By Prachi Mishra
The recent ad film, My Choice, part of Vogue Empower ad campaign has taken the net by storm and hashtagged opinions are being thrown around everywhere. Exploring the issue of women empowerment the ad film features actress Deepika Padukone and 99 other women.
An actress, a fashion magazine and opposite poles
People’s take on the film contrasts like the extremes of the light spectrum. While some have appreciated it for being empowering and true to the spirit of feminism, a large number has deemed it frivolous, shallow and promoting immoral and uncultured ideas.
The ad film has been slapped with many charges like, representing only a minor section of privileged women; not addressing more important and burning contemporary issues like, rape, dowry, domestic violence, female foeticide, women education and emancipation etc.
The content of the film has also raised eyebrows. Statements like “to have sex outside marriage, my choice” are being criticized for supporting infidelity. People have also questioned the credibility of Vogue and Deepika, belonging to a community accused of creating an unrealistic, plastic sort of beauty standard, to speak about women’s issues. Many would find it hard to imagine Vogue and size 15 in the same room.
So how can they, of all people, be adversaries of feminism?
Make some sense
Last year, Vogue had released another film as part of the same campaign, featuring Madhuri Dixit titled ‘Start With The Boys.’ It successfully drove home the point about women empowerment by questioning the cultural predispositions of Indian society. It had a very strong and effective take on the issue of violence against women.
Instead of teaching boys not to cry, the film suggested that it’s more important to teach them that they should not make women cry.
The film strongly put forth its key message, demolishing the stereotypical ‘Male’ image. Everyone, be it a girl or a boy, should be allowed to have a proper outlet of their emotions. The film addresses not just the problems faced by women, but also of the Sisyphus like baggage of virility, courage, determination, strong attitude, striving for power and dominance that a man carries.
Start With The Boys had garnered much positive response unlike My Choice. However it too had to face its share of criticism. Nonsensical comments relating crying to a weak behavior and inability to control emotions were the most common. Some people went even further commenting that the advertisement was silent about women standing against domestic violence. But overall these comments were just a reaction from a society that had been jolted out of sleep to an ugly yet universal reality.
My Choice, on the other hand is criticized for more or less being just gas and pretty words touted as feminism. The script talks of the lowest denominations of all types of feminism without really gathering the courage to delve into the issues.
The ad film with Padukone’s face, attractive words and sweeping generalizations, is more of a poet’s flight of imagination as opposed to the previous ad’s practical and essential observation.
MyChoice, at best, is a romantic take on feminism, nowhere near the real war for equality being waged by women and men all over the world.