The video is speaking against the acceptance of rape, acid attacks, honor killings, forced marriages etc that are viewed as normal ‘Consequences’ for women.

The ‘My Choice’ video, below has angered many.

I read comments fearing it might influence gullible Indian women into having sex outside or before their marriages, without understanding the ‘consequences’ of such irresponsible behaviour’.

Here are some of the offensive lines. The more offensive ones in bold.

My choice to have sex before marriage, to have sex outside of marriage, to not have sex.

IHMAll the video is saying is, it’s women’s bodies, women’s choices, and of course women’s consequences. Rape, acid attacks and murder are not included in legal or acceptable consequences; Divorce, Heartbreak, Lessons learnt, Experience gained,  Break ups and Moving on are.

The video is speaking against the acceptance of rape, acid attacks, honor killings, forced marriages, violence etc that are viewed as normal Consequences for women who are not able to follow the impossible to follow How-to-avoid-getting-Raped Rules. And often also for those women who do everything as they are told.

But for many, it seems, it’s annoying enough to imagine Indian women hearing about having a Choice in anything, but to tell them that they own their own bodies and sexuality is clearly going too far. This video could give some women the idea that having sex before marriage does not mean they have to marry the person, or be killed by their fathers and brothers (etc), or be ready to be raped by anybody because now they are no longer marriageable.

Or women might imagine or claim that having sex outside marriage is almost a legal right. What kind of videos give women ideas that they can think of sex as something they have a choice in? Do they think they are men? Men are different, and anyway we don’t make videos telling men they can have sex outside marriages, we just have an entire system in place that ensures that men have access to sex outside marriage and ofcourse we don’t approve!  We do roll our eyes at ‘these men!”. Women are different, they are our mothers and wives and honours.  And women have the responsibility to make sure nothing changes in this system that keeps them dependent and controlled.

Also, who should be held responsible for women (misguided by this video) and acid attacked or honor killed for sex before or outside marriage?

Or for thinking they can refuse to have sex with the man they have been ‘married off’ to.

Videos like this can break up the Social System that’s working so well and keeping women Safe and Empowered.

 My Choice to love temporarily or to lust forever. My Choice to love a man or a woman or both.

IHM: Obviously lust is a vice (specially for women) and Indian women only think of sex as a duty they must provide to the pati parmeshwar, who has been chosen for them by their family elders.

To love temporarily is unthinkable for Indian women – once married-off they belong to the pati parmeshwar. Even if they are widowed.

The idea of temporary love is so abhorrent to us that rape victims are offered the option of marrying those who  have sexually assaulted them. It’s all about sexual inexperience and ‘permanence’ in women’s relationships it seems.

Also note how love, marriage, purity, character and sex are connected.

My Choice to come home when I want. Don’t be upset when I come home at 4 am. Don’t be fooled if I come home at 6 pm.

IHM – This is a response to the general idea that good  women reach home before dark, and women who stay out till after dark (or after 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, depending on the the preferences of the person passing the judgment) ask to be sexually assaulted.

And here’s a response from Shail Mohan. Why is this so difficult to understand?

Dear people making fun of the *choice* video (you all know which one),
We all have the choice (yes, to have sex outside marriage too), and suffer whatever consequences it may lead to (it could be the divorce court). Choice also means the choice to make mistakes. The point is outsiders (the moral policing goons or any other outsiders) have no say in all this. Besides no one is asking YOU to have sex outside marriage. Are they? So why all the drama?
Yours
Someone who cannot understand the whole lot of noise being made.

This second video is a response to the My Choice video. This video gives an idea of just how much some of us are worried about women being given choices.

Do watch. What do you think?

The general outrage is not really surprising in a society where polygamy (by men) is tolerated, and where marital rape is still legal. Where married men (well known and respected married men) still have, not just sex but also marriages, children and relationships outside their marriages.

Deepika would have found more support had she  talked about,

A virtuous woman’s right to marry (against his wishes) a man she has had consensual sex with.

Or a woman’s right to save her marriage to an unwilling partner.

Violence, castration and humiliation for a man accused of having consensual sex with an unmarried adult woman from another caste/community. (Because this can’t be made right with marriage)

A woman’s right to marry her rapist.

A woman’s right to supplement her family’s income by working in night shifts.

Related Post:

Denying sex to spouse on first night ground for marriage annulment: Delhi high court

“why not marry them first and then have sex ? What prevents you from doing it ? Deep within YOU WANT JUST SEX and nothing more”

Question about Sexuality in Indian Arranged Marriages

Here’s why I think the society should not obsess over a woman’s virginity.

“Girls should be married at 16, so that they don’t need to go elsewhere for their sexual needs. This way rapes will not occur.” – Rape being viewed as Sex outside marriage.

7 things that can make ‘Rape sometimes right’.

Where Consensual Sex is Rape, and Forced Sex a legal right.

Making Marital Rape a legal offence is the fastest way to make it clear that Rape means forced sex, not lost Virginity or Honor.

Forced intercourse in marriage not rape: Delhi court

Forcible sex with wife doesn’t amount to marital rape: Court

Girls morally bound not to have sex before marriage, says fast track court judge

“Girls should be married at 16, so that they don’t need to go elsewhere for their sexual needs. This way rapes will not occur.”

Romanticizing innocence, chastity and related taboos for women.

“There is so little conversation about a woman’s desire for sex that a lot of people simply assume it doesn’t exist.”

Panchayat orders girl to marry her rapist because one way to make a Rape right is to make it Marital Rape.

Making Marital Rape a legal offence is the fastest way to make it clear that Rape means forced sex, not lost Virginity or Honor.

Please watch Queen.

“Instituting the idea of marital rape raises the specter of a man going for long periods without sex even though he’s married!”

37 thoughts on “The video is speaking against the acceptance of rape, acid attacks, honor killings, forced marriages etc that are viewed as normal ‘Consequences’ for women.

  1. That second video made me so angry, it’s like… quick, better put women back in their box, we can’t have them making choices! Let’s totally twist the message and put it in the most ridiculous shameful way so they don’t go jumping on this whole ’empowerment’ bandwagon.

    I am literally seething!

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  2. I am totally exasperated with the way the whole video has been interpreted. Do we Indians miss the wood for the trees because we are incapable of understanding or because we don’t want to understand? The overall message is missed, people are indulging in hair-splitting exercises – misogynistic men and patronizing ones alike. The saddest part is women themselves saying freedom of choice is something we need to talk about for the sections of society where women have no education and no say in anything that concerns their lives. Apparently they think education, a job and an ability to speak up (irrespective of whether it is taken seriously or not) implies a woman is empowered and needs no more empowerment.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Basically socially a marriage is considered as license to have sex with partner and sex outside the marriage is a taboo…it all depends on how we define marriage…this is something people don’t discuss openly in arranged marriage set up and hence the problem…had they discussed it before all about their views on sex outside the marriage probably it would not be a sin had they both agreed before the knot…I wonder if sex outside the marriage is constitutionally legal!

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  4. I don’t understand all the moral outrage about the original video. My gripe was with how it was shot. To me, it looked like a shampoo or skincare product commercial. Most women featured in the video (except the lone tribal woman) extremely looked urban which, IMHO, doesn’t really represent the quintessential Indian woman – it seemed (to me) like the luxury of choice is only for women who are “liberated”.

    Liked by 1 person

      • It is produced by Vogue so we can definitely say it is not for all women. It is just another product “Vogue” marketed to certain women in new cover.
        It has its inherent flaws. Like always empowerment is a cattle anyone with a media stick can corral them where ever they want.
        The important message was lost in all that light and sound show.
        Empowerment is not just the right to make a choice but to be safe after making a choice, physically, emotionally and socially.
        Peace,
        DG

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  5. Its laughable to see how women is supposed be called responsible when thinking about sex but not men.

    Anyway I like that we are talking about it.

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  6. I didn’t like Deepika’s video. I think Vogue is one of the most misogynist women’s magazines ever and anything backed by vogue is so-not for me. Yet I watched the video because it was trending. I liked it and didn’t like it at the same time. I know its just a video. No need to nitpick and take everything seriously…and all that
    Didn’t like the presentation. Didn’t like the way women were portrayed. I had a problem with ‘sex outside marriage’ bit too. Yes, we do have a choice to make mistakes.
    We dont need to justify our bad choices saying its ‘my choice’, especially when other people are affected by your choices. Then why not have sex outside marriage with the partner’s knowledge, then? Why do it behind the partners back?
    And also, would we say the same if women are cheated in a relationship? Not saying that women will get inspired and start cheating- thats ridiculous.

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    • I don’t understand how the video was encouraging women to make “bad choices”. A lot of it spoke about personal freedom — like the right to wear what you want, go where you please and have sex at will.

      Are these not important rights for women? Yes, education and employment are important, but these mean little if women’s sexuality is repressed, stigmatised and controlled.

      A big part of the backlash is because the video shows women daring to do what men have always done — have sex outside marriage, wear what they like and have absolute control over their own bodies.

      It is this idea that is threatening to a lot of people. The idea of women “going astray” sexually, is a huge threat to the Indian psyche, much more than her getting educated, employed and sitting in Parliament.

      You have to understand that all the controls that Indian society places on women have only one goal — to control women’s sexuality and desire.

      This video is unintentionally striking at the heart of that fear; that too much freedom will turn women into lustful, sexually uncontrollable creatures — this is the real fear that traditional people use all these norms to cover up.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. i had good friends, open minded women ( or so i thought) questining this big time..
    To me its simple. it all come down to CHOICE — HERS.
    I dont like Vogue much and this looked like a shampoo hard, but otherwise, it’s great. we need such things to open up and keep the dialogue growing.

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      • If your choice has to be considered responisble how much of a choice is it? Its just like in India when people talk about freedom and people argue that you shouldnt “misuse” freedom. If their are limitations put on your freedom then its not real freedom.

        I have the right to make bad choices and be unresponsible. Its nobody’s business but my own. I will face the consequences of those bad or good choices and it will be my cross to bear. It doesnt concern anyone but me so why do other people care if i make bad choices.

        Example- when i was in my second year of university i decided to drop out. It was a horrible decision but it was my right to make it. I faced the consequences though. I had to work a really shitty job. So i decided to go back to school 1 year later. It was my choice and i faced the consequences.

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  8. I think the video was shot just to gain publicity or rake in controversary ahead of Piku’s release.
    I liked every part of this video but being a egalitarian, I would not support cheating on spouse, be it men or women. If men/women want to have sex outside, it should be consensual. But no cheating, I dont advocate that. And since this video was about women empowerment and women’s choice, it depicted that its women choice to have sex outside marriage, what about men? If men do the same, we all women would condemn it.
    Either this particular line about sex outside marriage was included deliberately to rake in controversary or whole message of this video got distorted and could have been shot more aesthetically

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  9. Honestly, like some of the other readers, I was a bit confused too with the sex after marriage bit of the video. I dint know what to think of it more so because celebrities are blindly followed in our nation. But again when I think the second time over I feel, how may women would say that Deepika too promotes sex outside marriage! But now after reading all the point of views in the comments, I have been able to come to a conclusion and silence my mind with the thought that sex outside marriage should be a responsible choice with the woman ready to face the consequences. The underline of the whole sex things was crisp and clear that our bodies belong to us and we decide what to do with it. Also my dilemma over temporary or may I say short term feelings for someone which fades with time is cleared with another sentence in the video. It still takes time for some of us to digest and assimilate that it is ok to feel that way for someone at some point in time.

    But again the dilemma is all this at what cost? There are too many questions in my mind at this point in time may be because of the conditioning that has happened since child hood. I am kind of lost may be time and a little more self confidence and self awareness will help me answer those.

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  10. I did not have a problem with this video but I did find the outrage vaguely disturbing. I could not put a finger on it. After reading this post I understand why this outrage makes me uncomfortable.
    Because people are aghast that a woman can make “bad” choices, that a woman can act on whim, or act selfishly, or act in anyway that’s unlikable.
    Because women must always (and better) be good, kind, honest, faithful, loving, pure, and perfect.
    Because women are not allowed mistakes.
    Because women have no right to be imperfectly human.
    Because we can’t let women be different and unique individuals, and make different choices (some of which we may agree with or not approve of).
    Because we think we don’t need to approve of the choices men make but we MUST always approve of the choices women make.

    Liked by 1 person

      • No, that’s not why people are angry. Most people suspect this video is supposed to stir controversy right around the time Deepika’s movie is getting released. Plus, of course, people are angry that a public figure is saying irresponsible choices are okay.

        I don’t see too much women-hatred in this. People just hate that Deepika is really using a platform to promote herself.

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  11. What I presumed the video meant by ‘sex outside marriage’ is either pre-marital sex or sex after legal end of a marriage. Maybe even both partners in a marriage consenting to or wanting to have sex with folks outside the marriage -for reasons best known to them. This part I do not have a problem with.
    However, many comments I saw seemed to somehow interpret a woman’s choice to experience “sex outside of marriage” as condoning adultery. Which I don’t think was the intention, or was it?

    I guess the other way of looking at it could be that even if a woman makes what would generally be considered bad choices (ie: adultery), the video is saying that it is still her choice as an individual and should be condoned? If this is what it is trying to convey, then I am not so sure that I am on board with it – and this applies to both men and women. I would not be OK with a man trying to justify adultery by stating that it is his choice to do so and I will apply the same rule to a woman. Reason being that this choice almost always negatively affects the spouse/partner. Unless the spouse/partner has consented to or willingly accepted this before hand or the marriage has been legally ended (in which case it would not qualify as adultery anyway).

    Other than that, I liked the overall message of “choice” that the video was trying to convey, though I do wish it also included women from various strata of society.

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  12. I didnt really like the original video. Its not really about empowerment, its an advertisement for vogue. Just like when Dove made all those ads about how women should love their bodies in North America all the while shilling skin whitening creams in Asia. Its about money, they could care less about feminism.

    I also think its funny that Deepika’ video was about so many issues and the only one that everyone is focused on is the one about sex outside marriage. It shows how much men fear women’s sexuality.

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  13. If we replace Deepika and the other females in this video, and give the same or similar script to a man, would there be such outrage? Nothing will seem out of place, nobody will object. Because the choices that Deepika talks about, are assumed to be automatically available to men, and their right.

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  14. The video is frivolous and completely unnecessary. Is watching it really going to empower a woman to make her “own choice”? I understand the criticism leveled at it. It is slick, glossy and another example of “pop feminism”: it was made to sell Vogue and nothing else. There have been plenty of other feel-good videos released and they have had little to no impact on women in India. Empowering women to make their own choices cannot be done in a 3.5 minute video.
    And there are plenty of good reasons why people are questioning this video. Not all of them relate to men being scared of women’s sequality.

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    • This is something which I don’t understand. Vogue and Deepika may have had their personal interests in mind while making the video. But the point is, none of that makes the message from the video wrong. All your judgements around the style of the video, who said it, how it was said, etc. etc. is applicable to the makers of the video at a personal level. But the message behind the video about choices is not about any person in particular – and that message cannot be refuted on grounds related to Vogue or Deepika or Cocktail..

      When there is a message against sexism, context doesn’t matter to judge whether the message is right or not. Akin to when there is a sexual assault, circumstances around the assault are immaterial to point who is on the wrong side. Otherwise it would be like condoning the act of groping a porn star on the grounds that she is a porn star.

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      • Also saying: In the context of feminism, the message should be judged on the content and not the style of presentation in the context of feminism. One can have independent opinions on the style of presentation, but those opinions do not change whether the message being conveyed is right or not.

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  15. When Deepika Padukone makes a video about feminism or anything for that matter, it’s bound to create a lot of sensation and discussion. And when in a country like India, you’re a celebrity and talking about a very relevant topic like women having basic freedom, choices and rights, it is important that you stick to the issue at hand. MILLIONS of women in India are fighting for a right to education and basic human rights and dignity for that matter. I don’t see any fighting for their right to have sex outside of marriage (not to mention most of us would totally judge a man who says he has a right to cheat on his wife). The entire video may not have been about that alone, but a good point being made gets lost when you put in drivel like that, esp. in a video that is expected to have large viewership (Deepika Padukone guys!). It’s like all those people I’ve heard express outrage about rape in India (rightfully so!) and make some excellent points, only to conclude with “oh, all men should be castrated”. When you make statements like that, you just instantly lose your audience (even when you’re not a celebrity). That’s just the way it works and that’s what happened here too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The video is talking about the right to not be stoned to death, punished by a kangaroo court, raped by random people, beaten up by husband for having sex outside marriage. I don’t think men face any of these issues on a SYSTEMATIC scale (individual exceptions aside), even if they are simply judged for cheating on their wives.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I find nothing wrong in the video and honestly speaking, we’ve missed the cue. Deepika and Homi Adjania never encouraged sleeping outside the marriage or having extra-marital sex, but addresses a very important issue that we’ve turned our back to. Yes! It’s all about making a choice. My Choice makes a huge impact since it serves the purpose by reducing Deepika to insignificance and makes a powerful statement on individuality.

    Check my link:
    https://vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/why-i-support-deepika-padukones-my-choice-video/

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  17. Pingback: “I’m baffled that Indians (not just men) truly think that virtue stems from being sexually chaste.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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