Choice Feminism's Awkward Conclusion

This is from my reply to Meera Ghani's comments on the Veil and Muslim Feminists post. I thought it better to highlight this point as a separate post.

'Feminism indeed is about a woman's right to choose (choose being the operative word). Its about the woman being able to employ her own agency.'

Okay, consider the following scenarios:

* a woman chooses to stay with her abusive, alcoholic husband because she is afraid of the challenges of a single life
* a woman chooses to become a prostitute to pay her college tuition fees
* a woman chooses to have a hymenoplasty to 'restore' her virginity before her up-coming marriage with a religious husband

In all 3 cases the 3 women make these choices without being coerced. They are making a choice by their own free will and by exerting their own sense of agency. Therefore, by your definition, all 3 of these choices are Feminist choices. 

However, if these choices are to be labelled Feminist, as you must by your own definition, then I am afraid that [Choice] Feminism has degenerated to a point where it undermines itself, and leads to the awkward conclusion that any act, no matter how degrading, can be feminist provided a woman somewhere chooses it by her own free will.

People have forgotten that Feminism was once about the ideal of a gender egalitarian society, for which freedom is a necessary but insufficient condition.


Anonymous said…
Feminism is about the liberation of women.

If you, as a woman, make a choice that is antithetical to the liberation of women, know that this choice is not feminist and own that your choice is hurting other women.