Thursday, April 02, 2015

Out of Vogue!

Vogue Designer Eyewear Brand Ambassador Deepika Padukone
Only a month or so ago, after much negative publicity meted out to film maker Leslee Udwin for her film India’s Daughter, Vogue India has launched its empower series starring Deepika Padukone and 98 other women in a Ad film called My Choice, made by Homi Adajania. The video which has gone viral has lines that have been repeated over and over again, in the last two to three years, with regard to women’s choices around her body, her mind. The debate on women’s body and choices has been central to the women’s movement in India, and has been gaining force and strength in the last few years. It is clear that women in India want to break out of the shackles of male controlled patriarchal domains in private and public life.  

The film made for the consumption of HNI consumer in urban India, with purchase power, is a poor representation of women in India. While it might be said with some certainty that women in India have come out in the open and are leading from the front, when one actually goes to see, the percentage of such women is a minuscule amount as against her male counterpart (See HERE) Moreover, she is still battling regressive attitude from both genders against herself. In any case, she has fought to come up front and continues to fight for herself, even after that. We can certainly say that she is struggling to make her place in the workforce and become visible in public spaces. She is empowering herself. Despite this, it is not as if she is not fighting her own doubts, about herself.

The truly, autonomous, individual woman, is yet to emerge here in India. Be that as it may, there are many highly empowered women in India who are from the film industry even, who could have featured in the Vogue India ad.

Deepika Padukone, has always come across as a wimp. Whether in private life or on screen life, she has not made a Statement for herself, which could have made the vast many women in India hold her in high esteem and emulate her as a role model. Thus, choosing her for the ad, was a mistake, because, she fails the test in marketing the idea of an empowered Indian woman. At best the ad will bring to the fore, the issues women face in India, by giving it a celebrity endorsement. Whether male attitude changes positively towards women, our need as Indian women to claim back ourselves in every sphere that affects our lives, becomes critical.

I would say that the film has done far more for Deepika’s flagging image in the filmy world than it has done for Vogue India. The lines are clich├ęd and have now become used and abused many times over. I wish the film made one single statement, instead of so many words, blurring one into the other, creating a sense of euphoria. All bubbles, no substance.

Saddled with one after another film that failed the Box Office, in fact her PR Agency has tried to make much ado about the exposure of her cleavage in Finding Fanny (check on Twitter @HotDeepikaPadu )so that by using negative publicity, the film could muster up money. The strategy failed and she has come across an actress, who continues to use her body and her love, for publicity and to make her films run. Given this background, sadly, Deepika must climb the first step to self empowerment. And Vogue India, must apprentice a few more years in India, so that she is not blissfully clued out of what is the real Indian woman.

Also read

Radhika S in TheHindu

Sudhir Srinivasan in The Hindu 


Women in Labour Force in India: HERE

Vogue Eyeware Brand Ambassador: HERE


Image credit: HERE

NOTE: Views expressed here are the author's only.

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