In the video titled “My Choice” shot by Tassaduq Hussain, it shows shot after shot of women including Ninrat Kaur, Adhuna Akhtar, Anupama Chopra, and more who have made a difference in their respective careers telling you every single thing they see as their right as women. The video is a collaboration between director Homi Adajania and Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone, and produced by JSW and Sangita Jindal found on Vogue’s website. “My Choice” is a short film made dedicated to #VogueEmpower, Vogue India’s social awareness initiative. Filmed and launched in October 2014, “My Choice” aims to bring awareness to the cause of women’s rights nationwide.
According to studies, women in India enjoyed equal status and rights during the early Vedic period, however, in approximately 500 B.C the status of women began to decline, and they have remained unequal to men ever since. Although reform movements such as Jainism allowed women to be admitted to religious orders, women in India have faced confinement and restrictions. Practices such as Sati, Jauhar, Purdah, and Devadasis are all examples of this oppression in India’s history. These practices include widows being immolated alive on their husband’s funeral pyre, immolation by wives and daughters of defeated warriors, and requiring women to cover themselves to conceal their faces and form from males imposing restrictions on their mobility. In today’s society women are still seen as subordinate and inferior to men with their lives shaped by customs that are centuries old. In the twenty first century women living in India aren’t capable of earning money, are seen as economically and emotionally dependent on men, live with their husband’s family after marriage, and are required to cover themselves as to not distract, or entice men. In the video “My Choice”, the actors stand up against this discrimination. Phrases such as “my body, my mind, my choice”, “to be a size zero or a size fifteen, my choice” “to marry, or not to marry” “to have sex before marriage, to have sex outside of marriage, to not have sex, my choice” and “remember you are my choice, I am not your privilege” are all stated to show that we are individuals and what we choice to do is solely up to ourselves. In a world that has evolved so quickly, how do we still have oppression with regards to women today?
Although oppression of women started a long time ago, it is still heavily prevalent in certain parts of the world today. Vogue took the opportunity with this video to state women are not under the control of men or other women. Every individual has the opportunity to do whatever it is they please. I believe Vogue was brave in putting this video out in India during a time where women’s oppression is under concern, however in order to make a difference in the world today, more steps are going to needed to be taken to see a change.