Instagram has no problems with topless pictures or any form of nudity from its patrons, but its sensibilities are hurt by the photo of a fully clothed girl, in her bed, with a menstrual stain, and censor it. ‘Moral police’ in Bangalore beat girls out of the pub. A foreign documentary creator makes a controversial film on infamous incident in Delhi. Now we have a video, My Choice, featuring Deepika Padukone and other famous women, stirring up yet another controversy.
I went through the video a couple of times, and then again. The video urges women to choose their life. It declares that women should have the right to choose and make their own mistakes. The message is to shun judgement by anyone. It is a woman’s free will, like any human being, to have choices, and not be judged for them. A woman alone should decide her clothing, lifestyle, life-defining activities and society has no right to question the morality, and commit bigger crimes against them. The outrage seemed to be for urging women to choose their own sexuality. People are missing the point grossly if they feel that the video is promoting sex outside of marriage. I looked up the term ‘outside of marriage’ a few times. Every time it seems to return ‘outside wedlock’ meaning without marrying. Adultery is not what it means, and even if it does, it is not urging people to do so. It is repeatedly asking people to stop judging. My choices, my mistakes, my consequences, and no to your prejudices. As a woman with rights, I do not give you the power over me to decide my morality. Pious or paramour, saint or slut, the world cannot be the arbitrator for a woman’s choices.
I am a mother of a daughter, and I understand when a mother shares her concern over the messages. Hence, it is a mother’s responsibility to keep an open dialogue and ensure that correct message is conveyed. Remember, women empowerment is not about sexual choices, but about not being throttled for any choices made. Video is not about the dresses worn, or not worn, hairstyles and shampoo advertisements, body size; it is more to do with acceptance as a person.
We can argue to death the equality metrics. Look around, and observe that a small section of people may be talking about human spirits and baulking at any feminist statements. Yet, a major section of our society is still struggling with the right of a girl foetus to not be killed in the womb.
There are women like Subhashini, who make it their lives’ mission to make a difference in the society, be it by selling vegetables and building a hospital, or by taking up entrepreneurial projects. Many of these stories go unnoticed. An anguish shared by many is on the popularity of Deepika’s video compared to the work by real women of substance. I share their grief; however, most heroes are not in the show business. They are not doing what they are doing for a few minutes of fame under the sun. Then again, people associated with showbiz are not always trying to stay in the news. They deserve a benefit of the doubt. Their stories are more accessible, more sought, nonetheless, not less credible. Everyone tries to make a difference in the manner that is best available to them. Like what they do, or dislike, but stop being the judge, the jury, and the prosecutor.
||Sarvam Sri Krishna Arpanamastu||