“I do not need anybody to tell me what empowerment is. I know what it means, thanks to the Oxford dictionary for that, and how easy it has become in today’s world to label anything as ‘women empowerment’. Only a few understand the negative baggage it carries along with it. ‘Videos’ can never define empowerment in totality and even if they try to, they either lose focus or merely become a laughing stock in the society.”
Didn’t something similar happen with the ‘My Choice’ video too? The movie was launched amidst immense praise but soon people began criticising it, and now, there are so many spoofs available online. Yes, that’s true! Here’s one of them.
Instead of focusing on gender equality, the movie, My Choice, does portray women as superior to men. Well, that’s the ‘kind’ of ‘feminism’ I don’t agree with in the first place. However, one cannot deny certain issues the movie raises, no matter how va[o]gue their representation is!
What is the movie ‘My Choice’ about?
Everyone in my class has been talking about just one thing ever since the short movie ‘My Choice’ was released. People even have nicknames now. -_-
“The vogue video. Deepika Padukone’s video. My Choice video. The new liberating video. The video which finally has a meaning. The video which ‘talks’ about change.”
So, here it is. The video everyone has been going gaga about is not just a simple video but a short movie directed by Homi Adajania for Vogue India. The movie talks about ‘my choice’ but one is clueless about whose choice the movie is really trying hard to focus on? Over 92 women have been a part of the short movie which Adajania directed. However, the question which needs to be raised has still not been raised by many. How can the choices of these ‘n’ number of women, who have played a role in the movie, determine our choices as a whole?
Where one can draw multiple conclusions from the video, one cannot ignore the fact that the movie does highlight the fundamental choices we all have. But, is it really a question of a woman’s choice? How often are we given these choices? Also, the fact that by giving us these very choices, the ONLY choices to choose from, doesn’t the society always finds a way to limit our growth as individuals? Well, your opinion may differ from mine but it’s something serious to think about. It’s more like circling an individual and luring him/her by these choices so that the individual never even thinks of crossing that circle and exploring what lies beyond the obvious.
Well, the video is both current and trending and has gone viral on the social media ever since its release. Just like a positive side, it has a negative one too! Where some cannot stop praising the movie in totality, there are some who are criticising it on the same grounds.
Is ‘My Choice’ really about ‘my’ choice?
So, what’s all the jazz about ‘My Choice’? What can beat Vogue and one of the top Bollywood actress in a joint venture which aims at ‘Enlightening’ the masses, both men and women? Let us be honest about this, at least to ourselves.
The movie raises certain fundamental rights we all have but these rights are the ones which we are not allowed to practice freely since they are looked down upon in the society. Hats off for highlighting these rights! :D
The right to have sex before marriage is one of them. The right to choose one’s work option is another one. So is the right over one’s body, also in terms of reproduction, which is beautifully discussed in the movie.
Right to have Sex, That’s Everyone’s choice!
Why can’t a woman have sex with whosoever she wants to when a man can? Here comes in the idea of morality and how people look at such women. Wait, I am not done yet. Let us not act like the open minded ‘intellectual’ souls because at the end of the day, we all know the way we think. A man is praised for sleeping around with whoever he wants to, Barney Stinson, my friends. *Wait for it* It’s going to be legendary. It’s not just the reel life but is seen in real life too. Casanovas are romanticised and appreciated whereas women who try and make a choice are labelled as sluts.
In such a scenario, can I make a choice? Obviously not! Even when it is only about having sex with someone I want to [it’s always under the covers ;) ].
Right to Work, That’s my choice!
The right to work is another major issue which needs attention. Where in majority of the cases women are expected to step down and give up their professional lives in order to maintain the household, only some are able to achieve what they want to. Only a few are able to strike a balance between the private and the public. Even those women who are housewives do not get the respect they truly deserve.
What I hate is the fact of how some men boast about ‘helping’ their wives in the household chores. Well, hey, that’s your house too and she is not someone you married to work as a bonded labour.
Right over one’s Body, that’s everyone’s choice!
Having a right over one’s body is another idea which needs focus. Where women are often seen as child bearing machines, only a few can make the choice they have to. Honestly, who gives a f#@$ about what women want and if children are the ‘gifts’ of God then why consummate your marriage in the first place? :P
The problematic problems in the movie:
Right to cheat. A big NO!
The aesthetic value added to the movie only makes it lose its essence and the main objective in the first place. The idea of having sex outside marriage is not new and many even practice it. I am no moral preacher to define what is right and wrong. However, the strength and sustainability of any relationship only lasts on the respect and honesty both individuals have towards each other. But, there are some women who live a lie each day, lie in terms of sexual frustration because they are forcefully married to men who are either impotent or have a different sexual orientation. What choice do the women have in such a case? Those people who were criticising the video because of this reason need to look at the other side too. I know a woman who was married off to a homosexual and when she tried to rebel, she was told to adjust in order to ‘fit in’. At the moment, she’s undergoing therapy under a psychiatrist.
What kind of women are we talking about?
The major problem I had with the movie was with the kind and the section of women the video deals with and focuses on. It only focuses on the elitist and the urban group of women in the society, which does not even include 25% of the women living in India. So, who are these women whose choices are being talked about? The movie thus loses its direction and hold it tried to aim at in the first place. Hence, the idea of the ‘free’ woman, the ‘new’ woman in respect to the other women is nothing but farcical in nature. What freedom do these ‘featured’ women want when they already have what other women want in life and try hard to achieve? We do respect the struggles they themselves once faced to rise above in the society. :) What’s the use of talking about their choices when one already knows that it can have no impact on women belonging to the middle and the lower class?
My ‘Choice’ for a Change, possible or not?
Where some find it hard to digest that Vogue and the fashion industry along with Deepika came together for a noble cause, given the fact the kind of roles women play in Bollywood, one cannot ignore the changes over a few years which have made a huge impact on the kind of roles women now play in Bollywood movies. Why can’t a woman be both sensitive and emotionally strong at the same time? Magical things don’t happen in real life and the kind of changes we need at the moment will definitely take time. A balanced perspective is what we need at the moment. Let us not simply criticise the very essence and spirit of the movie because only when it is appreciated along with the lacks and fissures highlighted, can we think of a future where there will be choices for us too, for everyone around. It’s a matter of one’s choice, after all.