This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Urni Ganguly. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Vogue’s Video With Deepika: ‘Lovely’, ‘Empowering’ And Hypocritical

More from Urni Ganguly

By Somrita Urni Ganguly:

They’ve done it again!

They’ve convinced you that they have honest intentions, earned some credibility, and sold what they wanted to sell. And you’ve bought it. And buying and selling is what we really should be talking about here!

vogue

“My Choice”, says Deepika Padukone. But whose choices are we really talking about? This less than 3 minute video that Miss Padukone appears in was scripted by a Bollywood scriptwriter, Kersi Khambatta and directed by Homi Adajania, for Vogue India.

Thus:

a) Let’s not delude ourselves by saying that these are Miss Padukone’s words or choices. That’s a factual error. This video is like any other film – with or without a social message – that she deems fit to work in. She’s an actor. And somebody else writes her scripts.

b) The video is for Vogue and I cannot emphasize enough on the irony of this production. Vogue, for those of you who may not know, is a fashion and lifestyle magazine – something that has come under the scanner for air brushing images of reed thin models to make them look thinner; for photoshopping images of sufficiently white models to make them look whiter; for being racist, sexist and socially irresponsible on occasions more than one. How could you miss it? Can you think of any cover of any issue of Vogue that hasn’t featured a perfectly polished, shaved, toned epitome of “beauty”?

And such a magazine is now going to tell us about body shapes, sizes, feminism and a woman’s right to choice? Really?

It’s not the production team of this video that I’m against. They’ve always unabashedly catered to the select-elect class of the society. I’m amazed at how we got entirely smitten by this pseudo attempt at doing something noble. Vogue is a profit-making business organization, and every act, even those that come under the banner of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), is committed with one motive – generating business. And they have done brilliant business once again!

Now, if I were to believe, for the sake of argument, that the words that Miss Padukone croons in the video are not hollow and are indeed heartfelt, then a fresh set of questions arise. Let us do a brief background check on the actor in question. She has in the past, without any hesitation, endorsed products like Kellogg’s Special K, Neutrogena Fine Fairness Cream and Garnier Fair Miracle 2-in-1 Fairness Cream (products that help you reduce weight or turn gloriously white, because being fat and ‘unfair’ is not beautiful, silly). Doesn’t she then sound a little hypocritical when she wants us to believe that she really feels strongly about women’s emancipation? Not to forget the cover of Vogue-India’s June-2012 edition; the transcript beneath the picture said – “Deepika Padukone [talks] on how to get the best body in Bollywood.” In the video script, Khambatta uses the phrase “don’t be fooled”, and Miss Padukone delivers the line with immense conviction. We do need to pay heed to those three words – Don’t be fooled!

Deepika-Padukone-Vogue-India-Cover-2012

So, what’s the video all about? “My Choices”. Who am I? A woman. What sort of choices? I can choose to sleep with who I want (even if that amounts to adultery), eat what I want, go where I want, do what I want. Who does the video address? “You”. Who are you? Presumably, a man. The equation is linear. The video talks Feminism. What’s Feminism? I shall refrain from defining it and quote people more erudite instead – “Feminism is a global, political movement for the liberation of women and society, based on equality for all people”, writes Finn Mackay in an article for The Guardian. “Although I use the word equality … feminism is about so much more than that”, he adds. “If feminism were solely about women’s equality with men, then that would wrongly suggest that the world is just fine as it is; that all men are doing great (which they aren’t) and that all women need to do is to get where men are.” What Mackay suggests in his article later requires further deliberation – What are the threats to Feminism in today’s world? Mackay’s reply is prompt – “the obvious threats … today are the same as they have always been, the main ones being the existence of patriarchy … However, there are more insidious and less obvious threats … in the form of a version of feminism known as ‘choice feminism’ … Choice feminism can be found particularly in media representations of what feminism is and what women’s empowerment might look like. There is an attempt … to reduce feminism to simply being the right for women to make choices. Not choices whether to stand for parliament, or instigate pay transparency in the office or lead an unemployed workers’ union … Instead these are choices about what amount of makeup to wear, whether to go ‘natural’ or try mascara … or other such modern and edgy decisions of the sort which face the feisty, sassy … liberated woman of today.” Did you realise what Mackay did there? Yes, he gave us a concrete picture of exactly how ridiculous this video is at so many levels.

Have you indeed watched it carefully, gentle folks? There’s no attempt at showcasing the variety, in the true sense, of women’s bodies. The women who feature in the video are impeccably groomed. They are spectacularly tattooed, bejewelled, waxed, expensively dressed, urban, “modern” women; women with privilege and affluence. Now, that’s not a bad thing. I’m not principally against people who’re financially secure. However, I have reservations against people who pretend to spearhead radical movements, without ever fully leaving their comfort-zone. The people involved in making this video are guilty of the same thing that the early Anglo-white-heteronormative-bourgeois Feminists were guilty of – they’re exclusive; they cannot fathom the real depth of this world or conceive of the plight of people who’re far removed from their socio-geo-politico-economic backgrounds. For a tribal woman sitting in Murshidabad, for example, who doesn’t even know that she has rights over her own body, the question of having sex before marriage or outside marriage is tertiary.

I’m not disappointed with the makers of this video. They addressed sufficiently serious issues, sitting in their distant, disconnected, air-conditioned offices, as best as they could. They targeted a group of people whom they can turn into potential subscribers. They did what they’re meant to do. I’m only disturbed by how gullible we are and how we quietly bought everything they sold.

The efforts of the team that put this video together are commendable to an extent. But please stop eulogizing every little thing that goes viral on the internet. There’s a world that’s suffering and burning for real, that needs you to be its mouthpiece.

You must be to comment.
  1. Ritesh Anan

    First, Kudos to the author for such a brilliant post and being objective. AWESOME JOB!

    “TRUE FEMINISM” FOR DUMMIES

    [THE COMPLETE COURSE – FREE COPIES WILL BE DISTRIBUTED EVERYTIME ANYWHERE PROPAGANDA TRIES/ WILL TRY TO SPREAD ITS WING!:D ]

    {Pre-script> I definitely know a significant MAJORITY OF YOUTH (of both genders) believes in the REAL definition of feminism not the PROPAGANDA BEING CIRCULATED in name of feminism nowadays}

    HOWEVER, IF ANYONE IS CONFUSED OR IS IN DOUBT, READ BELOW>>

    On the Vogue Video, a “gender neutral organism” said >> “Doing feminist videos on weekdays and selling fairness creams on weekends —-“My Choice” 🙂

    Q- What is true feminism and how to identify the ‘real’ from the ‘propaganda’?

    In the last few days there has been an onslaught of coverage regarding Feminism. And in that narrative there are two contrasting definitions of feminism emerging –

    1) The Real Feminism- “Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve equal political, economic, cultural, personal, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment.” (source – Wikipedia)

    DO NOTICE THE WORD “equal” MENTIONED TWICE THERE – VERY IMPORTANT

    2) The Propaganda Feminism that some people want us to believe , let us call them – Hard core feminist or Feminism extremists (irrespective of gender) >>>according to whom feminism is different or perhaps more than ‘equality’.

    The Feminism extremists and some outlets want you to believe –

    1. It’s ok to call a man ‘pig’, ‘a$$h0le’, ‘d0uche’, (insert any highly offensive expletive here) / It is ok for a women to have ‘My Choice’ of sex outside of marriage (NOT “MY CHOICE OF sex outside of marriage with partners’ consent”, “not even – MY CHOICE to have an OPEN MARRIAGE”, just ‘My choice of sex outside of marriage)/ It is ok to have anti-dowry laws where the onus is on THE MAN TO PROVE THAT HE HAS NOT TAKEN DOWRY AND WILL BE JAILED IMMEDIATELY AFTER BEING REPORTED WITHOUT BAIL/ It is ok to have ADULTERY LAWS ONLY AGAINST MEN/ It is ok to project “most men” as douche bags>>> That’s PARTIALITY/DOMINATION NOT EQUALITY.

    2. It is ok to publish gross or gory images on public platforms including news/opinion sites, it should not be censored.

    (source – http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2015/03/menstruation-censorship-by-instagram/, http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2015/03/rupi-kaur-instagram/)

    [Note- After receiving a lot of social media attention and flak from feminism extremists, who actually constitute a significant number of its user base and would have stopped using its service- Instagram decided to put the picture back – Purely for BUSINESS, If there was nothing wrong, it wouldn’t have been removed in the first place]

    Talking about menstruation, discussing it openly– Nothing wrong. Hell, I have no reservations and will gladly accompany any woman to a temple or any place regardless of whether she is menstruating or not.

    I am completely against censorship or banning

    However, I do have a problem if A GUY or girl puts any GROSS/GORY image of bodily functions on a FREE public platform and also if any website publishes it where me or PEOPLE WHO DON’T WANT TO SEE SUCH IMAGES have to accidentally see it because it is on cover >>WITHOUT ‘MY CHOICE’.

    There are private platforms where one can send/share that and audience INETRESTED IN IT/ DOESN’T MIND SUCH IMAGES can see it (like – B3$tG0r3.com).>>>NO BANNING OR CENSORSHIP

    3 It’s not appropriate if a comedian jokes on gender issues and highlights the problems of society> Feminism extremist should protest against him
    (source – http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2015/03/abish-mathew-kairos-protest/)

    ONLY PROTESTERS (FEMINISM EXTREMIST) DESERVE A CHANCE FOR WRITING OPEN LETTER, THOSE WHO PROTESTED AGAINST THE FEMINIST EXTREMIST PROTESTERS DON’T GET A CHANCE TO SHARE THEIR VIEWS

    One can easily find THEMES in jokes that stand-up comedians make– fat/thin, ethnicity/regional stereotypes, famous personalities, rich/poor/ god/religion/customs etc.

    Show me a joke made by a stand-up comic and I will show you a certain demographic that can easily take offence to it, so we should BAN all those jokes and BAN comedy? >>>>Opposite of the point made in above argument , that’s called > hypocrisy.

    4.) ONE SHOULDN’T MAKE SACRIFICES/ COMPROMISE IN A RELATIONSHIP >>THEY CAN EASILY SAY ”MY CHOICE”> HELL NO
    I or anyone who has been in a ‘committed’ relationship or is married knows THAT IT IS THE FOUNDATION/BASE OF A RELATIONSHIP.

    I wouldn’t prove my point just by taking the example of a relationship between a guy and a girl and just say that a guy also makes sacrifices. RATHER I CAN PROVE IT FOR ANY RELATIONSHIP BASED ON LOVE.

    If you or anyone has suffered injuries, regardless of whatever your mom and dad were doing, how important it was > They would have SACRIFICED all that and came to you straight! >>IMAGINE IF THEY HAD SAID ‘MY CHOICE’ AND WOULDN’T HAVE COME.

    Imagine you were making an important life decision and were counting on someone (friend/family/partner/ spouse) and if he/she DITCHES you and says “MY CHOICE”>> Can you ever trust that person? RELATIONSHIPS ARE BASED ON TRUST>NO TRUST= NO RELATIONSHIP

    YOU WANT TO SMASH PATRIARCHY? YOU WANT TO END GENDER DISCRIMNATION? IS THIS THE BEST WAY TO DO IT?

    NO, THIS IS A SELF-GOAL , WHICH WILL MAKE PATRIARCHY MORE STRONGER and make it difficult for women and people who want to genuinely fight patriarchy, How ?? >> This will give patriarchy another reason to say “oh women are like that, One should do – X, Y, Z with them”

    ANYONE THAT HELPS PROMOTING SUCH PROPAGANDA WILL BE EQUALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS.

    I HOPE THESE ARGUMENTS SHOULD BE ENOUGH FOR CLARIFICATION OF DOUBTS

    HOWEVER, IF YOU ARE STILL NOT CONVINCED >>

    1) If someone is trying to induce you or 2) anyone you know who is being induced by CONSTANT propaganda feminism >>READ FURTHER

    TEST THIS HYPOTHESIS

    (EVEN THOUGH I HAVE HAD A SUCCESS RATE OF 100% AND PROVED IT EVERYTIME, I AM NOT A “COCKY “ ENOUGH TO CALL IT A PROCESS/MODEL/FORMULA, BUT WILL STICK WITH HYPOTHESIS – TEST IT ON YOUR OWN!)

    Step 1) -Ask the person to find anyone they think will be best ( basically a feminist extremist) to defend the propaganda that they have started to believe (can be anyone, any gender) OR If you are being induced by a feminist extremist yourself>

    Step 2) – Ask the feminist extremist to debate “LOGICALLY” on the MERITS of points mentioned in the segment above.

    EXPECTED RESULT > 1) You will never get a logical or factually correct explanation
    CAUTION – SAME AS WITH ANY DEBATE WHERE THE OTHER PARTY CAN’T LOSE THE ARGUMENT -1) Expect the debate to get heated up 2) Be ready to hear expletives, especially if you are a man.

    If you get the same result as the expected one > You have proved that you/ someone else is in the grip of Feminism extremist who is trying to spread propaganda feminism> RUN……….NOW!!!!

    FOR THOSE WHO CAN’T FIND A FEMINISM EXTREMIST TO DEBATE WITH >

    Q -How to identify a feminist extremist?

    A – Although there can be exceptions to this, INVARIABLY you will find this thumb rule to identify a feminist extremist one most of the times –

    LOOK FOR THE FOLLOWING CHARACTERISTICS >

    1) People who have made/are making/want to make ‘unconventional’ life choices. 2) Women who have been treated unfairly ; AND/OR 3) Believers of Communism/socialism/left-inclined.

    Here’s Why These Three>

    1) Unconventional Life choices> Remember I have used the word ‘unconventional’ not ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’- First let’s define what makes something conventional. If a sizeable majority – let’s say 80-90% of individuals do something or believe in something that ‘something’ becomes conventional. Now change the ‘something’ in last statement with ‘commitment, love, marriage’. So, “by definition” anyone who doesn’t is making an unconventional choice.

    >>THE NEED TO JUSTIFY TO SOCIETY THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF ONE’S ACTIONS (A Big big psychological need)

    2) Women who have been treated unfairly> Any kind of wrong act but especially ones that created a high level of impact, can be any form-verbal abuse, defamed, sexually abused, oppressed.

    >> CAN BE EASILY UNDERSTOOD WHY, IF YOU CAN’T, ASK SOMEONE WHO HAS STUDIED PSYCHOLOGY.

    3) Communism/socialism/left-inclined – Communism/socialism has failed and also destroyed lives throughout the world and is a dying breed (case in point – North Korea, Cuba, West Bengal etc.) because of a basic flaw – you can DEFINITELY IMAGINE A SOCIETY where everyone is equal, is equally paid, is treated equally but IT CAN NEVER HAPPEN “PRACTICALLY”. Why?? Simply because some/most(depends on your belief) human beings are flawed and those humans won’t want equal thing, they would do unfair things to get in power, get more things than their power, be close to government/government officials/ get government contract etc. AND RULE OVER OTHERS > resulting in cult figures and cronyism.

    >>> COMMUNISM BEING THE EVIL THAT IT IS, TALKS , MIND YOU ONLY ‘TALKS’, A LOT ABOUT EQUALITY, WHICH HELPS IN ATTRACTING WOMEN. HOWEVER, TO KNOW WHAT REALLY HAPPENS TO WOMEN IN COMMUNISM – 1) JUST GO AND TYPE “EXPLOITATION OF WOMEN COMRADES IN NAXAL CAMPS” 2) “The North Korean government engages in forced prostitution. Its prostitutes are known as manjokcho” (WIKIPEDIA)……can go on and on.

    IN REALITY, WOMEN ARE MOSTLY “EMPOWERED”, HAVE EQUALITY, CHOICE TO DO ANYTHING> IN CAPITALIST NATIONS- U.S., U.K., FRANCE , WHAT WE COLLECTIVELY CALL ‘WEST’

    *Some buggers will point out how China /H.K. are communist nations and still – 1)successful and 2) have equality for women– tell the uneducated idiots to understand the difference between economic policies & social policies. Just go through China/H.K. economic policies and see what they follow! As far as social policies and freedom are concerned- 1) They have state controlled media, so this website, my ability to make a comment- everything is BANNED 2) EQUALITY -Given that women constitute 50% of population – how many can you count in the top echelons of government in China, H.K., Do try it on TV or videos? 🙂

    Finally, Although I am a firm believer in non-violence, and not taking law in one’s own hand>> I will do the same thing to any FEMINISM EXTREMIST who tries to preach me or convince me (someone who is in a relationship with the very first women he fell in love with 10 years ago at 16– has NEVER cheated, gone through thick and thin still stuck together) what “women empowerment” means AS I WILL DO TO ANYONE WHO TRIES TO OUTRAGE THE MODESTY OF ANY WOMAN IN MY PRESENCE>>>>

    Punch them on the face, break their jaw, break their leg and then depending on whether they are sorry or not >take them to the hospital myself!

    P.S.- 1) To anyone who survived reading this whole thing – Congratulations for completing the course 😉
    2) No copyrights 😉 – share/copy anything you find useful. For any clarification the author can be reached at – [Twitter- >> ritesh_anan ]
    3) To anyone who is – feminism extremist/communist/people who have made “unconventional life choices” , who has read this IN SPITE OF THE WARNING AT TOP and has been OFFENDED> AVOID IT,DOWN VOTE IT, just don’t reply/drag my name to start a conversation/debate based on arguments without logic, abuses, name calling, or “glorified prose”, basically > propaganda

    —————————————————————————————————————————————————“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” – Abraham Lincoln

    1. TheSeeker

      Bravo, a very entertaining read 😀 xD

    2. Ritesh Anan

      Thanks “gender neutral friend” 🙂 Appreciate it!

    3. Urni

      That was almost as long as the article, if not longer, and as well researched, if not better!

      What’s the difference between belief and faith? One depends on reasons, rationality and logic. The other is irrational, blind.
      What then is the difference between faith and stupidity? Both seem to be a consequence of illogical, irrational and blind choices.
      Well the difference lies in numbers. If it’s about one man’s irrationality – it ends up getting termed as stupid. The moment it’s about a large number of people doing the same irrational thing, it gets eulogised as faith.

      Why did I bring in this allusion here? You’re of course wise enough to fathom it. =)

      And thank you for mentioning that bit about the Sikh Canadian feminist and Instagram. I want this to be on record – the picture offended my aesthetics, just as a picture on defecation would. Should such pictures be removed? I’m not so sure yet. I need to talk to myself a little more about this. However, I know I wouldn’t be particularly happy about seeing the picture on my wall. I would quickly proceed to see something else. Also, again, to put it on record, I would find a picture of a blood stained bedsheet and pajamas, be it menstrual blood, or blood oozing out from a bruise, beyond my modest limits of acceptability. It might be all right for other people though, and I understand that, but I would not want to see it. If it’s okay for somebody to show it, I think it should be okay for me to say I don’t want to see it. My choice, you know!

    4. Ritesh Anan

      @Urni – Yes I know 🙂 and that is exactly one of the choices for which an individual with all conviction can say ‘my choice’.

      Clarity of thoughts and rationality are, I believe, two of the most important factors in any conversation or arguments one presents and I am glad that you as an author posses both. Moreover, even though the title could have been better (and helped a lot in share count), with all honesty, it is the best story I read out of the many that criticize the video because of the objective way in which it was presented. Also a pleasant surprise was out of all the places, YKA published it.(It mostly publishes stories catering to let’s say a ‘particular audience’)

      Keep up the good work!

    5. Intern

      Titles are usually editorial decisions that writers don’t have any control over. And I know what you mean by YKA catering to a particular audience. @Urni congratulations for at least being able to get them to publish your story. Especially after YKA itself published that stupidly lavishly praise of that stupid video. Haha. Your story is a comment on their overexcitement too!

    6. Susmita Abani

      I am very sad that such a wonderful article has been followed by such a hogwash comment.

      The way to identify a feminist is if they’ve made ‘unconventional’ life choices? So you mean those women who broke convention by wanting to vote, those women in Saudi Arabia who defied the law by driving a car, those women who fought against being burned alive on a pyre with their dead husbands, the women like Malala Yousufzai who fought death for an education, women who want equal inheritance and don’t want to pay dowry because she’s a woman, women who didn’t want to believe their husbands are their lord: all these women who challenged and continue to challenge convention are EXTREMIST feminists in your opinion, right?

      So wanting equality, and questioning the status quo to allow for women to have the most basic of rights is extreme?

      Being a socialist is extreme, and yet the conservative people who imposed all of the oppressive rules i just spoke about are innocent?

      That is the most absurd comment I’ve ever read. Please read some history, please look at the status of women around you in developing nations all over the world, open your eyes beyond what’s being said in a silly 3 minute video by Deepika Padukone, and you’ll understand why we still need feminism. Deepika Padukone represents the top echelons of society, and has not seen the kind of hardship that resulted in the noble fight for equal rights. I hate that whenever there is slight criticism of feminism, critics like this emerge to completely undermine its value.

    7. Ritesh Anan

      SPOTTED!

      One can’t argue with stupidity> why?> It will omit all the “context”, twist you turn you and throw you down a cliff

      read>re-read>have a coffee. read it again>keep on doing this till the comet named objectivity hits!

      “OFFENDED> AVOID IT,DOWN VOTE IT, just don’t reply/drag my name to start a conversation/debate based on arguments without logic”

    8. Susmita Abani

      Hahahahahahahahahahaha!! The reason why you won’t argue with me is because you don’t have a logical justification for writing that women who make unconventional life choices are extremist feminists.

      It’s not because my arguments are stupid, it’s because you have no answers.

    9. ItsJustMe

      I dont disagree with you. People can have unconventional life style. The point Ritesh is trying to make is, it is upto him how he views these people. He can hate them and label them as extremists like any woman who labels people like Ritesh a male chauvinist. You cannot force society to accept what you do. You can go on and do what you want, but do not expect everyone to accept it, if it is unconventional, chances are majority will not accept it and hence it becomes bad. If you are sure what you are doing is right for you, please go ahead, but leave society alone. Do not try to enforce your views on people like Ritesh, who just happen to believe what he believes because his experiences may be different from yours and that is how people form their believes

    10. Ritesh Anan

      The problem with arguing with stupids is…………………………!! yeah you know. So

      So, here it goes –

      The First Argument In The Chapter Is Difference Between Feminism & Propganada Feminsim. My Whole Argument is how true Feminism and Feminist movement has been hijacked by ‘Extremist Feminist’.

      I explain how real feminism (feminist) want = equality= GOOD = I SUPPORT THAT
      I explain how EXTREMIST FEMINIST want = domination = BAD= IDON’T SUPPORT THAT

      If dimwits like you had the mind to understand that, the argument ended then end there, but since I can judge your IQ by your comment. I will go and explain this in full –

      broke convention by wanting to vote = EQUALITY = REAL FEMINISM = I SUPPORT
      those women in Saudi Arabia who defied the law by driving a car = EQUALITY = REAL FEMINISM = I SUPPORT
      those women who fought against being burned alive on a pyre with their dead husbands = EQUALITY = REAL FEMINISM = I SUPPORT
      the women like Malala Yousufzai who fought death for an education= EQUALITY = REAL FEMINISM = I SUPPORT
      women who want equal inheritance and don’t want to pay dowry because she’s a woman = EQUALITY = REAL FEMINISM = I SUPPORT
      women who didn’t want to believe their husbands are their lord = EQUALITY = REAL FEMINISM = I SUPPORT

      WHICH OF THESE “REAL” TOPICS IS DEEPIKA’S VIDEO ABOUT?

      I TELL YOU =NONE

      WHAT IT IS ABOUT? = SEX = NOTHING WRONG

      WHAT IS WRONG? = SLEEPING OUTSIDE MARRIAGE = “UNCONVENTIONAL” LIFE CHOICE.

      ITS BECAUSE OF STUPIDS LIKE YOU THAT PROPAGANDA GETS SPREAD IN THE WORLD AND RATIONALITY, FACTS, OBJECTIVITY LOSES !

    11. Harsha

      Very interesting. But i feel like you are demonising unconventional people

    12. Ritesh Anan

      The very first line > “Remember I have used the word ‘unconventional’ not ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’”

      Give me one line that classifies under “demonizing” and let me finance your Copacabana trip

      What in your dictionary classifies as ‘demonising’?> To want society’s approval? By that definition I am demonizing 99.9999% of human race, SO KILL ME > RIGHT NOW!

  2. ItsJustMe

    Great read, systematically shatters the popular belief about this advertisement (not a film for social cause). And it got 7 shares, if the title had words like, empower and women’s right, it would have hit 300 shares by now. This is really depressing to the point that there is no one willing to hear the other side of feminism. The popular movement in the west currently being women against feminism. Yes feminism theoretically means rooting for gender equality. But it is as naive as saying BJP is a secular party, Kashmir is controlled by India. It cannot be farther from the truth. There will not be one feminist in India addressing the rights of men, a 30 year old dowry law known as section 498A and a divorce law that makes any woman standing for equality drop their heads in shame.
    Here is what one of the members of women against feminism had to say as to why she chose to be against it
    “I don’t need feminism because I got to where I am today by working hard and not adapting a victim complex by blaming patriarchy with my third world problems”
    Another member says
    “I don’t need feminism because I support equality not sexism”
    More like “I don’t need feminism because, I believe men can be just as prone to misandry as women can be to misogny…Mainly from the twisted perverted, broken form that feminism now has- when in reality it is an extremist movement.”
    Yes women in India are far behind the rest of the world, so are our feminists. When the whole world think of getting equality by acting like equals, feminism in India is exactly what the first phrase explains… a victim complex induced to the minds of ladies systematically, fighting for sexist, gender biased laws and further fighting to make it more gender biased, using victim complex to get preferential treatment everywhere whether it be something as small as a separate compartment in trains and reserved seats in buses to something seriously threatening like the section 498A reservation in Parliament which is by far the most anti constitutional law you can ever find in Indian constitution. As we see the feminism gain more and more strength in India, women who actually want to oppose them, or who actually think they are free are being oppressed and being convinced of their victim hood. The media reaps the profits by exploiting the popularity of this third world feminism among both genders, both men and women here fail to realize they are setting an example of truly segregated society where women have a separate set of laws and privileges than men. Who are we liberating here? What are we achieving? Where are we headed? YKA is no exception to media preferring to write in support of feminism and female victim hood. This is the first article I have read which attempts to to show the other side this extremist movement. Kudos to the writer for that. There is one woman I know who stands for the rights of man, in that movement hers is the loudest voice, yes India is the land of ironies and Deepika Narayan Bharadwaj is the biggest example

    1. Urni

      Thank you. And thank god that It’s NOT Just Me! =)

    2. ItsJustMe

      If you are interested kindly like women against feminism page in facebook and follow them in twitter. the content will help you get a global perspective in writing future articles
      Thanks for standing out. I almost lost my faith in YKA before this article came out

    3. Intern

      @ItsJustMe I agree, dude. I’m going to come back to YKA now to look for @Urni’s articles. Some of the stuff that they’ve been publishing these days is absolutely unreadable. Guess they need to keep their sponsors happy!

    4. Ritesh Anan

      @ItsJustMe

      Thanks for highlighting the specific culprits who are leading this segregation in society.

      My two cents- ” The media [and brands, especially women-centric brands,] reaps the profits by exploiting the popularity of this third world feminism”

  3. c pritam

    Brilliant post! U just wrote what i really thought!

  4. Mariya Pillai

    You know what Urni and whoever hating the video… Please stop criticising it. i’ll tell you why.
    I know vogue is fashion and Glamour world, but it does not mean they can’t tell us or light thr views on empowerment…
    we need to STOP judging the intentions. It was just a short movie just like any other. Let’s all appreciate and so next time they’ll come up with really good ideas hat reach more mass…. its simple as that!!!…

    1. ItsJustMe

      Could not agree more. We should not judge. It obviously took a lot of work for a professional filmmaker and 99 ladies who are leaders in their respective fields to come up with a 3 minute video.

    2. Urni

      Dear Maria,

      Do you know what our problem is? We do not read, we do not analyse. We jump to conclusions. If you had made the effort of going through my article you would have realised that I do not criticise the video per se. I criticise the attitude of the people going gaga over a little advertisement, suddenly. “The efforts of the team that put this video together are commendable to an extent. But please stop eulogizing every little thing that goes viral on the internet. There’s a world that’s suffering and burning for real, that needs you to be its mouthpiece.” – That in fact was the concluding paragraph of my article. It might surprise you very much, but yes, yes, I did write that. You only failed to read it. And that is my problem – with people who do not critically analyse or think about things; who follow fads and promote everything that happens to go viral. Just like people did with this video. Here’s hoping that my comment was short enough for you to go through. Thank you. =)

    3. Urni

      Mariya*

      I’m sorry. Autocorrect.

    4. Vijay Seethepalli

      go Urni.
      Deepika affirmed her views in a press conf so we know she feels these choices are right for her.
      Vogue, is trying to go viral by showcasing hipster ladies who are well empowered to make their own choices.
      Deepika is really telling women to improve their self efficacy in getting laid. She was mostly
      saying – answer you booty call girls. If there was a social message, i’ve missed it after watching the video twice.

    5. Godfrey Bouillon

      What do you mean not to judge or crticize. That’s the very essence of a democray. People judged virat kholi including the top cricket commentators that “he chose a poor shot” in semi finals against Australia. People judged Rahul Gandhi, Narendra Modi and Aravind Kejriwal. That’s why they say, people gave judgement. Its upto the perform what kind of judgement or opinion he forms on the situation or a person.

      Secondly, “not to critcize”. Are you serious? The level of stupidity is preposterous. It’s like Modi trying to pass a bill in the parliament and asking the oppostion and media not to crticize it.

      You make this ridiculous statements supporting totalitarianism and go bonkers when someone addresses you as a femi “nazi”.

      Seriously, grow up. You’d probably understand when some “Empowered ” women exploits the gender biased law (sec 498 A) against your brother or cousin.

      Sen

  5. Urni

    Ritesh, thank you, once again. I’d like you to know that very often titles of articles are editorial decisions and we stand by those decisions for a number of reasons. I do hope that this write-up reaches the largest section of people, because this video is turning people delusional instead of doing anything vastly radical – and I hope wise people like you willtake the initiative of spreading the word, instead of relying on people who are attracted by gimmicky titles and not the content =)

    Sushmita, Harsha, Pritam, glad that you could relate to it.

    ItsJustMe – The campaign will go on, because of course, it’s not just you or me. Thanks =)

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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