The other day, I watched the Powerful Video about Choice, casting Deepika Padukone among other women. Ms. Padukone speaks very freely and strongly about various factors which ‘cage’ women in many aspects of life – like clothes, sexual orientation, sexual practices, in times, safety, physical appearance, relationships etc. Many other women in at various stages of life are shown, thereby making the video focusing on women in general and not only on Ms. Padukone.
It was an interesting watch. It really does make you think on various aspects, prominent one being the question “What exactly is feminism?”. Some points highlighted in the video are interesting and deserve to be brought into focus, like physical appearance, sexual orientation, safety. These points, in fact, are not just limited to women, they are applicable to everyone. Size, clothes, who you love, how you live should not define how people look at you. In those matters, I agree with the director that such things should be overlooked as it is the person’s personal choice.
However, there are also some points mentioned, which could have been avoided. Factors like sex outside marriage or partying till late or even the point made to show that the guy should be privileged that the girl has chosen him over “7 billion choices” and similar other comments in the video does not appear to be valid. The way women are portrayed in the video is like that of a free-spirited Goddess, who cannot be tied down. It is a bit too surreal an image to portray in the world today.
We, women, aspire to live in a world where we would get to be free with our choices in every way and not be looked down upon or judged by those around us. In fact, breaking the chains of stereotype and becoming free is not just a woman’s dream anymore, many guys share the same dream as well. Today, we are at a transitional stage. Our generation is actually breaking stereotypes in various fields and getting accepted too. Today, we dare to dream and dream big. We are aiming in a very strong manner towards changing the world, and we are achieving it one step at time.
The video felt a bit like the 5 year plan which our Indian Government makes every time. Everyone listens to it intently and then promptly forgets saying it is never going to happen. While making videos meant to project a social message, it would have been much better to focus on immediate goals rather than go for something which feels so far into the future that it almost feels like fiction.
Deepika Padukone is a renowned actor. Most of us look up to her for her independent streak and bold way of lifestyle. In such a circumstance, such a video gives a very unrealistic, even wrong, aim. Most of the viewers of the video are of an impressionable age where such messages are looked upon to be enacted and embedded in their daily lives. Such incidents will bring more trouble than liberation for anyone.
Feminism cannot be taken as losing the sense of responsibility. There is a responsibility towards yourself, your partner, your family, your society that should not be ignored. While being independent and strong-willed is essential, it should not result in naivety. Yes, size 0 or size 15 is a choice, but health issues related to obesity is being irresponsible to yourself. At the same time, anorexia is also an absolutely unhealthy way of life. Marrying or not is definitely a choice, but cheating on your marriage is something which will only result in tremendous hurt. If he is your choice out of 7 billion odd people, you are also his choice out of an equally varied options. Respect that. Knowingly hurting yourself, or someone else, physically or emotionally is not following feminism, it is just being irresponsible.
We live in a culture where traditional values still hold strong. We cannot just get up and turn against them. We should hold hands with the old tradition and bring the new tradition in its footsteps. Our culture makes us Indians unique. We should not forget that. While creating a safer environment is essential, it should not be at the cost of losing our heritage. That said, the message of the video went totally out of the window because of the distorted views shown. Being made roughly around the time of Woman’s Day, they could have done a much better job and focused on the issues that haunt women today instead of putting across a far too futuristic, and an impractical, image to the masses.
A very interesting take by The Hindu on the same topic can be found on this link Potent thoughts, impotent words