Feminism and Choice

Beentherella writes brilliantly and with great clarity about feminism and choice in her recent blog post, something that I have been trying to highlight for a long time myself:

"I always took great care to separate the rhetoric about choice with some basic rules that feminism did initially aspire to achieve before it forayed into its present dark alley of dada-ist and gaga-ist absurdities. Yes, feminism is about choice but one needs to be honest about the fact that it is also about making certain types of choices, whether or not we like to admit it. Putting a burgeoning career on hold for love is by no means a 'feminist' choice and I would refrain from calling it one. Neither is putting off a PhD for several years because one wants to start a family first. These are choices and women must be free to make them, but no, they are not feminist choices. It would be childish of me to try and take the course many women do of trying to defend their choices by labelling them as feminist just to feel better about themselves. It is counterproductive and it confuses the discourse, and frankly, feminism is a confused enough discourse to begin with! I suppose what it boils down to is accepting ones choices for what they are and still taking pride in the face that one made them."


nuclearbattery said…
'It is counterproductive and it confuses the discourse, and frankly, feminism is a confused enough discourse to begin with!'

Hit the nail. I'm interested in knowing whether you agree that this also extends to the notion of 'wearing a burqa/covering my head is a choice and therefore it is anti-feminist of you to tell me that the burqa is oppressive,' or if you think that that is a different debate, or maybe even that it is indeed anti-feminist to call the burqa anti-feminist?
Awais Aftab said…
@ nuclearbattery

meray dil ki baat keh di ;) wherever I have talked about feminism and choice in the past, I have done in the context of the burqa debate. I believe that the practice of burqa as it exists (when done for reasons of religion/faith/modesty) is deeply rooted in patriarchy, and therefore I believe that choosing to wear a burqa is a choice that cannot be called a 'feminist choice'.
F. said…
^I second that.

Waise, personally speaking with regard to the example mentioned--I wouldn't call a man who does NOT put off his career for the sake of a relationship 'chauvinist' so it makes sense I wouldn't call a woman who makes the same choice 'feminist'.

I'd call them pragmatic, perhaps...and because I'm a hopeless romantic, that is insult enough. :>
Komal said…
I would say that feminism was never about choice. At least, some of the non-liberal varieties (e.g. radical feminism) are not.