Whether it’s the recent spate of threats to leak nude celebrity photos of the likes of Emma Watson , Amber Heard and Kim Kardashian—or the TOI’s blatant use of Deepika Padukone to grab eyeballs; it is obvious that women in the public eye are being targeted. Be it by a prominent media house or a group of unknown and anonymous nerds; the tendency to want to put women in their place is considerably high and is growing as we speak.
TOI argued in its editorial (strategically written by a woman to ward off the accusations of male Chauvinism) that Deepika had several photos even more revealing than the one they had tweeted alongside the headline “OMG: Deepika Padukone’s cleavage show;” and went on to use the cliché ‘she’s doing it as a publicity stunt for her next movie’ line. Deepika had earlier retorted to the tweet with a tweet of her own: “YES! I am a Woman. I have breasts AND a cleavage! You got a problem!!??”. She also wrote a detailed post on facebook which apart from highlighting that men aren’t objectified as women are, discussed the importance of consent and choice in the portrayal of women, in this case herself. ‘’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,’ she wrote, adding that TOI was using its influence to encourage regressive thought.
As in the case of UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and actress, Emma Watson, who announced she was a feminist and launched the HeForShe campaign in her first speech at UN headquarters, New York; the story was the same. When her outspokenness and passion for change was well received and the audience cheered her on, the dark side of the internet reared its ugly head and hackers threatened to release naked photos of her. Emma has decided to ignore the trolls completely and her tweets only focus on her campaign.
It may be argued that Hollywood and Bollywood stars are often already in the limelight and since they choose to do semi-naked photo shoots and play untraditional roles, we have a right to invade their privacy. But we should recall the words of Deepika—how women are portrayed should be based upon how they want to be; not with zoomed in images of their cleavage.
On the brighter side, both Deepika Padukone and Emma Watson have received support from male as well as female supporters. Deepika has been supported with her tweet being re-tweeted more than 7,000 times along with her friends from Bollywood condemning the media company as well as lauding her for standing up to them. In Emma’s case, the incident ironically giving men a chance to show the Harry Potter star that male or female, they are ready to support her and her HeForShe campaign.
Perhaps these strong, outspoken women will inspire other women to take up the mantle and fight for women’s equality.