#VogueEmpower, a social awareness initiation that addresses the issues of women, came up with a video called My Choice. Made by director Homi Adajania and starring Deepika Padukone among 98 other women, the video grabbed a lot of attention on social media. But all hell broke loose when one of the statements in the video was objected upon – that sex outside marriage is also as empowering as anything else. Vogue magazine is known for making many more such videos on women’s empowerment and other such critical issues. But the My Choice video made a very bold statement – the boldest ever. The response may be negative or positive, but the video served the purpose with which it was made in the first place.

My Choice featuring Deepika Padukone starred 98 other women from different walks of life addressing different pressing issues for womankind. The video shows Deepika talking about the freedom of choice that women must have regarding multiple issues, including having the choice to indulge in sex before marriage or out of marriage or not having sex at all. Although the video was supposedly a feminist take on the whole subject, My Choice came across as a sexist take on the whole issue. People ignored the intent and the initiative by the makers and thrashed the project. They called the portrayal fake and the ideology was tagged to Vogue rather than women in general, because normal women felt that they did not fit into ‘that’ particular type who cheats on her husband. (Deepika Padukone’s ‘My Choice’ video reaction: Feminism is becoming a joke, campaign serves no purpose)

The grey scale video My Choice looked appealing on a superficial level and featured an actress like Deepika Padukone who recently addressed her personal experience of depression on a public platform and already is a super woman in the eyes of the people. So when she went ahead and made a bold statement in My Choice, the internal misogynist of people was taken aback by the audacity of the actress to come forward and pledge her support to such an initiative. (Deepika Padukone shows off her bra in My Choice video: Elegant beauty makes a bold and beautiful statement!)

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People forgot the mere fact that this was yet another ad film from Vogue; the script provided by them is shown in the video. It is not a reason to personally attack Deepika who is just a part of the project. The video is an ad and it does not look anything like feminism neither does it have to do anything with gender equality.

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By verbally thrashing the actress and her ‘so-called’ choice, we are portraying nothing but our juvenile way of thinking and our knee-jerk reaction to something as simple as an ad. Although they claim to endeavour the ideology of gender equality, but what they are serving is Vogue‘s ideas and nothing else. They have provided a platform to represent women, 99 of them from different fields of life, yet they all resemble the perfect vision of the modern beauty standards.

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Within a short span of time, the My Choice video of Deepika went viral as well as received flak for the content. Just like when something goes viral, what follows is a bunch of spoofs and different perspectives of the same thing. My Choice was not only scrutinised by so-called feminists but also poked and prodded by everyone and was presented in an every possible new version of the same ideology milked to advantage. Not only the public but celebrated people from the film industry such as Sonakshi Sinha, Kangana Ranaut, Sonam Kapoor and Kalki Koechlin also spoke about this project.

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Things took an ugly turn when people started attacking Deepika Padukone personally instead of the director or the scriptwriter for coming up with an idea that was not well received by people. The thing that we are forgetting here is that womanhood does not need branding. These choices are our privileges. Somewhere it is our mindset that prods us to react in an extreme manner to such things.

The My Choice video looked like a film where the makers wanted to make a case out of the rights of women. Although it was an initiative with a lot of potential, celebrating a woman’s right to choose came across as superficial and unreal in the film. As a result, Deepika is beign mocked at on social media, through memes and jokes and videos, much like actress Alia Bhatt got the dumb jokes treatment! Maybe Deepika should make another video and give a fitting reply. That’s her choice, after all. (Edited by Shweta Parande)