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January 22, 2006

"choice" under fire

Lots of interesting discussion going on about the word "choice." Yesterday, during the big Roe V. Wade anniversary moment, pop politics suggested that we drop the word "choice" as a feminist slogan and replace it with "forced pregnancy." Not sure that works--the implication of rape is too distracting. But she makes a good case: "Are we 'pro-choice'? Sure. But so are Verizon and many school districts. When a word becomes associated with frozen dinners, it may no longer be the powerful political tool it once was."

A week earlier, Patricia Cohen wrote in a NYTimes Op-Ed about how "choice feminism" may not be panning out. She focuses on lawyer/scholar Linda R. Hirshman's controversial opinion that "choice feminism" is a myth. Choice "promised liberation... but actually betrayed women by leaving traditional sex roles intact. In short, women were still stuck with the housework and child-rearing." Are we really flush with great options? Or stuck with an array of compromises, struggling to maintain both job and family? Is the word "choice" just there to give us an illusion of control?

We know lots of otherwise ass-kicking moms who have become quivering jellyfish when it comes to "making the right choice." If it's all a matter of "choice" then whatever happens—kid gets ADD, husband leaves, can't find a matching sock— is all the mom's fault since she's the one who made the choice to do whatever she did. Way too much pressure. Where is the circumstance in all this? Maybe it's not so much about getting rid of the word "choice" as just acknowledging that life gets in the way of making them.

by thenewmoms at 6:30 PM
in media momming


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