Deepika Padukone has received support and praise across social media for her fight against the Times of India - and rightly so.
Last week, the 28-year-old Bollywood star hit back at the newspaper for drawing attention to her cleavage when it posted pictures on Twitter. Padukone later published a statement on her Facebook page "asking for respect as a woman off-screen."
So, has the paper shown understanding and remorse for its actions? Er, no. Instead, the actress has been accused of being a hypocrite who is trying to promote her films.
Here's the background.
The row was sparked on 14 September when the Times of India posted a tweet on its entertainment page saying, "OMG! Deepika Padukone's cleavage on show!"Padukone was quick to retweet the message and replied with the following:
- Ritesh Sidhwani (@ritesh_sid) September 14, 2014
Unsurprisingly, the world has backed Padukone's courageous stand on sexism (you can follow her supporters on Twitter with the hashtag #IstandWithDeepikaPadukone.)
But the Times of India has taken the argument further. After claiming the cleavage tweet was a "compliment," an editor at the newspaper has published a response to Padukone's Facebook post.
Padukone highlights how "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," and unsurprisingly, the paper doesn't agree.
Writer Priya Gupta said the following on Monday:
"Deepika, we accept your reel vs real argument, but what about all the times, and there have been many, when you have flaunted your body off screen - while dancing on stage, posing for magazine covers, or doing photo ops at movie promotional functions? What 'role' do you play there? So why the hypocrisy?"
The paper might say it has finally accepted Padukone's argument, but it sounds like the editors have missed the point entirely to 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," Padukone explains on Facebook.
There's nothing hypocritical about that.
Padukone has been and should continue to be applauded for standing up for women in India and around the world. Surely, the least the Times of India could do is offer an apology?