My Choice- Initiative by Deepika Padukone for Women Empowerment

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Recently, Deepika Padukone and Homi Adajania unveiled a video titled ‘My Choice’ which was aimed at women empowerment. The two and half minute video featured women from different walks of life talking about their choices and why they have their own choices in this otherwise patriarchal society.

While Deepika Padukone stands out as the face of the video, there were other women with the likes of Anupama Chopra, Nimrat Kaur and Anaita Shroff Adajania to name a few. The video had the social media platforms divided into two halves- one which supported Deepika-Homi’s attempt at empowering the women and the other which sparked a protest against the impractical claims made in the video.

Talking about the criticism, Homi Adajania spoke to 9xe.com in defiance of his video. “They don’t understand the context or they are Internet trolls hankering for attention, or maybe they have a different viewpoint,it’s a democracy and this is our view and they are entitled to theirs”, Homi told 9xe.com
Now that’s quite a statement, we must admit!

Homi Adajania’s Vogue video may not be the brightest piece of work on the issue of women empowerment, however, the backlash it has invoked has thrown up some fabulously nonsensical responses. The one that’s doing the rounds of the internet now is a parody of the Vogue video, put together by a production house called Brat House film.

The video, which seems like it has been put together hastily, resorts to stock images and video clips of men who look decidedly non-Indian. They are seen smoking, staring, walking etc, as a man reads out the lines Deepika Padukone is heard reading out in the Vogue video.
Only, some of the lines are rewritten by the creators to perhaps address issues of discrimination that they think men face. There are lines like,
“My choice, to go to the gym, or have a beer belly. After all, the size of my car is the only thing that matters.”
“My neighbour is an engineer, I’m not, let it be,” says the man.
“My car, my house, they can be changed. But my love for you cannot. So treasure that.”

Then the video, predictably, takes on the section from the original video where Padukone talks about a woman’s right to have sex. All the lines are retold, without tweaks in the man’s voice till he says, “Have sex outside of marriage.” The video immediately cuts to a footage of a woman hitting a man and accusing him of adultery while other women yell at him.

Basically, the farcical nature of this reaction video shows how the dialogue on gender has been compromised by hasty PR stunts. The only thing that the Vogue Empower video intended to do is draw attention to the publication, which was perhaps fair if their method and message was not so botched up. The way the video seems to have misrepresented feminism, it basically has been reduced to an excuse pro-patriarchy vigilantes can give to cover up the many inequalities that exist in the society.

For example, this ‘Male Version’. It’s a puerile attempt at making women seem like shallow, gold diggers whose only concerns are a man’s bank balance. Hence, the video’s emphasis on the car, the degree etc. However, any criticism of this lousy video will the necessitate the question that how justified was Adajania and Vogue, in stating that men should be no different that flower vases in the society run by women. That may not have been the original intention of the video, but the language made it seem like that.

Also, the reaction video seems to pay no heed to the fact that adultery, when committed by men, is something that is almost normalised in Indian society. In fact, sexual freedom, by and large is treated as a bit of a male privilege in many sections of the society. While there are women, and men, who strongly protest to such discrimination, there are men, and women, who are comfortable in the familiar confines of such social structures.

Protest against patriarchy has to be fronted by both men and women. And that can’t happen if we are busy trying to put one another down.

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