Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Necessity of Choice (or, Shitty videos can still make good points)

I'm pretty sure you have seen the video. Shot like a cross between Schindler's List 2: Schindler Zombies and an epileptic's nightmare, it's titled My Choice and it's pissed a lot of people off. Strangely, the overall rage not about the migraine-inducing jump cuts (seriously, it's like someone did a mashup of the action scenes in Batman Begins and all the Bourne movies. Well, the good ones), nor the so-pretentious-it's-barely-English script relayed in the monotone voice of Deepika Padukone, which, while it does serve as a narcolepsy inducing counterpoint to the frenzied video, is too flat to even be enjoyed ironically.

No, what people are pissed at seems to be the fact that a woman is saying it's her choice to do certain things. Naughty, naughty things. The mouth-frothers largely fall into two camps. 1)Enraged men and women, but mostly men, going "Oh Yeah! Well it's HIS choice to do those things too!", and 2) Enraged men and women, but mostly women, going "How dare you promote naughty things, you bad, bad, anti-Indian-culture role model, you".

Well cool your heels, boys and girls. First of all, the video is called "My Choice". Not "My Smart Choice". Or "My Moral Choice". Or "My Culturally Appropriate Choice". No, that's not a dig at the video. I mean it. The video is called, "My Choice" for a reason. It means having the choice to fuck up. It means having the choice to move in directions in which other people, and even common sense tells you not to. Choice doesn't mean you are protected from the consequences of your choices, it means being free to make them without being physically and emotionally restrained from doing so.

"But what about the MEN!!! Oh won't someone think of the helpless men who don't have any of these CHOICES!". Oh boo fucking hoo. Far more men than women have been making those choices for centuries. Men have been having sex before marriage, and after marriage, and outside marriage, and inside marriage, and on top of marriage and standing on the goal-line of marriage and from the 50-yard line of marriage from time immemorial. "But I/my daddy/my grandpa/my maternal uncle twice removed has always been faithful! And my neighbor Mr.Chatterjee's wife sleeps around all the time! Clearly that proves there is NO gender bias all over India, right?" Well son, you have here what is called an 'anecdotal argument', - a logical fallacy. Your dinky little argument does not prove women have it better than men, or equal to men, and no, you having a female boss/landlord/domineering wife does not magically make it so. It just means you are a special snowflake.

As long as most victims of rape, or dowry death, or acid attacks, or forced prostitution, or domestic violence in India continue to be women, your special status means jack and shit. You're still the privilaged one. "Oh, but what about the evil, evil women registering false 498A cases". Well, what did you THINK would happen if you made a lopsided law like this? You think the women who need this the most, the ones in the remotest villages, have the balls to go to their local police stations and register cases against their husbands? No! It's the women who want to misuse the law who have easiest access to it. That DOESN'T mean men in India are not privileged.

Coming back to the second argument against the video. The whole "Indian culture" deal. Yeah, so the video is against Indian culture. You know what was part of Indian culture? Burning widows to death. Or segregating people based on the situation of their birth. Or keeping women as second-class citizens. No, you don't get to cherry-pick the parts of Indian culture you like, so if you admit that there were aspects of Indian culture needed to change, well then, even now, there are aspects of it that need to change. (Of course, if you believe the aforementioned aspects didn't need to change, you are a psychopath and I would request you to hit your head with a hammer and continue hitting until you can't feel things anymore).Second, who died and made Deepika fucking Padukone a role model? "Ah, but little girls look up to her!". Well, then the parents of those little girls need to take some responsibility and teach them that mediocre actresses with expressionless voices shouldn't be role models. Remember taking responsibility for your child? For his or her tastes and choices? So she said eternal lust and temporary love or something like that (I refuse to watch it again. Seriously, fuck that voice.). If that makes your little princess break off her marriage and jump the bones of the nearest guy she sees, I'm guessing there are more issues here than a schizophrenic, shitty, pretentious video.

The bottomline is, choice is important. Even the right to make the wrong choices. Especially the right to make the wrong choices. To find out whether they were really wrong, or whether it's society that's been wrong all this time. Bring up your girls, and boys to be intelligent, to be good, to be wise and kind and joyful. But don't teach them to fear choices. Don't teach them to recoil in horror if they feel lust forever, and love for a short time. You can't force anyone to feel anything, so don't make themselves feel like something is wrong with them if they don't feel what you want them to. if you do, you will be hurting them far more than the video ever could.