choice!
The only thing that went wrong with the video was that the makers forgot that this is India where words are taken as they are. Having done English Honours, I know that words hold ambiguous meanings. There may be two, three and even four meanings to the same sentence. Instead of using poetical language, the writer should have simply told the facts. But ofcourse the writer isn’t at fault. Some things have been taken out of context and being mocked at. (Dear writer, when someone tells you how bad you have written and how double meaning your work is, say “I am only responsible for what I say, not what you understand.” It’s sure to keep them shut up.)
Here is what I understood by the controversial lines conveyed in the video and what I think they mean:
- “to wear the clothes that I like”: Do not tell me that I called for it when I get raped for wearing short skirts. I didn’t. It’s my body and I choose to dress it the way I want it. I wouldn’t shy from wearing dresses simply because I am fat. I wouldn’t shy away from wearing a bikini simply because you are oogling at my assets. Do not tell me what to wear. I wouldn’t cover myself up simply because you can’t look away.
- “to be size 0 or size 15”: Whether I am a size 0 or have an hourglass figure or I am obese for that matter, it’s my choice. I choose to maintain my body, exactly the way I want. (Deepika got condemned for this since she sells fitness products to get into shape. So what? It’s her choice to have that particular size.)
- “to love a man, woman or both” : I might be a lesbian, a normal girl or bisexual. But that’s who I am. You have no right to judge me. It’s my choice to embrace the love in a form that fulfils me.
- “to come home when I want”: I may have a career that’s demanding. Don’t stand in my way of progress and give me space to grow. Let me progress and bloom. Give me my freedom.
- “to have sex before marriage, to have sex out of marriage, or not have sex at all, my choice” : Do not call me a slut if I give in to my love for a person. Don’t expect me to be a virgin if I can’t expect the same. Don’t expect me to stay chaste to our marital bonds while you don’t stay true to them. Don’t expect me to have sex with you simply because it’s your right as a husband. It’s my body and I decide what I want to do with it. (Yes, I know, having sex outside of marriage and breaking the marital bonds was what got people riled up. But what would you expect from a woman who is still legally wedded to a person who has deserted her with no hope of return? To stay chaste to her bond or to try and give love another chance?)
- “my choice to have your baby or not”: Yes, without your sperm I cannot have the baby. But this is my body. I decide whether or not I want to put myself through the turmoil and pain of having a baby. Having a baby or not should be my choice, after-all, it’s me who has to keep and feed the baby for nine months in my own body. It’s not your body that’s going to change due to this. It’s mine. And when it comes to my body, it should be my choice. I want to have a baby when I am ready for it and not when you decide. (The pain of childbirth is unimaginable. It should be her choice to want to go through it or not.)
- “my choices are like the snowflakes, they make me unique.. I am the tree of the forest. I am the snowflake not the snowfall”: My choices in life shape me as an individual. I am not a herd. I am an individual. Stop comparing me to others. Stop stereotyping me. Stop judging me. I am different from others. I am me.
- “I choose to empathise or be indifferent”: Do not expect me to understand your point of view, always. I might understand you sometimes but I have the right to be indifferent to you when you cease to make sense to me. Don’t expect me to be always understanding and caring. It’s my choice to give you another chance or not.
I hope I have put some things into perspective. This is my way of viewing the video… through my rose tinted glasses 🙂
Disclaimer: This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner. Copyright intended. Healthy feedback is always welcome 🙂
- Mahak Goel