The World of Imposed Equality

Yes. It is gender equality. What has made this the most discussed topic in the past few days is Vogue’s video ‘My Choice’, starring Deepika Padukone. While I am yet to read anything that has been written in defense of the video, there has been enough number of comments, blog posts, memes and videos that criticized it with different magnitudes of severity. I am not going to do any criticism here. Neither am I going to ask you to interpret it as what you think is appropriate. I am going to just talk about gender equality with reference to the video.

The sensational statements made in the video are what people got attracted to. Had it been an explicit critical analysis of the subject, it would have been just another one in the heap of ‘very good’ videos. Criticism is proof of the attention it gathered. People have started to brood over feminism after watching it. They have started to define what women empowerment really is. They have started to put questions and started to search for answers. And for all this, it is a success. Despite all the criticism, its purpose has been served, the purpose to make every one think and talk about gender equality. Whether this was intended, especially in this manner, or not, I don’t know.

One thing I noticed in the wave of reproval that has hit the social media is that people always tend to search for messages. This is a deplorable state. We always want to be preached, told what to do and what not, and provided with theories for testing. As if we don’t have brains of our own. An art form, whether it is a movie or a drama or a painting or anything else, exists just for abstract expression. They give you a story or visual, not a message. I doubt if people would realize this before the artists start to lose their creativity. However, people did use their brains here and hence this dissent. But what is funny is that everyone tends to attack the makers of the video as if they are the torchbearers for the future of women empowerment.

The principle problem with human society is that it tends to condition its pupils. While growing up, women are needed to acknowledge that they are women and men, men. And both these genders, then, conform to the societal norms. All this conditioning is the cause of gender inequality. Apart from the anatomy, there is not much difference between a man and a woman. All these distinguishable (behavioral) characteristics are a result of either self-inflicted or society-inflicted conditioning. And breaking free from this conditioning by realizing, not intellectually or wordily but actually and I mean actually, that a man and a woman are equal is what feminism should be about. But all that I read about is the importance of disciplining men and ‘empowering’ women.

One of the ubiquitous human mistakes is not to be comprehensive. People got so emotional over this entire man-woman divide that they overlooked the very basic philosophy of living a life: happiness. And happiness has nothing to do with gender. It is all about doing what you want to do, doing what you choose to do.  ‘Humanity took a wrong turn,’ said Jiddu Krishnamurti. And the wrong turn was choosing not to be free. This is of course evident in the misery all around us. And this wrong turn was not taken by only a man or only a woman but by the human. And to be free again, you must choose to be free. And being free is not forcing societal norms onto someone. And this is where a choice comes; a choice which is influenced not even by our own thought. Take a bow Homi Addajania, if this is what you meant.

Come the part that has caused the most outrage: ‘It is My Choice to have sex outside a marriage.’ ‘But men already do it’, said a defender. ‘You cry when a man does it; he is humiliated for it. Then what will be the difference if even a woman does the same?’ said an offended woman. True, that, in most people’s view, infidelity is not moral. But does imposing the principle that it is immoral change people’s mindsets? Has it changed the mindsets of countless men and women who have cheated their spouses? It is all about love. Love is what holds a marriage; what causes people to not choose to seek pleasure outside the marriage. In short, love influences choice.

Don’t tell me that this video is asking all those women who are happy in their marriage to go and have ‘sex outside their marriage’. What the video did was reminding the male chauvinists that a woman is devoted to her husband, to her children and to the rest of her family because it is her choice, not a compulsion. She chooses to happily leave all her comforts for us and she is not being great but being reciprocal to the affection we show to her. The video said, ‘The bindi on my head and your surname next to my name can be replaced but my love for you cannot. Treasure that.’ That should have made everything clear. But unfortunately, we, as usual, isolated the statements and started to unfairly judge their fairness.

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4 thoughts on “The World of Imposed Equality

  1. Well written although you point:” True, that, in most people’s view, infidelity is not moral. But does imposing the principle that it is immoral change people’s mindsets? Has it changed the mindsets of countless men and women who have cheated their spouses?” Is true but the concern with the video was that it reached many people. saying that statement may have made sense in a deeper meaning or context (I am being diplomatic over here) but once should have counted in the various reactions it would receive before hand . This is promoting a good idea through bad ways of publicity . By the way you write really good (Y)

    1. Thanks a lot Sandeep! 🙂

      Yes. The video has reached many people and has sent wrong signals. And that is what my anguish is all about. People search for messages. And if someone they venerate says something, they tend to follow it. And after all that, we blame the celebrities for behaving irresponsibly. But, firstly, is it not the responsibility of an ordinary citizen to behave rationally? The world is in this pathetic state of being easily vulnerable to influences of famous personalities. And because of this responsibility which the actors have to bear, their art takes a toll. It is because of all this complexity that we don’t get to see good movies. There is no scope of experimentation.

      I would have to differ with you on your assertion that the publicity ways are bad. The video subtly tickles our thoughts. That’s the good part of it. Saying things bluntly (as I have done here) wastes the talent of the director or writer. True, that they have valued their art over the thought of possible public reaction to it. And I am glad that they have.

      Krishna had 16400 wives. If someone says that, since God had so many, he would also like to have such number of wives, 16400 people will form a queue to hit him with their slippers. We have, mostly, never blamed the composers of our scriptures for sending out wrong messages. It is just that we have understood the heart and the beauty of the scriptures. Then why is it that we are not able to appreciate the beauty of something on similar lines? Our ability to think is a valuable gift from God. But its usage is fading.

  2. First, brilliantly written. Masterful composition of thoughts. I am impressed!
    More importantly,your maturity to peel back emotions, opinions and even facts to look at the genesis of the issue and cleanly bringing it to spotlight tells me that you will grow up to be a happy and loving man.

    It made me happy to read this blog post. Proud of you little brother! 🙂

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