Bollywood Star Deepika Padukone Has Boobs. World Keeps Turning.

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Sigh…are we still having these types of conversations in 2014?!? C’mon people!

Bollywood beauty Deepika Padukone has recently made headlines, and she is pissed. In a country like India where the majority of news stories lately are about the horrific rapes, murders and hangings of young women, it’s no surprise that the actress would be outraged when a major Indian media outlet decided perpetuating harmful gender stereotypes was “newsworthy”.

The Time of India, supposedly one of the most respected and widely known news sources in India, tweeted a video compilation of boob shots from a variety of Deepika’s films. Deepika saw it and shocked that she was the subject of blatant sexism, and decided to tweet her anger:

 


The Times of India then responded to her outrage claiming it was a “compliment” and that they wanted everyone to know how great she looks. Ummmm, ok… The biggest problem with that idiotic response is that they weren’t complimenting Deepika as a whole person, but focusing on one specific part of her body, sexualizing it for entertainment’s sake, and effectively dismembering her worth down to just a body part.

Let’s be clear, telling a woman how great her boobs are and talking about them on her behalf is NOT a compliment. Talking about her intelligent, her success, her creativity, her ability to care for others, the way she deals with difficultly and how she advocates for other people is a compliment. How embarrassing that a major media outlet doesn’t even know the difference!

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But simply tweeting her disgust at the TOI and having many of her fans support her wasn’t enough. In the name of true female empowerment, Deepika decided to write an open letter on her Facebook page titled ‘My Point Of View’ about the inherent problem with this situation. And let’s be clear, it wasn’t just that they were talking about her body and calling her sexy:

There is only ONE sign that a woman wants to have sex and that is that she says “YES”.

The reason I write the above line is because we all know that in India we are so desperately trying to make a change in the way sections of our society think in order to move towards a happier world devoid of inequality,rape,fear and pain.

I am not naive about my own profession; it is one that requires lots of demanding things of me. A character may demand that I be clothed from head to toe or be completely naked, and it will be my choice as an actor whether or not I take either. Understand that this is a ROLE and not REAL, and it is my job to portray whatever character I choose to play convincingly.

What my concern is and I am stating it clearly so it is not misconstrued or confused with Shahrukh’s 8-pack or any other woman’s or man’s anatomy. I have spoken out against an ideology that such regressive tactics are still being employed to draw a reader’s attention at a time when we are striving for women’s equality and empowerment.

In a time where women should be applauded for making headway in a male-dominated society,we blur the lines between REEL and REAL life and dilute all our efforts by making a one-year old back sliding piece of news a headline. Digging out an old article and headlining it “OMG: Deepika’s Cleavage Show!” to attract readers is using the power of influence to proliferate recessive thought.

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When an actresses inner wear decides to do a “peek-a-boo”, she most definitely did not step out with the intention to do so. So instead of zooming in, circling it and pointing arrows at it, why don’t we give her some ‘respect’ and let it go instead of making it ‘headlines’!? Are we not human? Yes we marvel,envy and drool over a male actors 8pack abs in a film, but do we zoom in on the mans ‘crotch’ when he makes a public appearance and make that ‘cheap headlines’??!!

I have no issue celebrating my body and I have never shied away from anything on-screen to portray a character. In fact my next character portrayed is a bar dancer (sorry Farah for the spoiler!) who titillates men as a means to support her livelihood. My issue is you propagating the objectification of a REAL person,and not a character being played. Sure,dissect my characters if you wish-if it is of so much interest then discuss the character’s cup size and leg length if it is relevant to making the role convincing. All I am asking for is respect as a woman off-screen.

It is not about breasts,penises,or any other body part being reported.It is a matter of context and how out-of-context the reportage is just to sell a headline. And more so during a time in dire need of an attitude shift towards women.

For me this topic ends here.Everyone is entitled to an opinion.I have little interest to take this further as it might get more attention than it deserves and might be further misconstrued and twisted to sell more undeserved headlines.

Having said that,please may we show love,dignity and respect to each other.

You’d think that would be the end of the matter and the Time of India would’ve chalked it up to a terrible blunder and moved on. But no. They wrote their own response titled “Dear Deepika, our point of view” which once again reiterates why we are having this problem in society, and how the media is responsible in large part for the attitudes that continue to prevail in society.

The writer, who is a woman let us point out, basically brushed her off as a hypocrite because Deepika was the one who posed for all those sexy photos etc. They also accused her of turning it into a publicity stunt because it nicely coincided with the release of a new project, and the “cleavage compilation” video had been around for a year, so why did she choose to get angry about it now?

Yeah, all great arguments for objectifying a women against her wishes. NOT! The writer also stupidly points out they could’ve easily written about a make Bollywood star’s abs and body, but here’s the problem, they didn’t. And in a country like India where men are revered in society, and women are drastically reduced to lesser human beings, the objectification issue will never be on even ground.

They chose to berate and belittle her for being a calendar girl and a model for a liquor brand. We could go on and on about everything that is wrong with the TOI’s response, but you get the idea. The media has a hell of a lot to answer for, because like it or not, they have a massive influence over the way people think and shape their opinions. Thankfully Deepika Padukone has a substantial following and was also able to wield influence of her own in the right direction for many people around the world.

On a side note, this isn’t the only major faux pas the Times of India has made when it comes to shaming female celebs. They wrote an article titled ‘Hot Babes With Ugly Leg’ which was basically a piece shaming and bullying certain female celebs about the shape of their legs. The article caused a stir, but it has since been deleted. It goes to show body shaming isn’t just happening in the Western world, and all of us need to be aware of how it affects women globally.

Unless it was Deepika herself choosing to talk about her boobs or cleavage, no one has the right to take that control or agency away from her and use it in ways that are reiterating damaging attitudes toward women. We hope this incident will encourage all you women to never give your power away to anyone else. Well done Deepika for sending a vital message to women and men everywhere: objectification is dehumanizing, and an embarrassing, cheap way for any media to grow their readership.

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One Comment

  1. Pingback: She Overcame Child Marriage, Abuse & Rape To Become Bollywood's Most Successful Stuntwoman - GirlTalkHQ

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