Moving on to the third day of the A to Z blogging challenge. Today’s letter is C. I toyed for some time with two topic ideas, two choices, both equally dear to me. In the end, I decided to go with the one with a positive ring to it. The other choice is important too, but let’s leave it for another day.
So, Choices. Deepika Padukone’s Vogue video has almost made the word evil. I saw it right before sleeping a couple of nights ago. At that time, it didn’t register more than a “meh” in me. Only the next day, when I thought about it some more, and read people voicing their opinion about it, did it strike me as bordering on absurd. When the video began playing, I had half the mind to stop it right away, for more than anything, it looked scary! Right out of the Ring series!
To be fair to the team that created that video, the intent seems to be right. Everyone, not just women, has the right to make their own choices. It is the ability to make one’s own choices that brings about real empowerment. Every man and woman must be able to make his or her own choices – to marry or not to marry, to have children or not, to become a doctor or a musician, to be a vegetarian or non-vegetarian. In our country, women are more tightly bound by tradition and culture than men, to be able to make their own choices (especially in the matters of marriage, sexuality or progeny), which is why they end up being less empowered by men. For real empowerment, choices need to be equal for both men and women.
However, proceeding to say that as a woman it is my choice to indulge in adultery, to run wild if I want to, to deny you the pleasures of a relationship because I so wish, seems to border on narcissism, or worse chauvinism. Like many people have ranted on the internet in the past few days, if the same words were to be uttered by a man, he would have been shot down with criticism for being backward and an MCP.
We all live in a society, and in order for the society to function smoothly, there are some strictures and rules that need to be followed. No, I am not talking about caste divisions or discrimination. For any society to prosper and flourish, values like honesty, integrity, trust and faith need to be upheld at all times and by everyone. A society is but a network of relationships, and in a relationship, trust and respect is very important. The culture or mutual collaboration, teamwork, integrity and shared success don’t belong only to the corporate world. It starts from the very basic relationship – between a couple, between parents and the child, between teacher and the student. One cannot leave these values to choice, for if one does, then that will only give rise to anarchy and chaos.
So what are the choices then, that empower?
The choice to not be bogged down when life pulls you down, and fight against all odds to succeed in life. Like Patricia, who braved poverty and loss to emerge as a successful restaurateur. Read her full story here.
The Choice to be healthy, for yourself and the people who love you. Like Angelina Jolie Pitt, who underwent a double mastectomy and a hysterectomy to protect herself from Cancer, so that her children didn’t have to suffer the agony of an ailing mother.
The Choice to stay at home and look after the children, while the other partner keeps his or her day job and becomes the primary breadwinner for the family. Note here that I have kept the words gender neutral, for this is equally true for both moms and dads. While I know a great many moms who gave up their lucrative careers to care for their children, I also know of an absolutely fantastic dad who decided to stay at home while his wife kept her day job. He only proves it that it is not a woman’s prerogative to give up her career or not; the choice is equally in the hands of both partners. You can read more about him, in his own words, here.
Had Vogue’s video featured choices such as these, choices that really matter, perhaps they would not have met with so much ire.