The recent video ‘My Choice’ by Homi Adajania for Vogue Empower is indeed a well made one. It has gone viral (almost 13 lakhs views in 1 day!!) and people are appreciating the effort, but somehow it has failed to make an impact on me.
The word ‘Choice’ has many meanings. The dictionary defines it as the right, power or opportunity to choose.
Some new age folks define ‘Choice’ as a well thought out, consideration based, burden less, obligation less, freedom filled opportunity!
To me, the latter definition makes more sense. It is much empowering to see choice as a powerful tool that opens up a number of possibilities and not just something that extends or inverts the context as done in this video.
Whether we are aware or not, we are constantly operating under a fundamental set of assumptions – default assumptions that go unquestioned. It is these assumptions that create the context in which the world operates. And these contexts are a mighty and a decisive force. They determine our worldview; what’s possible and not, what’s true and false, what’s right and wrong, what we think we can and can not do.
Women are objectified.
Women are restrained.
Women are seen as a privilege; a symbol of the family status rather than a human being.
Women are not seen as sexual beings, with sexual desires.
Women don’t have the freedom that men have.
Given these limited contexts, nothing beyond stretching 6 PM to 4 AM, size 0 to size 15, and so on seems possible.
Choice is a word that allows a ‘yes’, and makes the ‘ability to say no’ possible.
The video has taken for granted that things are a certain way, like most of us tend to do – for whatever reason – culture, patriarchy, our circumstances, the content of our life’s experiences.
And in order to change things, we keep moving the content around… We keep juggling within the same context. For example, we keep talking about not objectifying and measuring women, and yet we continue to stay within the conversation of sizes! It is pointless! And history has witnessed that inverting the context doesn’t help much. The need of the hour is to undo the existing canons of subjugation of women.
Perhaps, the need of the hour is also to invent context. To create a new language that defines women. This would not necessarily change the lens or mindsets per se; but I believe it would create a possibility wherein those old assumptions simply stop defining who we are. A context of that manner should be our only choice. Isn’t it?