Sorry Deepika Padukone, these are not the choices women need

  • Jyoti Sharma Bawa, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 01, 2015 10:55 IST

Deepika Padukone is Bollywood's emerging feminista. Months after taking on a leading newspaper for publishing her inappropriate image with grace and dignity, Deepika revealed that she had battled clinical depression.

Her Live, Laugh, Love Foundation is a great example of what a celeb can achieve if she puts her heart and mind to it.

So, when news emerged that she is headlining a video about the cause célèbre of our times -- women's empowerment -- the expectations were understandably high. The video has notched over 33.2 lakh hits and is still trending.

The numbers say another unqualified success; the substance says it heralds the arrival of Ariel Levy's Female Chauvinist Pig in India. The book critiqued the raunch culture of America where women were objectified and encouraged to objectify each other.

Happily skirting the real issues, this shiny and slick video talks about 'my choice'. So, apparently, all you need to do to bring down patriarchy and bridge the gender gap is to make a choice.

Elite in its appeal and featuring 100 women, most of whom are elite and privileged, it aims to tackle issues about People Like Us. Only, it doesn't.

Instead of talking about rape, female foeticide, domestic violence, harassment at workplace, pay gap, the intrusive male gaze or a million other issues that a woman has to deal with everyday, the video chose to talk about topics which are plain bizarre.

Aesthetically perfect but shallow at core, the video has been made by Homi Adjania for Vogue's Empower campaign. Here are a few thoughts so atrocious from the clip that it made us -- nay, forced us - to write it all down…

To be a size zero or a size 15, they don't have a size of my spirit and never will…

Anorexia is a disease, a health issue that many women - young and old - fall victim to because of the myth of 'attractive' female body type perpetuated by glossy magazines like, wait a minute, Vogue. Or does it have to do with the fact that many women featured in the video do adhere to size zero?

And make no mistake, your soul has got nothing to do with this. That's just a smart line dreamt up by a slick advertising wiz in a shiny office. It sounds good and means exactly nothing.

To marry or not to marry, to have sex before marriage, to have sex outside of marriage, to not have sex, my choice…

What this video is suggesting is called adultery and that's not acceptable for any gender. Imagine a male version of the same video, and now imagine the names you would be calling those men. Cheat is one of the less colourful ones.

In fact, this video riled a man enough that he uploaded a riposte -- a male version of this. You can scroll down to see it.

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…

If a mainstream actor was saying this on video, there would be a dharna outside his house by now. This is not women's empowerment, this is gender stereotyping of the worst kind. It appears as if the team got hold of the worst male stereotypes and decided women need to do all of this as well.

To have your baby or not, my choice…

Really, it is surprising somebody put a pen to the paper and wrote that. Having a baby is as much a woman's choice as a man's. Unless you are hiring a donor.

Deepika unclasping her bra is not empowerment. A size zero woman isn't either. Your pain cannot be my pleasure. The bindi on my forehead is an ornament with a deep significance. I am the universe and so are you.

The aim of feminism is to ensure men and women are equal. That's the world I want. Not the one where my empowerment comes at the cost of your pain.

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