Yes, I’m a woman, I have breasts and a cleavage, Deepika Padukone slams leading daily.

I think this is a positive. This simple statement makes so much sense,

“Yes, I’m a woman, I have breasts and a cleavage.” 

It should start a much needed dialogue and hopefully influence in some small way, the way women’s bodies are viewed. As of now, everybody in India seems to know who owns women’s bodies – including the bodies of women in public spaces.

I also hope we hear more about how offensive it is to those who are directly affected, than to the brothers, fathers and husbands of some of them. We also must consider the possibility of some women not having willing male relatives to feel outrage of their behalf.

At the same time, it’s not surprising that many Indians can’t quite understand what  Deepika Padukone could possible mean. Because, the point for them is just that: She should not forget that she is a woman, and has breasts and a cleavage.

These comments on the internet should be read without anger or outrage,   because those who are saying this, probably believe what they are saying.

1. For this commentator – It’s all about Men.

Why on the first place show ur body to Men? Beauty is not skin show only . Deepika must realise it someday.

What men find beautiful. And what women must realise about men’s preference, i.e. women’s skin showing versus women’s skin covered. 

It’s not surprising that they think this way – because even when we talk about the Skewed Gender Ratio, we hear it’s a concern only because men need wives. And when we talk about protecting women from sexual assaults, it’s because they are men’s sisters and daughters. 

When do we hear about women as people with rights and feelings and Bodies of their own?

 

2.

I condemn the TOI article. At the same time, I sincerely think that by showing their physique only, most of these cine-stars make their living. So there is controversy here. I think we should condemn both.

Why do you think is this comment condemning ‘both’?

There is no doubt in his/her mind that a woman ‘showing’ her body is wrong – and that women need approval and deserve condemnation for attempting to view their bodies (and minds) as their own business.

So if a woman steps out of her home, and doesn’t keep in mind the preferences of men in the street outside, what else does she expect?

 

 

3. 

This comment is why objectification of women needs a post, many posts, maybe a tag. We should talk more about all the ways in which women are objectified. And if and how it influences women’s lives and safety.

what about item numbers ? what about leela ? dam maro dam . They show if they get money , when no mone?y. Rape and crime against women are increasing and they play a important part in that.

Also, rapes and crime against women are not increasing. The silence of survivors is ‘decreasing’. The confidence to report rape is increasing.The fear of being shamed, blamed and named is decreasing.

* * *

Many more misogynistic but mostly heart felt opinions on the links below.

Do these opinions matter? Do they influence women’s lives? I am sure those who hold these opinions do control the lives of ‘their women’ – their sisters, wives and daughters.  I am confident that Deepika Padukone’s assertion is a step in the right direction. Specially since she did get a male friend or relative to speak on her behalf.

Deepika Padukone Should Consider it a Compliment: ‘Defence’ of Cleavage Tweet

Yes, I’m a woman, I have breasts and a cleavage, Deepika Padukone slams leading daily; Bollywood stands in support

OMG: Deepika Padukone exposes cleavage!

Some related Posts:

A double mastectomy in a world where a woman is seen as ‘packet of behinds, thighs, hair and lips’.

That special combination of beauty and innocence, the pretty inspires men to protect and defend it.

Kangana Ranaut’s interview.

If pre-marital sex if here to stay, then so are HPVs and other STDs.

My skirt is not your license, pervert. – A splash of my life…

 

 

34 thoughts on “Yes, I’m a woman, I have breasts and a cleavage, Deepika Padukone slams leading daily.

  1. Women = boobs and vagina and thighs = piece of meat, no matter where you go in the country.
    I’m shocked that people were shocked by the TOI “news”. The people working for TOI are no different from the people anywhere else. They’re just more polished and better at disguising their disrespect for women.

    And somehow, somehow, I get the feeling that when this all blows over, TOI and other tabloids will find more ‘news’ to publish that turns into a cause Bollywood can take a stand on. Unless, of course, it’s about a nearly non-existent Shweta Basu. Then they will all refuse to comment.

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  2. Women’s bodies have always been viewed as contested space and almost all of media and literature including the classics has a male gaze. Almost half of the Indian population is female and has breasts and has a cleavage, but is that physical space respected, is the question.

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  3. “I sincerely think that by showing their physique only, most of these cine-stars make their living. So there is controversy here” — the sense of this statement changed after truncation.

    Making a living solely on physical endowment is degrading to anyone — try to understand why feminists oppose beauty competitions. Standards of beauty that exclude majority of women should be resisted. Women as objects to attract and hold another’s gaze doesn’t jive with feminist values.

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    • Just a small correction here…Feminists oppose the organizers of beauty competitions because the organizers are making money by sexualizing and objectifying other people’s bodies. Feminists do not oppose the actual participant in a beauty competition as the participant has 100% right to sexualize her own body since it belongs to her. Similarly, if a statement has to be made against depiction of women in movies, it has to be directed against the people who make money by depicting the actresses in a sexualized manner, not the actresses themselves.

      “Making a living solely on physical endowment is degrading to anyone” – Choosing to make a living on your own physical endowment is not degrading in the slightest. Choosing to make a living on other people’s physical endowments is highly degrading.

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      • The topic of beauty contests distinguishes Indian feminists from their western counterparts, as Madhu Kishwar points out. Quoting Amy Winter:

        “Feminism doesn’t value a standard of beauty for women comprised of extreme thinness, regular Caucasian features, smooth hair, young-looking skin without wrinkles or blemishes, and lack of visible body hair. Feminists know this standard purposely excludes most women and is designed to keep us feeling anxious about our appearance and dependent on surgeons and cosmetic companies for expensive reassurance. Feminism values cooperation between women, not the competition and comparison fostered by presenting us with image after image of women we’ll never look like. Feminism values the diversity of women; it recognizes that we don’t all look the same and says that there is beauty in each of us. Feminism seeks to foster self-esteem and confidence in women, not to encourage us to shore ourselves up through positive attention from others for our appearance. Our bodies have a beauty and an integrity all their own, regardless of how poorly they conform to patriarchal aesthetic standards.”

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      • Well said Satish. I agree with the fine point about beauty competitions and stand with Deepika here. TOI is wrong, but I frankly don’t expect any better out of that “newspaper”. But to add to that discussion :

        “if a statement has to be made against depiction of women in movies, it has to be directed against the people who make money by depicting the actresses in a sexualized manner, not the actresses themselves.”

        I’m not sure actresses can absolve themselves of all responsibility here. When an actress does an “item number” she knows she is doing it for the male gaze, yeah? I mean, yes, she has the right to sexualize herself, but she does realize what that sexualization is being used for, no? When an actor spouts regressive dialog, he/she knows that they are toeing the patriarchal line – directly against “empowerment”. So when I see actors talk about empowerment etc. and then mouth cheap/demeaning dialogs or dance suggestively to leering male crowds, I am a little nonplussed. When you help portray women as objects for sexual gratification (even though you have a right to do as you wish with your body), whither the moral high ground? Yes the film/serial makers are to blame here, but I’m not sure that actors can just shrug off the blame entirely.

        And this is not about Deepika. I’d welcome everyone’s thoughts.

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  4. I am totally with Deepika on this. TOI should be slammed big time for the kind of things they publish in the name of ‘news’. This was totally uncalled for. Whatever the profession of a woman be and whatever she might be doing for it, it does NOT give newspapers the right to publish such crap about them. Also, I am sure the TOI publishes such articles on a daily basis.

    Even if it is a publicity stunt, as called by many , what she is saying is totally correct. If standing for yourself is giving you publicity – what is wrong in that?

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  5. How is this any different from Amir Khan getting attention for his nude poster ? She is showing her Cleavage for publicity (and for money) and TOI is highlighting her cleavage for the same reason. She should get off the high horse. They just mentioned that Deepika is exposing her cleavage, which she did. So, even mentioning facts have become “offensive” these days ???

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    • I don’t get what ‘s so difficult to understand here…Deepika has the right to sexualize her own body because her body belongs to her (and nobody else). Other people don’t have the right to sexualize Deepika’s body because her body does not belong to them (the same goes for Aamir as well). TOI serving up pictures of Deepika for others to leer and ogle falls into the second category. What exactly is tripping you up here? The comments on TOI are pretty primitive and pathetic (as usual). Glad to see they didn’t disappoint.

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      • Luckily the world doesn’t work that way. Others have as much right TO SAY that Amir khan is naked, as amir khan has TO BE naked. Same holds good for Deepika. It’s actually a simple concept if you try to understand. Once you are in public (and that too when you are a public figure), you open yourself to judgement. Quite simple.

        PS: If she is so proud to walk around showing her cleavage, why does she care when TOI points out that she is walking around exposing her cleavage ?

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        • “Luckily the world doesn’t work that way”

          1. Luckily?
          2. FYI, TOI is not just innocently pointing out that Deepika has cleavage. This is not a public service or a news report on their part. They are making money deliberately exposing Deepika’s cleavage to the public gaze. Deepika has the right to do that because her cleavage belongs to her. TOI does not have the right to do that because her cleavage does not belong to them. They are violating Deepika’s rights. I understand that the world doesn’t work that way. That doesn’t mean it is justified.
          3. ” Once you are in public (and that too when you are a public figure), you open yourself to judgement”. This is not judgment…this is mere exploitation for gain by TOI. You can judge Deepika all you want. I may not agree with you, but you have the right to judge her in every way. What you cannot do is exploit her body (even if she’s a public figure) without her consent for your own personal gain. This is what TOI is doing.
          4. Luckily?????

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  6. As a friend of mine said – Saying that it is okay to write about her because she is an actress and does item numbers – is like saying raping a prostitute is not a crime. All basics gone wrong- where is this goddess worshipping nation heading!

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  7. Many commentators have commented that if she is paid then she has revealed more than this on many magazine covers. But they do not understand that the Magazine photoshoot have her consent. She know that what is going to be published , how it is going to be published and she is willing for this. But what TOI did was wrong because it doesn’t has the consent or will of the person who is being shoot and published. That too it is shoot in a derogatory manner and published in derogatory language.

    Here Magazine cover doesn’t make Deepika a public property who can be portrayed in any way. And really hats off to her at least she took stand for her in public. And made everyone aware about that she is outraged and limits have been crossed.

    Same kind of logic extend on every sphere in Indian socitey. If a girl is walking on road in night/travelling in bus/wearing skirt etc then she is by defaulted said YES for any kind of advance.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Another comment below: In fact I find these sorta commentators more dangerous than outright misogynists.

    “I am, to be honest, a little ambiguous about the position taken by Deepika and the backlash against TOI. Here’s why:

    1. This is not the first time a leading newspaper has resorted to titillation. So why the outrage now? How are we more offended when this happens to Deepika, but not if it happens to a Rakhee or a Poonam?
    Me – So just because it has been happening for decades we should continue to keep mum?

    2. What has TOI done that is not done by Bollywood itself, in movie after movie and item song after item song? There are entire media-outlets and ‘Bollywood Insiders’ that peddle wardrobe malfunctions and revealing moments. Frankly, I am more offended by an item number that has a white woman singing “Pat-ne waali hu” than by this incident.
    Me – If an item no. offends you, you can always choose NOT to watch it.

    3. When an actress/model gyrates in skimpy clothes and item numbers, she too is drawing attention to exactly what TOI has. How are such acts not included in our outrage? Should be not be equally offended by TOI as we are by Deepika’s Dum Maro Dum number? – I am not saying that we should be. I am only pointing out the questions I am trying to solve before taking a fixed stand on this issue.
    Me – Choice, consent etc, It was her choice to do those songs. What TOI did is not the same.

    4. Lest I misrepresent myself- I am NOT saying that women should not wear bold dresses! I am only questioning the self-righteousness of a celebrity actress who quite well understands what business she is.
    Me – What does the business she is in has to do with anything? They expected her to be vulnerable becs she is a celebrity. Too bad it didnt work.

    5. To sum up- TOI’s act is obviously abhorrent. But it is also entirely in character with TOI. What is surprising is Deepika’s moral indignation and the hundreds that have joined her.”
    Me – !?!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wardrobe malfunction, boob show are new buzz words, watching crotches of female celebrities is a new fad in media in the name of entertainment, be it TOI, HT or vernacular media. Ogling at women bodies especially their breasts and crotches appear to be new national hobby than human reproduction and feeding corruption. Misogyny is just glossed in so called admiration as TOI tried to defuse the issue by saying it was a compliment and we wanted more people to know about it. It is like 8 year olds, in the play ground singing…
      I see London, I see France
      I see _____’s underpants!

      When Britany Spears was pregnant and taking a beach holiday with her young family a paparazzi took her picture while she sat in two piece swim wear in the sand, there was an outrage over it. Celebrity or no celebrity people have right to privacy or be left alone. Here is a good example these women to my understanding are not even aware that their pictures have been put on a voyeur blog under the title of what tever… For whom? Is someone making money out of it? There is a market, money or no money there is a power of violating someone unaware. These women are not celebrities so it is not okay to put them on display but it is okay to snoop into Kate Middleton’s bedroom.

      http://newdesiphotos.blogspot.ca/2010/07/kerala-girls-in-abroad.html

      Oh, and this came in just know a spy cam found in the bathroom of a girls hostel. http://khabar.ndtv.com/news/india/spy-camera-found-in-girls-hostel-in-noida-667992

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

      Like

  9. Men with wagging tongues need to understand this that just like they have every right to wear what they feel comfortable in, women too have the freedom and right. What I feel bad is there still are a lot of females who also believe that celebrities showing skin is the main cause of eve-teasing, molestation and rapes. More and more people need to understand these lines.

    “…rapes and crime against women are not increasing. The silence of survivors is ‘decreasing’. The confidence to report rape is increasing.The fear of being shamed, blamed and named is decreasing.”

    In this particular case, I found more men talking sensibly and sensitively than women. Or may be I am surrounded by people from 1400 B.C.

    And media, principles of journalism is now only a text book that is sometimes read to clear the exams. These people stoop down to any level without giving a second thought. Clicks is all that matters to them. This is exactly the reason why many of the households I am aware of have completely stopped their subscription to TOI. Disgusting!

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  10. I am getting better and better.
    At what?
    Predictions!
    Like some time back, (which I did recount to you) I predicted to myself immediately what the next blog post would be about and I was proved right again. When I saw this news item I knew at once I would be writing a long comment on your next blog post on this very subject.

    In brief:
    Toi should have simply apologized to Deepika
    The matter would probably have ended there.
    Claiming it was a “compliment” clearly added fuel to the fire.

    I have nothing but contempt for this paper ever since it put full page ads on its front face which even blocked the name of the paper. It is now no longer journalism. It is quite simply, a media business.

    For years it was my favourite newspaper. (the sixties and seventies, particularly, with Girilal Jain and Sham Lal as editors) . But now it is simply unrecognizable. In the mornings during those years, I fought with my brothers to get my hands on the paper first thing in the morning. Today, the paper lies outside my front door till 9 am or even later and I pick it up with no particular enthusiasm to read it. All the news hidden away between the ads is any way stale. I already know the news from all the browsing I do on my laptop.Sometimes I open the paper and read it in the evening and five to 10 minutes is all I need before it is dumped into the raddi collection.

    I have time and again written stinkers to them and asked them to rename themselves “The Advertisements of India” . All my emails to them will be in some Recycle Bin on their computers.
    If they sue me, I know what my reply should be. I am actually complimenting them!

    I agree that women’s breasts attract way too much attention from many men and are the most common targets for snide comments. Back in Engineering college, when I was an innocent 17 year old, I often wondered why a particularly slim girl was referred to as “Lemons” by the boys. It was only later that that I understood. A naughty friend took pains to explain that those were all she had “cholee ke peeche”. I was appalled at the cruelty of these boys but could do nothing except hope the girl never knew about this nick name the guys were using with reference to her. The fact that she was brilliant and outdid the boys did not help !

    I wonder how many of those boys would have liked being called a “Little Mirchie” if it was suspected that that was all that they were endowed with.

    I hope this matter is settled amicably. Is saying “Sorry Deepika,. Forgive us” so difficult?
    Regards
    GV

    Like

  11. Saw this on Facebook…. what are your views on this??

    “Men have as much right to lech at women as women have to dress skimpily.

    As far as I’m concerned a woman who is offended at men ogling is as regressive as a man who is offended at women wearing mini skirts.

    And as for what might follow.. Men have the right to ask and women have the right to reject.

    A woman who is insulted by a man’s advances is as crazy as a man who will not accept a woman’s rejection.

    Oh…. and the same holds if you reverse the roles

    Including the bit about men wearing mini skirts.

    These are adults we’re talking about.”

    Like

    • even if one were to go by that simplistic quote “Men have as much right to lech at women as women have to dress skimpily”- who decides what is skimpy? who decides what is acceptable? in saudi arabia, showing one’s hair might be considered vulgar, while wearing a bikini in india might be considered too skimpy but in europe even being nude is acceptable in most beaches. also leching or making an advance has different degrees – it is only acceptable if completely innocuous and in good spirit.

      i quote may work on the surface but when delved deeper a society that forbids and restricts is much more perverse than a society which celebrates freedom and respect for every body regardless of how one is dressed!!! wish every person in the society could be treated as an equal and an individual rather than differentiated on the basis of gender, class and all kinds of hierarchies that our regressive society likes to come up with

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  12. Interesting post. Thanks! I condemn men’s machismo, and that kind of twit is stupid and vulgar. But it is weird to see the anger of a woman whose job is mainly to be pretty and sexy. This is not their fault, but if you watch Hindi blockbusters, women are just lovely faces and have no real part in the action of the movies. Journalists spend their time showing and commenting on the actors’ bodies, abs and bikinis, sometimes the public can’t even know what the story of the film is!
    But that kind of buzz is good finally; it makes people speak about serious issues.

    Like

  13. The ones making the unfortunate and unwanted comments lack the faculty to understand what Deepika means. It’s sad the way ToI is going. Respect to Deepika for standing not just for herself but for women who face this objectification and prejudices all the time.

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  14. What I found weird and offensive about TOI’s “OMG” comment is – what is so OMG about it? Yes, she has breasts. So what? That’s like someone screaming, “OMG Hrithik has biceps!!! And he’s showing them!!” or “Bollywood stud XYZ has chest hair!! And we just got a peak of it!!” Are they OMGing because she’s a woman?? As in ‘how daring of her to choosing to expose a part of her body’? What is so OMG? Her making a choice? The most instinctive response to TOI’s screaming is “SO WHAT??” And this is what I think Deepika is trying to say too.

    I found it encouraging that so many Bollywood men and women stood up for her and had some pretty snappy comebacks for TOI.

    Like

  15. I cant believe you read my post, IHM and linked it here! I feel honored. Thank you…
    This whole issue has been made way worse by people who hold the point of view that if a woman wears a low cut blouse or a short skirt, she is a public property to be leched at. So disgusted.

    Like

  16. You don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy in public (at least in the US and to a certain extent in India too). That’s why security cams are legal. Had this picture been stolen from her or taken from a hidden cam, I would empathize with her. But, she chose to wear that dress. If you don’t want to be photographed showing cleavage in public, then don’t show cleavage in public. It’s as simple as that.

    Like

    • This is not just about being photographed in public. I presume that, by now, movie actors are aware that every single thing they do will be photographed, captured on video, tweeted about etc. This is about the lascivious focus on her cleavage by a so-called national news agency. This reminds me of the cheap tabloids who tried to get upskirt pictures of Britney Spears, Paris Hilton etc. I just feel bad that a lot of us aren’t able to distinguish between individual freedom of a woman and a cheap violation of that freedom by others (primarily for the male gaze). We are equating the two in an attempt to justify the violation. This is the moral collapse we should be worried about, not women’s dresses or their personal habits.

      Like

    • Not that simple.
      Surely there is such a thing as consent.

      We are in slightly gray territory here considering she was at a publicity function where photography is expected.

      Does that mean any photo of hers can be published?
      Or should she be the one to approve which of her photos get published?
      Well, neither. There is such a thing as public-sensibilities that are taken into account in such decisions. Which is where, it is reckoned, ToI has outdone itself.

      Now, this ‘public sensibility’ is admittedly a transient thing.
      Imagine if the headline had read:

      “Sexy Deepika’s confident couture, at the launch function”

      And if this were published without too obvious a close-up, it would NOT have drawn ire.

      It is the crudeness that is offensive to the sensibilities today- as it makes it obvious that it caters to our prurient interests.

      Like

  17. Pingback: Bollywood Actress Deepika Padukone: ‘Yes! I Am a Woman. I Have Breasts and a Cleavage! You Got a Problem?!’ · Global Voices

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