My response to 'My choice' Deepika Padukone's video
Transcript: My body, my mind, my choice To wear the clothes I like; even if my spirit roams naked My choice; to be a size 0 or a size 15 They don’t have a size for my spirit, and never will To use cotton and silk to trap my soul is to believe that you can halt the expansion of the universe Or capture sunlight in the palm of your hand Your mind is caged, let it free My body is not Let it be My choice To marry, or not to marry To have sex before marriage, to have sex out of marriage, or to not have sex My choice To love temporarily, or to lust forever. My choice To love a man, or a woman, or both Remember; you are my choice, I’m not your privilege The bindi on my forehead, the ring on my finger, adding your surname to mine, they’re all ornaments and can be replaced-- My love for you cannot, so treasure that My choice; to come home when I want. Don’t be upset if I come home at 4am . Don’t be fooled if I come home at 6pm, My choice; to have your baby or not To pick you from 7 billion choices or not. So don’t get cocky My pleasure might be your pain My songs, your noise My order, your anarchy Your sins, my virtues. My choices are like my fingerprints They make me unique. I am the tree of the forest I am the snowflake not the snowfall You are the snowflake. Wake up Get out of the shit storm. I choose to empathise. Or to be indifferent I choose to be different I am the universe Infinite in every direction. This is my choice.
The above video has not only gone viral, it has stirred up a hornet's nest and created a tsunami of opinions. My Facebook feed is still reeling under the assault and my Twitter feed is full of questions asking what I think of it. So I thought I would blog about it. (It's my choice :) )
Most people seem to be outraged because they have a problem with three things
1. The sex outside marriage bit. (Sex outside marriage isn't empowering women.)
2. The fact that a magazine like Vogue has taken an initiative
3.It addresses only Elite women
There is even a guy who has gone ahead and made a video which is the male response to it.
And another guy who has quoted a comment from a woman that says if he wants to ask for a dowry, it is his choice. He goes on to diss Deepika's movie Cocktail and also says that it was TOI's choice to click snaps of her cleavage. (Please!!)
Here is what I think.
I totally support the video and the statement it makes. And no--it isn't just for 'elite'--it is speaking up for every Indian woman, especially the ones who have the least freedom.
Whether a woman has sex outside her marriage or not, is between her and her husband. It is not for the world to judge and point fingers. Nowhere does the video say that in order to be liberated you have to have sex outside marriage nor does it endorse adultery.
The fact that most men seemed to have picked just that point to respond to, says a lot. The male response to the video ends with 'We do not support cheating or adultery'. The male response was fine and had me nodding in agreement, till it showed a woman shouting and raving, holding her guy by the collar for supposedly having an affair. Again stereotypical humour and gender typecasting.
It missed the point completely. For most married Indian women, what they wear depends a lot on what their husbands say and what their in-laws want. I know so many women who dress in a certain way to please their in-laws and husbands. After a woman gets married, there is a sense of 'ownership' that creeps in---like she 'belongs' to her husband. And the husband has a say in what she chooses to wear, where she goes and the male friends she meets. You might argue that it is the same for a Indian married male. But it isn't. He somehow isn't as accountable as a married woman is. (Think about it.)
Nowhere does the video shame all men. It is merely asserting that a woman has a right to make choices. As much as a man does.
The thing is in our country, a girl definitely has lesser choices compared to a guy. And after marriage, the choices that a Indian woman has, definitely reduces further. She has to live 'within the lines'.
My book 'The Secret Wishlist' deals with just this. The life of an Indian woman, after her marriage, and the choices that she makes. Yes, it deals with adultery/extra-marital affair. I got mails from thousands of Indian women who wrote to me after reading the novel, telling me that it felt as though I had got inside their heads and written out their stories. Many many men wrote to me saying that my book was a wake-up call for them to not take their wives for granted.
This is what I had said in one of my newspaper columns
"In a country where the female infanticide rate is amongst the highest in the world, where we lose 3 million girls in infanticide in a span of a decade, the need of the hour is to stop treating a woman as a mere sex object. Our society needs to recognise that a woman is far more than her body. Our bawdy song lyrics objectify women, comparing them to a ‘tandoori chicken’ among other things. At family weddings lyrics that celebrate the posterior of a woman are played loudly, stating that ‘all the boys go crazy when I shake my ……’. Our country sees nothing wrong in that and anyone protesting is told to lighten up---it is only a joke and to take it in the lighter vein.
But as long as the attitude of hypocrisy prevails, and as long as women are still expected to be ‘good girls’ suppressing their sexual needs, putting everyone else before them, this treatment of women will continue. If we need to truly progress, we need to look at women differently, and respect their needs. A truly liberated woman is one who is comfortable enough with her sexuality and who doesn’t have to shake any body part to prove that she is sexy. "
All that the above video does is assert the right of women to choose whatever makes them happy.
The very fact that it makes so many men uncomfortable (and so many women too) is something to think about.
Make your choices wisely. (And of course there are consequences to the choices you make.) You need to think about what you want and how it will affect the people who you truly care about. You need to take care of yourself first. Because only if you are happy can you make others happy.
You need to choose.
You need to live in a manner that suits you.
And in the end, a truly empowered person--whether a man or a woman--is one who is at peace with the choices that he/she makes.
Buy my books: http://is.gd/preetibooks