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Deepika Padukone's 'My Choice': The video receives more criticism than claps, but why?
Fashion magazine Vogue's video on Women Empowerment, titled 'My Choice', which is part of #VogueEmpower, an initiative that the magazine launched in October last year, with the narration of Bollywood star Deepika Padukone seems to have backfired on the actress, filmmaker Homi Adjani and the Vogue.

Filmmaker Homi Adjania, the director of this video has 98 other women, which includes his wife, film critic Anupama Chopra, actress Nimrat Kaur and director Zoya Akhtar.

The video, which beyond any doubt went viral on youtube and other social media palforms like Facebook, Twitter, instead of getting standing ovation for talking about women's rights, is being criticised for its content and the message it is trying to spread in the society.

It's not like only male fraternity is talking against the video but there are women, women rights groups, who have expressed their reservation against the video and termed it as a failed attempt towards promoting women empowerment.

Many questions are being raised on the video. People are seeing arrogance in the video, which has talked about many things, right from one's clothes to sexual choices. Plus it is being felt that the Deepika's video is addressing only the Urban population, the target audience of Vogue, while forgetting the rural population.

Damanjeet Sethi, a housewife from Delhi says, "Even though the 'my choice' video sets out with good intentions, it comes out as pompous and elitist. It seems like some 'choices' in the video have been deliberately added to provoke and tittilate. It could have carried a great message. Alas, it was lost in its own medium - with high society women talking about things that really do not relate to rest of Indian women."

It looks that people are disappointed with the video as they think it is a wrong way of promoting 'Women Empowerment'. At one point the video is saying that the women should have freedom towards going for sexual relationship before marriage, outside the marrige and plus she should have choice to have no sex in her life. The point of having sex outside the marrige is being criticised like anything from across the section of the society.   

Kavita Krishnan, secretary, All India Progressive Women's Association, feels that the video by Vogue has misused the word empowerment.

"I think the word empowerment is misused quite a lot. A magazine like Vogue is able to present it as though it is a simple thing which a women can just go and choose. So, the fact that I think, it's your choice to be a 'Sati-Savitri' or to be more sexually oriented is a women's choice, that is not the point. The point is why should women be boxed into these categories. Why can't the same women can actually have different kinds of sentiments and tendencies inside herself which she may want to do. But the economical social structures in the society will not allow her to do."

However, Mehek Akhtar, a student from Delhi's Lady Shri Ram College for Women has  supported this point of sexual choice while saying, "The focus is women empowerment not being dependent on minimal ideas like having sex. Women should understand that they have the right to make a choice. This video does not promote any kind of extra marital affair or sex, it just wishes to implement this idea on the minds of women of the world to understand that their choice is based upon their comfort zone and no external influence can take or impose decisions on them. Women can say no to things they do not approve of. This is what I think the video promotes and not having sex outside marriage. It is a very strong move and I think there should not be any controversy about it."

Virag Dhulia, a leading men's rights activist thinks that the video makers have nothing to do with women empowerment but they are more interested in commercialisation of their vested interests.  

"Promoting these kinds of videos is not a healthy thing. Because when you say that it's my choice, then it cannot be only her choice, it has to be his choice as well. On the one hand feminists say that they are working on gender equality and then they say it is only her choice. Then how it can be gender equality? My question to the director Homi Adajania is that he made a movie called 'Cocktail' in which he basically showed that there two women, one of them is very modern,  empowered (in his terms of empowerment), but ultimately she doesn't get the guy. The guy goes to the other womam, who is very sober. And now he is showing the exact opposite thing here in the video. So why such kind of double standardness and hypocrisy? Are we here to follow such hypocrite to define what empowerment is? No! So, this is basically commercialisation of all this concept and they are just promoting this thing to promote commercialisation and this is not empowerment. Such things should be banned and I think there should be some legal action against them on promoting such things," said Virag.

The video also talks about one's choice in deciding her sexual orientation - 'Its my choice to be a lesbian, gay or bisexual'. First of all the videomakers have failed to understand the fact that one's sexual orientation is not by her choice but it is something one gets by birth.

Renowned transgender rights activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi echoed some similar sentiments that being lesbian, gay or bisexual is not a 'choice' but it is something that you are born with.

She said, "When people talk about gender and gender budgeting, it is only about the women, but definition of gender is beyond, gender is women, gender is men and gender is even transgender. So, gender parse and sexual orientation is different from individual to individual. So, I believe that it is again sterotyping the whole move and getting the Indian women back to the same square line, and telling 'on you are a girl, and doing this', so I don't agree with this type of point."

Deepika in the video is saying that it's a choice of women to come home late. People are asking is coming home late unnecessarily or just for the sake of having some late night fun, while ignoring one's safety, precautionary measures a sign of 'Women empowerment?

Reacting to this question a law student from Delhi, Nidhi Chitkara says, "In a society where a woman coming home late at night is equivalent to 'ignoring' her safety, because she's not taking enough 'precautions', isn't a discussion about what amounts to women empowerment a futile exercise? Are we saying that our society provides women a social life only during the day? The question shouldn't be whether women are 'ignoring' their safety at all. A better question would be that why haven't we, as a society, as a nation, evolved enough to not to equate staying out at night with a potential threat to a woman's safety. In times like these, when men and women work equally hard, they both have an equal right to a social life as well. And when men can go out fearless at night to have some night time fun, why not women?"

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