Vague Vogue3 min read
So the recent debate that’s making rounds in the social media is the latest Vogue ad starring the one and only, magnificent, head full of succulent locks: Deepika Padukone.
There seems to be mostly one side to this coin. The main argument is that she doesn’t represent feminism in any manner. She’s a privileged member of the elite society and all the claims she makes are lofty and pretentious.
She sheds a negative light on feminism, reinstating the already undesirable propaganda around the ideology that is originally meant to support equality; women and men as equals. But when Deepika, as a woman, states that it is ‘her choice’ to do whatsoever she tips the balance to a more ‘favoured’ side leaving the men to trail behind like henpecked scums.
A professor of mine believes the documentary by Leslee Udwin, ‘India’s Daughter’ does the same. However strongly it brings out the need to change the attitudes and mindset that the people of our nation have towards ‘the weaker sex’ it also innocuously, perhaps even unintentionally, portrays all men as evil, conniving, horny beings. To put it more colloquially: all men as creatures who just want to stick their dicks into everything. And it is wrong to generalize half of the population into this category because we know this is not true.
But my problem with the ‘My Choice’ video is not any of aforementioned.
My problem is that I don’t understand it. I don’t comprehend. I don’t follow.
There are so many different messages being thrown at you in a span of just two minutes. What does Deepika mean when she says sentences like, ‘be the tree and not the forest’, ‘be the snowflake and not the snowfall’? How has a tree in its singularity benefitted this world that when it collectively becomes a forest, destroys?
The attempt of using poetry in this video is so superfluous. It felt like one of those moments, when an overenthusiastic person who thinks he is a writer, but really isn’t, comes up to you to show you his poem. He’s proud of what he is written and wants to show off his latest work. But when you read it, it’s just an unnecessary string of unrelated words such as: women, Vogue, empowerment…
You nod politely to not hurt his feelings, but really inside you wish you hadn’t read it and now you want to burn it.
I too can put together words in the very same manner. (Pretend that my hair too is flying like a free spirit in the wind as I seductively say the sentences below):
Be the flower and not the garden.
Be the cheese and not the dairy farm.
The message of the video is so vague, I don’t see how it is meant to be empowering. And because of this vagueness it has led to multiple deliberations about (gasp, how could she?) her okaying adultery. Maybe that’s not even the original message that was meant to be put across. And the messages aren’t suggestions on how to change behaviours or a way of thinking, instead they are commands and imperatives but which have nothing to back them up with.
And if the wannabe poetic narration wasn’t enough, there are fleeting images of eighty women or so sliding past the screen but everybody gets a two minute pause to gawk at Deepika’s luscious hair and bra unhooking techniques.
To Deepika, all I say is: if you want to get a message across, be the doer and not some choice for a vague, oh sorry, Vogue ad.
Nadia Lewis is Chief of Bureau, The Manipal Journal and a student of School of Communication
The views expressed in the blog are personal.